After almost six years of listening to satellite radio, I gave it up and returned to regular old terrestrial radio earlier this year. If you want to know the reasons, read Why I Am Not Renewing My Sirius XM Radio Subscription. How am I holding up?
Here were the channels I most listened to on XM Radio and my new substitute.
|XM Radio Channel||Seattle Solution
|XMU 43 - Indie Rock||90.3 FM
|BPM 81||89.5 FM
|Real Jazz 70||88.5 FM (when NPR isn't on)
|Soul Town 60||MP3s
|1970s Pop||104.5 FM (partially) and MP3s
|Opie & Anthony, Ron & Fez||Podcasts
For the most part, I am pleased with the substitutes. KEXP 90.3 FM is a great station and as a result I listen to more indie rock these days. My biggest shock turned out not to be programming, but sound quality. I miss the higher quality sound of satellite radio. I am strongly considering getting HD Radio. Going from XM to FM is like going from FM to AM.
Note that this post is not an endorsement of XM Radio. They are a bunch of criminals. Read the 40+ comments on Filing Fraud Charges Against XM Radio before you sign up and hand them your credit card number.
I have been a paid subscriber of XM Radio since June 2004. For the most part I am very satisfied with the technology and programming. However, at the end of this month I will not be renewing. Sirius XM messed up. Here are the reasons I will be returning to terrestrial radio (AM/FM) in March.
- After XM and Sirius merged, they lowered the sound quality for online listeners and then had the gall to demand a higher monthly fee to get what was previously defined as part of the service. I paid for a 4 year renewal based off the high sound quality of their online offerings. After they lowered the bitrate, the music stations were unlistenable. Basically they went from near CD quality to AM radio quality.
- Poor customer relations. Channels were added and dropped and I never once got an email or letter. The only time I ever got an updated channel listing was when there was a bill. On a few occasions, I emailed stations asking what song they played at a certain time. Only once was any of my emails ever returned. Don’t ask your listeners to contact you if you have no intention of responding to them.
- The May 2007 suspension of Opie and Anthony for something a deranged homeless man said. The station is marked XL for explict language. That 30 day suspension was uncalled for and showed that XM Radio is a spineless company that cared more about the merger with Sirius than free speech.
- Call center in India is unprofessional. I have absolutely no problem with call centers in India. The majority of my experiences have been positive, but not with XM Radio. When I have called XM Radio, it takes forever to connect with someone. Once you get someone on the line, they have music blasting. I was able to overcome the Indian accent, but not with Snoop Dogg playing in the background.
- Call center in India deals with sensitive financial information. American laws protect my financial data on American soil. Although India has data protection laws, I do not feel comfortable that I am protected or have recourse if that trust is violated overseas. In other words, I will not be reading a credit card number to anyone that is not in America. Tech support, no problem. Financial transaction, no way.
- The most important reason is that XM Radio has fraudulently charged my credit card twice, lied to me and has not apologized or made peace with me. I was forced to cancel my credit card number and file fraud charges on them. The full details are on the post Filing Fraud Charges Against XM Radio.
- Seattle has at least three good commercial free radio stations on the FM dial. 88.5 has dance music, 89.5 has jazz when NPR isn’t on and 90.3 has a killer selection of indie music. There may be more good stations, but I haven’t ventured past 90.3.
There you have it Sirius XM. I predict your company will go into bankruptcy. When people like me that have been early supporters and die hard backers of your technology walk away angry – you have problems.
After you go through bankruptcy, fire Mel Karmazin, bring the call centers back to the States and emerge as a new company I might forgive you. Until that happens, you’re dead to me.
Last night I got the opportunity to watch a local live radio talk show. The show is called TBTL. Other than the show I watched last night, I’ve only heard two hours. It is different than the guy hot talk shows that I normally listen to (Opie & Anthony, Ron & Fez and Adam Carolla). The humor is more conversational and subtle. It has been over four years now since I abandoned AM/FM radio in favor of satellite programming. Hearing a local talk show again was a nice experience.
TBTL show in Seattle. Just kidding. This photo is RAF mobile radio station by Flickr user Adelaide Archivist
The hour I watched was a segment called Meet The Kates. They took three local Kates from different Seattle neighborhoods and an online Kate listener from LA and ran them through a personality test. They wanted to determine if girls named Kate have the same or unique personalities. I won’t give away the results (show link: April 15, 2009 8 PM- 9PM).
When I saw the great Bob Lassister do an hour of radio, I got to sit in studio. This time I was in a side room with the engineer and news guy. I witnessed how the radio spots were scheduled in real time and I was there when their news guy gave a vocal tips to an intern.
I just learned that Tampa talk radio legend Bob Lassiter died last October. When I lived in the Tampa Bay area I listened to his show frequently. Bob was the one of the greatest storytellers in radio.
It may have been late 1996. Bob had been hinting for a week that he might do a show for a few listeners. Instead of setting a date, he said if he decided to do it there would be no warning. I lived a few blocks from the WFLA station in South Tampa at the time. Then one evening Bob gave the word that he would let a few listeners come down provided they brought their own chair.
I grabbed a folding chair and drove down to the station. Once I arrived at the station I was padded down for weapons. Bob, being the only liberal on a conservative station, had a few enemies. Then for about 90 minutes or so I got to watch a live talk radio show from one of the masters.
His Christmas shows were legendary.
Bob Lassiter Christmas Show 1994
Bob Lassiter Christmas Show 1996