It's Hard to Be Sirius

Sep.21.09 | About: Sirius XM (SIRI)

Perhaps satellite radio just isn’t targeted at me.

I had the chance to spend three hours driving a car, solo, with the dulcet tones of Sirius to help me along. It was my first opportunity to see what all the fuss was once about.

Spun around the dial plenty. If you like the Christinan theme, there were five stations to choose from. A few sports channels, once of which carried a PGA golf post-tournament press conference live. I could see that niche being worthy.

The one Alternative station suffered in “unknown” territory beyond the new Pearl Jam song. Could be me, though. The requisite “Best of” 60s, 70s, 80s… would fill the bill for my Dad. My Mother-in-law loves something called “The Bridge”, so there’s a fee-paying fan there.

Howard Stern was all Howard. Listening to him isn’t quite as “neat” as it was in the early 1990s when people like Sam Kinison would go on the show. Now that Howard is the biggest star in the USA, he probably has difficultly sharing the booth with anyone interesting. Other than Carmen Electra. But if you like him, I can certainly imagine why you’d get a subscription.

The Playboy channel was certainly not Playboy. Hustler, maybe. If you’re driving a truck non-stop across six states I can perhaps see why you’d want to listen to female porn actresses riding symbians. But it isn’t living up to Hef’s “Playboy” class of a station.

To my surprise, I still came across several commercials. Craig tells me it’s just commercial free “music”, and since Astral has put commercials into my Pay TV stations, this really shouldn’t have come as a shock.

And, for the same reason as we see on cable, 100 stations isn’t all that many when you toss out the ones that are directed at people with different interests than you. If you live out in the bush, there’s plenty there to choose from and a great business model. And, inter-city driving has a similar feel to living in the 'styx'. I get the idea of “taking your music with you”.

But, as with traditional radio, you’re still beholden to the playlist of someone else.

That’s why Sonos, or something like it, is worth getting excited about. If our technologists can get the network to the point where Sonos can stream two million songs to your car (or portable satellite radio) — that’s worth paying for!