The two satellite radio biggies, XM radio & Sirius Radio are merging and I think it’s a great thing. To receive satellite radio, you need a satellite radio receiver that can be portable (similar to handheld portable radios from when we were growing up) and hook into your car or home stereo (with adapters, or receivers built for Sirius or XM radio) or it can be a unit installed in your car or can be a built in satellite tuner for your home audio receiver. Satellite radio offers popular talk radio guests not found elsewhere. It offers niche programming like a station for just Nascar. It offers a number of comedy stations each to suit different tastes, or specific types of music. Many people have experienced some of the stations of Sirius radio on the channels from their Dish Network TV Satellite. XM and Sirius are two companies offering different (sometimes similar programming). Each have their benefits but together they would have everything.
I think it’s great. I kept holding off buying one because I didn’t want to have to choose. Not everyone agrees that it’s great. Some people, the FCC in particular, question if the merger is a good thing. Some liken it to the attempted merger between DISH Network (Echostar) and DirecTV a few years ago. Claims that prices would skyrocket and it wasn’t good for consumers killed the deal. But that merger was different from XM & Sirius. For the most part, Dish & DirecTV carry the same channels (other than VOOM on DISH and subscription sports emphasis on DirecTV) each still had similar programming. XM & Sirius have exclusive programming. Oprah is on XM and Howard Stern is on Sirius and if you’re in a relationship where each of you have different priorities, someone is going to lose. The issue is that satellite radio requires a subscription to get the programming of $12.95 per month. Can you imagine if DirecTV didn’t carry a show as popular as Oprah or Stern?
And then there’s the issue of a/v receivers that now allow you to connect to an XM or Sirius receiver. Other receivers have chosen to include a built in Sirius OR XM tuner. This means that you might not buy the receiver that had all the other features you wanted because it didn’t have the right radio. (That would be like TVs including Dish or DirecTV only and it would limit which brand you like–“well gee, I like the Pioneer but it only has Dish Network and I want DirecTV” How much better would it be to just get both?
The FCC worries that there won’t be price regulation. There’s talk that the new merged satellite radio will have “cafeteria style” choices of which programming you’ll receive. Which means you’ll only pay for the stations you want. There’s certain stations I really don’t care about receiving.
So, if any decision makers are listening…I vote a big fat yes to the merger.