Satellite Radio

I have an hour commute to and from work, every day. My radio selections seem to alternate between NPR, WJR (AM Talk Radio) and 89X (Alternative Rock). This presents a problem – NPR goes into stories I don’t care to hear, WJR has long and frequently commercial breaks aimed at auto executives in the Detroit area, and 89X has annoying promos and commercials, on top of the 50% of their play list I don’t care for.

Furthermore, at least twice a year I drive across the country and would love to still listen to my home town team’s football games (college and pro), hockey games, and keep the regular schedule for the shows I enjoy listening to — Car Talk on NPR, for one.

So in desperation, I’ve been looking at Satellite Radio options. My Requirements:
First: portable, so I can take it from the car into the office. Or the hotel room. Or wherever.
Second: online, so I can listen from my desk at work or home without having to carry the radio stuff around, or buy extra parts I really don’t need.
Third: Lineup including: Detroit traffic and weather, NPR (Fox would be nice), Childrens’ programming (I’ve got 1 kid, and 1 on the way, after all), Detroit sports coverage, University of Michigan football, Alabama Crimson Tide football (for my wife), commercial-free music, and conservative talk radio.

That in mind, try visiting either of the two providers’ web sites to see if they offer everything I want:
www.xmradio.com / www.sirius.com

What? No complete channel listing? Are you SIRIUS? XM’s got it, but wait — neither has a site search!? Sirius has a site map, but I still can’t search for what I’m after. This is unusable. This is stupid.

But I’ll have patience. Ok:
Detroit Traffic & weather: XM Yes, Sirius Maybe. It seems Detroit traffic/weather splits a channel with Pittsburgh on Sirius. Does it change if I drive through Pittsburgh when I’m usually in Detroit? Doesn’t say. Dumb.

NPR: Sirius has it. XM doesn’t. But XM does have Fox, CNN, BBC and Bloomberg. I can get by with that. Sirius has these, too. Call it a draw, with a very slight edge to Sirius for having NPR. I like my Car Talk.

Childrens’ Programming: Sirius 1 (Radio Disney), XM 2 (also Disney Radio, in additon to XM Kids). The edge here goes to XM – If I hear one more “Wiggles” song I might vomit, and if taking that risk is my only choice on Sirius, that sucks.

Detroit Sports Coverage: I’m after Red Wings hockey, Michigan football, Lions football. That’s all. XM has big-ten coverage, but wait… The schedule only has one Michigan game this month. They play Notre Dame next week, and that’s left out?? Not good. Sirius covered last week’s Michigan game, but has no schedule for next week. Not confidence inspiring.

Alabama football: Hmm. XM has no SEC coverage? Certainly not on their web site. Sirius covered Alabama and Utah last week, but again, no future schedule. And WHY do I have to keep opening a PDF to see Sirius’ schedule!? Stupid.

Commercial-free music and conservative talk are a wash. They both appear in both offerings.

So bottom line, neither of these services really offer everything I’m after. And both of their web sites could use a good usability project. So I think for now I’ll keep my money in my pocket. I’m not into paying $10-13 per month, plus startup fees (Sirius charges $15 on top of equipment costs!), plus the equipment costs themselves ($100-200).

If anyone knows any different than I’ve seen on their web sites, let me know.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *