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326 comments

FIRST POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511618)

And its in fiscal trouble, I need $200000 to rescue it!

hmmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511621)

fp?

www.phreaknic.info

Yeah (3, Funny)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511622)

Under the new plan, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, current holders of Sirius common stock will together hold 8 percent of the new common stock.

Uh, yeah, I know I'd vote for that. :)

Re:Yeah (2)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511669)

When the alternative is that creditors seize the assets and the stock basically is worth nothing, most shareholders will go along with that.

Re:Yeah (5, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511677)

Under the new plan, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, current holders of Sirius common stock will together hold 8 percent of the new common stock.

Uh, yeah, I know I'd vote for that. :)

Well, Sirius has backing to get them through next year if this happens, whereas a vote against it means they exit in early 2003, which I've never understood. I've seen debtholders refuse to sell or accept a lower price, only to see what they had become utterly worthless because the sum of the assets was worth less than the whole.

Personally, I'd like Sirius to keep going, since I signed up this summer and it's great, I scarcely listen to the local radio stations anymore, since commercial free really does spoil you (with the exception of Sirius' own occasional plugs for what's going on other channels)

With luck, enough new cars will sell to help boost the numbers. I think XM indicated they need 2 million to break even and Sirius about 4 million, but don't quote me on that. It's a lean market and people are pinching pennies.

The real barrier to satellite radio isn't your subscription, it's the cost of the special receiver and antenna, which can be about $300 combined, though I know there's a $75 rebate out there for something from Sirius and/or Kenwood.

I've heard ads for this on the radio (0)

Slashdotess (605550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511625)

I've heard ads for this on the radio, and I've always wondered if it makes any money at all. It doesn't really make sense to me, but I guess some use it.

Re:I've heard ads for this on the radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511646)

Do these satellite radio services require you to replace your radio with one of theirs? I assume the replacements are still capable of receiving the AM/FM bands along with the satellite channels?

This strikes me as a difficult business model to sell, as somebody interested in non-mainstream music would already have a collection of CD's or mp3's to listen to, and a CD player in the car (which probably came at no visible expense). Are there ads on the satellite stations? If so, how is this really any different than the "normal" channels?

Unless DRM screws up everything, I would think that a better solution is to have mp3 storage in vehicles, so that "%!*^&#, forgot the CD" can be avoided...

Re:I've heard ads for this on the radio (3, Insightful)

Havokmon (89874) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511716)

Unless DRM screws up everything, I would think that a better solution is to have mp3 storage in vehicles, so that "%!*^&#, forgot the CD" can be avoided...

I think you guys forget the number of people who drive most of everyday. Think Semi Drivers. Think Delivery Trucks. Think Tow Trucks. A lot of those guys own their own trucks, and travel across 'radio borders'. We all know how limited radio is, and how statios in different cities are all copycats.

Satellite Radio gives you more choice, and you don't have to worry about 'blackout' areas between major cities. I actually listened to AM one morning driving I-65 bewteen Indianapolis and Chicago when I was 18. How many 18 year olds (who don't get their asses kicked) listen to AM radio?

Some places are just that barren.

Re:I've heard ads for this on the radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511767)

And those people you mentioned make up the 200,000 people using the service. Joe Blow has no reason to spend 120$ yearly plus a 200$+ initial investment. And now that the FCC has gotten up with the times and is going to implement digital radio I don't see any use for these pay-per-listen radio setups.

Re:I've heard ads for this on the radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511808)

How many 18 year olds (who don't get their asses kicked) listen to AM radio?
Yer implying here you didn't get your ass kicked. That senior when you were a sophmore would beg to differ.

Re:I've heard ads for this on the radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511837)

I listened to WABC 770 when I was 18 all the time. At the time that was the home of the New York Yankees.

"Worse".. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511632)

You mean "worst".

I hope.

Re:"Worse".. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511816)

Unless there are only two times then it would be correct to say worse. Here is an example: "John and Mary are not very good at golf but John is the worse of the two." Worst only works when there are three or more.

The best damned service I've seen in a long time. (5, Informative)

jrwillis (306262) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511634)

Will it signify the end of the satellite radio?
As someone whose has XM I really hope that they pull through. It's one of the best services I've seen in a long time and just about the only way to get some good blues and jazz in your car outside of cd's. I'd pay twice as much for the service just to keep it alive.

Re:The best damned service I've seen in a long tim (5, Funny)

OrangeSpyderMan (589635) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511638)

I'd pay twice as much for the service just to keep it alive.

Not wanting to speak on their behalf, but I'm fairly sure that if you offer they'll accept :-)

Re:The best damned service I've seen in a long tim (4, Insightful)

swordboy (472941) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511961)

I'd pay twice as much for the service just to keep it alive.

Don't worry about satellite radio as the providers have some large pockets to draw upon - the auto makers. Next year, GM will offer the service as standard equipment on some of the vehicles - with a free year of service. If only a small percentage renew, then the satellite providers will be listening to satellite disco. If a significant percentage renew, then you are looking at a threat to FM.

On that note, with all these satellite head units running around in the new autos, it would make financial sense to provide some publically funded stations free-of-charge. That would be the largest opportunity.

$0.02

Re:The best damned service I've seen in a long tim (2, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511708)

I'd pay twice as much for the service just to keep it alive.

Ssshhh! ;-) But, yeah I agree with you. I have Sirius and 100 channels was a bit overwhelming at first, but now I've grown into it and it's the best thing that ever happened to radio. I really do hope it survives.

In 4 weeks I'll be in the middle of the Mohave Desert, listening to jazz, swing, the BBC, etc. where I got bugger all last year.

Re:The best damned service I've seen in a long tim (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511745)

where I got bugger all last year

A whole year of bugger, you lucky thing.

too damn expensive (3, Insightful)

wayward_son (146338) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511635)

Sure satellite radio seems nice, but everything's too expensive to be worth the trouble. $299+ for the receiver, then another $10/mo for the service. Not a good business model when your competiton is free.

Re:too damn expensive (3, Insightful)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511644)

Exactly. Or if you already have a nice music collection on tape/CD/mp3 player for your car. Music without commercials? I can do that already. Music all along a typical "theme" like Rap or Hard Rock? I can do that too. And I can guarentee that I will like all the songs I play, as opposed to shelling out for this system and still having to flip channels to find something I like.

Kierthos

Re:too damn expensive (5, Insightful)

GLX (514482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511653)

But you're forgetting about the exposure to new music factor... Sure, we can all program what we like to listen to in the car - burn some CD's and we're set...

But, if we stop listening to FM radio because everything on there is commercial-laden crap, then the terrorists have already won! er, then we're not as exposed to new and upcoming music (XM has a *lot* of indie stuff, as well as stuff that'll never get signed) - I've never heard so much Wilco in one place.

Re:too damn expensive (5, Interesting)

mjh (57755) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511747)

XM has a *lot* of indie stuff, as well as stuff that'll never get signed

That may be the case, but it's probably not a good enough biz model to sustain them. What they ought to think about doing is providing a large commercial-laden offering for free, and a "premium" offering for money. That way the business is sustained by a large enough revenue stream (advertising) and those who want the indie stuff can still get it, but it costs them more. 200k customers may seem like a lot, but think about the amount of money they must be paying to run the service.

Re:too damn expensive (2, Informative)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511768)

New and upcoming music... what is this that you speak of?

I'm serious. Out of the stations I can receive, I have:

1) Classic rock. Pretty good, but the most recent stuff they play is early-mid 80s.

2) Pop music. Needless to say, I do not care to hear the latest Britney/Christina/N'SYNC/whatever songs.

3) Rap/R&B station. I can listen to this for about 15 minutes usually before hearing yet another artist teaming up with Ja Rule. *click*

4) Classical music. I wouldn't mind this, but at the times I listen to it, they seem to be on a Chopin or Berlioz piece, and again, I can't stand them. (What can I say, I prefer Wagner.)

That's pretty much it. I have friends who will loan me CDs or mix tapes of new stuff, and I will listen to those if I am in the mood for something new.

Kierthos

Re:too damn expensive (2, Informative)

GLX (514482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511785)

I'm sorry, I may have mis-phrased what I said above. I meant that that's what we get from XM - exposure to new stuff - and that FM is commercial laden crap (Britney, NSync) that gives us nothing new or interesting..

My bad.

Re:too damn expensive (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511696)

Not a good business model when your competiton is free.

Free? Maybe public broadcasting or community radio, but commercial radio? Nothing like hearing your music interupted by ads for zit creme, Bud, soda, etc. Maybe you've gotten accustomed to it, but man, lemme tell ya, it ain't free!

Now imagine what a piss-poor business model selling people TV over a wire and STILL including commercials and THEN charging for premium channels.

Re:too damn expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511740)

>Free?

So how much do you pay for it? I don't pay anything. I think you`re being ripped off.

Re:too damn expensive (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511805)

So how much do you pay for it? I don't pay anything.


Your time is worth nothing? Mine ain't. If I could be listening to music or news instead of blather about some product or service, buddy, I hit the channel changer. Life's too short to spend listening to commercials, particularly the ones that are annoying.


Not only that, you've freely given brain cells to remember those commercials and be programmed by their messages (Pepsi makes you think young, Doctor Scholl's cures athlete's foot, Gritty Kitty stays crunchy even in milk, etc.)

Re:too damn expensive (1)

platos_beard (213740) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511890)

Ok, read "advertising based" for free. You're quibbling about words, but the point is still agood one.

Re:too damn expensive (3, Insightful)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511769)

Sure satellite radio seems nice, but everything's too expensive to be worth the trouble. $299+ for the receiver, then another $10/mo for the service. Not a good business model when your competiton is free.

It's a good business model when you have things your "competitor" doesn't... like ad-free stations, digital quality, hundreds of stations to choose from, many things you can't normally get in most areas, and the ability to drive for long distances without losing the same station. If I drove more than I do, I'd get XM in an instant.

Re:too damn expensive (2)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511896)

Especially when, after reading XM's list of stations and realizing that they have maybe one station that I would listen to, but only if I was in the mood for it.

As it is now, I only listen to Quinn [warroom.com] when I'm driving to work. Other than that, my car came with a six disk changer in the dash.

Re:too damn expensive (3, Interesting)

McFly69 (603543) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511950)

I totally agree with you. If the upfront costs were just $399 and no monthly fees then I would serious consider it. With monthly fees, lets say $10, there receiver should be leased or given to you for free (under 2 year contract or something). the onyl way I would pay $399 for the receiver and a $10 service fee is it was portable (like an over sized cd player). This would give me the ability to hook it up to my home receiver and carry it around as a diskman. Perhaps even throw ina compact flash card port in there to save your favorite song when playing.

Just my personal thoughts. Any comments?

Re:too damn expensive (2, Insightful)

Pointy_Hair (133077) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511956)

Yes but they are already showing signs that they will follow the tracks already laid by Directv. For satellite radio there will come a time when you can shop out your choice of free or very inexpensive systems or pay premium for better high-end stuff... just like DTV. Not to mention the auto manufacturers picking them up with OEM availability.

IMO Sirius got their legs blown off by their late launch. I wouldn't be surprised to see them in bankruptcy inside of 6 months. XM already has the early adopters and continues to gain market share.

My prediction is that when Sirius goes bust that one of the major media players (Clear Channel, AOHell-Time-Warner, etc) will swoop in and buy for pennies on the $. Of course shit-canning the existing stock swapping shenanigan and busting the original investors.

Haven't I read this story before???

Oh yeah... I have XM and love it. Very robust choice of audio entertainment without the hassle of manuevering CDs or MP3s.

Less "discretionary" cash to spend? (5, Insightful)

viking099 (70446) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511636)

Maybe people are feeling the squeeze on their wallets from all the market problems we've been having, and are unwilling to commit to something that seems to be almost 100% luxury.
I know that if I were concerned about my retirement fund, I'd be cutting back where I could to put more money there.
When this thing came out, many people didn't say "can't" or "shouldn't" when it came to luxury purchases. Now, though, people are keeping their wallets in their pockets a bit more.

Re:Less "discretionary" cash to spend? (3, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511686)

I think people have always had a problem with periodic and continuous billings, and it took many years for people to get accustomed to it for services like electricity (well, I suppose a better saying was in the years since that was the norm, people have started to think that everything is free). i.e. If the satellite maker sold only $500 receivers, but had no monthly fees, I'd bet they'd have far more customers. People hate being hen pecked, even when in the long run it saves them money or saves them from long term investing in troubled companies.

Re:Less "discretionary" cash to spend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511697)

Don't just sit here talking about this - go and tell them.

Less "discretionary" cash to spend? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511728)

Yet, it has been observed in lean times people spend more money on entertainment. Isn't that a h00t? Video game sales are good, movie attendance is setting records, the pub has been jammed with people visiting our tourist-trap city lately. I'd like to see "less spending" backed up by a number of people who have discontinued cable TV (usually $30 a month for basic)

Wait.... (5, Insightful)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511637)

You mean satellite radio ever began? I mean, sure, I've seen commercials for it, but I know of no-one who has it, and I know so many tech-geeks who go out and buy the latest and greatest just because it's new (well, okay, not so often in this economy), and yet none of them have it.

I can think of a lot of reasons why it wouldn't be doing so well though... how much does it cost to put a satellite into orbit or "rent" one of the ones already up there? And how much are they charging customers per month for the service?

200,000 customers? In a major metropolitan area, like New York City, one radio station can have that many listeners. It sounds like a lot, but it isn't.

Kierthos

Re:Wait.... (3, Insightful)

GLX (514482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511660)

True, but 200,000 customers = $2,000,000 a month in revenue + the additional ad revenue from the channels that have advertisements (and the ability to target your advertising to a niche market is worth a lot more on print/radio/tv advertisements) - I would be suprised if a channel like Z-100 in NYC makes much more than that a month.

Re:Wait.... (5, Insightful)

phil reed (626) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511683)

The problem with the satellite radio model is the huge up-front costs -- nearly a billion dollars to get the satellites up, ground stations established, and then repeaters in major metropolitian areas to help out when you don't have a good view of the sky. So, these two companies get this far, then this recession hits and people try not to spend too much. It's no wonder they are hurting.

Re:Wait.... (2, Insightful)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511702)

Okay, I won't knock the $2 mil a month in revenue, but it's not net profit. They still have to pay their staff out of it (and yes, I know, so does the radio station), and meet any other expenses. And while radio stations have a decent number of expenses (but I'll bet you'd be surprised how much free shit they get), they aren't having to pay to keep a satellite up.

Something goes wrong with Z-100's main antenna, they can at least get a technician or twelve physically to the location and start figuring out what went wrong. Something goes wrong with a satellite, and you have to schedule with NASA to get that fixed.

On the plus side, they aren't bound to a specific geographic location. Outside of stations changing their formats and a lot of people finding new radio stations because of that, I daresay a lot (most?) radio stations have fairly stable listener bases. If XM Satellite can stay a going concern long enough, they can continue, even with a slow-growing customer base. But I'd say they need some more customers, fast so they can even have the option of slow growth.

Kierthos

Re:Wait.... (1)

hal-j (8004) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511755)

So you're comparing the costs and revenues of a single station (Z100) to that of an entire network + infrastructure? Hardly a fair comparison.

The satellite network has to pay for programming on a whole array of stations, while Z-100 plays music from what, 30 different albums at any given point? The satellite networks have more than that many stations!

Costs vs Benefits (5, Insightful)

jarrettwold2002 (601633) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511649)

I won't be getting satellite radio anytime soon. Balance what you get vs what you already have. You can purchase car mp3 kits that give you the music, you want, instantly. No service interruption from tunnels and hills, no advertisements. You edit what you want and the order you want it in.
My music interests go from Deicide to the Donnie Darko cover of Tears for Fears Mad World. You can't put that range of music in a single station, let alone pacify the n'sync listening masses.
With an iPod you can take you're entire music collection anywhere. Literally. Think about that for a moment. A decade ago you had fourty five minutes to a side. It's mind blowing.
Much technology lately seems to be a sketch pad, and some of the ideas that should have been crumpled up end up making it onto the drawing board. Others are conversely getting thrown away courtesy of legal battles and patent suits.
The latest and greatest isn't worth buying if I already have something better. Until the industry come out of the innovation rut it's been stuck in, I won't be purchasing anything new. It's sad when the majority of slick new stuff comes from three companies. Tivo, Sonic Blue and Apple.

Re:Costs vs Benefits (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511847)

But how do you find out about new music? I like my music collection, but I don't fool mysef into thinking that I've already discovered everything that's good. To everyone who's saying local digital broadcasts will take this market - Clear Channel already owns all the radio towers in my area. I don't think digital clarity will make their content sound any more original.

Having said that, I'm holding off on sat radio until the receivers aren't proprietary.

Re:Costs vs Benefits (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511954)

Until the industry come out of the innovation rut it's been stuck in, I won't be purchasing anything new.

You sound like an old man whose had the same haircut and worn the same style of clothes for 50 years: "It ain't gotten better goddamnit, so I'm stickin' with the best!".

Annemarie Lucas -- doggy style (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511658)

I'd turn her over make like a big police dog. Woof. Woof.

PAGE WIDENING (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511665)

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SUCK MY FILTHY TROLL COCK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511717)

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What the United Nations Must Do (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511673)

Rather than adopting the suggested regime change in Iraq through military force, the United Natioins must instead consider an entirely different course of action. This new course is based upon the facts alone, rather than political pressure. A regime change is indeed necessary, but not in Iraq. The primary regime which needs to be changed, is the one found in Washington DC. The greatest tyrant and true threat to world peace who needs to be ousted, is George W. Bush. The facts which clearly show the need for such a resolution against the U.S. are self evident...they demonstrate a clear and present danger to the world community. America is clearly a nation which aspires to global domination, through the use of the most expensive and high tech military the world has ever known.

In demonstration of the above assertions, let us be very clear about Americas 300+ billion dollar a year expense, for weapons of mass destruction. These include;

1) Atomic and hydrogen bombs.

2) The Star Wars weaponry of space satellites, and laser devices.

3) A host of biological weapons including anthrax, which it has used on its own citizenry and manufactured in its own laboratories.

4) Guided missile cruisers, Stealth bombers and aircraft carriers conveying the most advanced air-based offensives, ever to be used in the history of mankind.

5) Depleted uranium munitions, used repeatedly upon countries such as Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, causing birth defects and lingering mutilation of civilian populations.

6) The use of spies, covert CIA operatives and other agents, as well as a barrage of propaganda, which seeks to weaken, overthrow and exploit the sovereign nations of the world, primarily for the sake of installing pro-U.S.-corporate puppets who will do Washington's bidding. [The fact that it has staged countless internal rebellions and coups within dozens of countries in the last five decades, is well documented and known. The U.S. constantly interferes with, and attempts to coerce, the mandates of foreign governments for the sake of its own special interests, and in the name of democracy. The real reason for this behavior is, of course, unfair economic advantage and bottomless greed.]

7) Nerve gas, tear gas, blistering agents, neurotoxins and poisonous compounds of all kinds.

8) Smart bombs, Bunker Buster bombs, Daisy Cutter bombs, mines and laser or satellite guided munitions.

9) Teams of special forces troops, whose m*issions are designed for assassination, covert mass-murder and maximized destruction.

The United States possesses, and has openly discussed using, such weapons of mass destruction upon a great number of other nations. Among these nations are those listed in George Bushs' so-called axis of evil list, as well as many others which it says, harbor terrorists. The so-called War on Terror targets Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Columbia, Nicaragua and many others. Upon these nations the U.S. has repeatedly issued a series of very aggressive and threatening statements to the effect of; You are either with us or against us, implying dire consequences of economic, diplomatic and military measures in the case of non-compliance. It has openly discussed the possibility of a first strike use of conventional nuclear warheads, and tactical nukes on the battlefield. Its' military policy of, win no matter what the cost of truth or human lives, as a surrogate for sane foreign relations, has earned the wrath of the world. U.S. belligerency has been a major contributor to international hostilities, instability, war and the creation of reactionary terrorist groups, as well as the oppression of peoples worldwide. Its irrational posture threatens to catapult the world into another, and probably final, world war.

The United States has repeatedly shown its willingness to target civilian populations with weapons of mass destruction, especially via the carpet-bombing of cities and infrastructures. It is the only nation to have ever used nuclear devices in war, and upon civilian targets. Among the structures bombed have been desalinization plants, water treatment facilities, police stations, electrical substations and generators, radar and communications stations, hospitals, highway, railway and other transportation facilities, factories for the manufacture of metal, plastic and wood products, and numerous other civilian centers. Countless examples of this behavior have been witnessed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The result has been millions of Iraqi and Afghan children dying of unnecessary diseases and malnutrition, due to a severe lack of food and safe drinking water. U.S. allies such as Israel, (whose military it literally makes possible) have also exhibited such behavior, as has Great Britain, through constant urging toward mindless, mutually accomplished war frenzies.

A primary export of the United States is weaponry of mass destruction, including so-called conventional weapons such as guided missile cruisers, bombers, small arms, mortars, rockets, tactical advisors, self guided missiles, attack helicopters, high tech surveilance and imaging systems, tanks, explosives and various other tools desigen primarily for the sake of destroying human life. Added to this list of exports are multi-lingual propaganda, biological agents, tear and nerve gas, atomic weapons and their constituents, as well as technical advice regarding their construction, maintenance and use. The U.S. has frequently urged countries to use these weapons against each other so long as it benefitted its political interests, while simultaneously criticizing those who use them without American sanction.

Permanent State of War

The U.S. has repeatedly told its own citizenry to expect involvement in what amounts to a Permanent State of War, due to the War on Terror. A large and increasing number of foreign nationals are being held in American prisons unlawfully, often without charges, legal due process or access to legal counsel. These persons are often subjected to psychological and physical torture due to their nationality or religious beliefs. Its' Afghan prisoners of war in Cuba are treated without dignity, in violation of the Geneva Convention. At the same time, the U.S. has insisted that its military personnel must be held exempt from war crimes charges by the international community, regardless of their actions.

The United States repeatedly defies the resolutions and authority of the United Nations, making is clear that it views this body as merely a tool which can be occasionally used to achieve its special interests, rather than those of humanity in general. America has also made it quite clear that if its desires are not met by the international community/United Nations, that it will act on its own regardless of their wishes, and in whatever manner it sees fit. This includes pre-emptive military invasion of any country which dares to oppose its policies, and for whatever flimsy, baseless justification it gives to the world as an excuse for such actions.

The international community must seriously ask itself, Who's next? in this series of American invasions of sovereign lands. Who will die next...by the thousands, tens of thousands or millions... at the bloody hands of American imperialism?

For these reasons and others, it is hereby proposed that:

A United Nations resolution be created for the purpose of dis-arming and otherwise rendering harmless, the major threat to world peace which the United States has become. Toward this end the necessity of ousting its current dictator, George W. Bush, and the legislative bodies of that government which currently parrot him without serious debate, is self evident.

The functional means necessary to achieve this goal are hereby suggested. They include;

1) Economic sanctions and trade tarriffs, aimed at undermining the U.S. economy, thereby depriving its monstrous military apparatus of the necessary life blood to function.

2) The insistence of a complete withdrawal of all U.S. military forces from wherever they may be stationed around the world. This includes U.S. occupation forces already in conquered countries, (such as Afghanistan).

3) The elimination of world petroleum exports to the United States, as well as the necessary raw materials which make it's industrial-military apparatus possible.

4) The withdrawal of foreign investment in U.S. companies, and their various enterprises. This includes the canceling of existing contracts with U.S. companies, especially those involved with the extraction of petroleum, the mining of precious metals, deforestation, sweat shop industries of clothing, plastics, electronics and other manufacture, as well as other vital resources from lands not within their territorial domain.

5) That U.S. military and civil leaders, especially George W. Bush and his entire cabinet, be brought to justice for their heinous participations in war crimes and crimes against humanity the world over, by the international courts. World leaders must understand that no one country can both make the rules and break them, when it comes to international justice.

6) The use of joint military force if necessary, to curb, restrict and otherwise prevent the American advance toward world domination. America must be deprived of what it most desires, which are the resources of others to fuel an extravagant lifestyle, and the support of bribed or bullied foreign leaders to accomplish a singularly selfish, unilateral agenda.

In effect, the United States must feel the full pressure of international sovereignty, as it expresses its supreme dissatisfaction with the US imperialism around the globe.

The United States must also understand that its anti-humanitarian, corporate-minded, industrial-military schemes for global dominance are nothing short of those employed by Hitler, and other fascist dictators and governments, throughout the course of history. [Constantly declaring war and occupying one country after the next demonstrates this.] The international community, and indeed the peoples of the entire world, find this American attitude and behavior unacceptable. They will no longer be coerced or made to feel insecure in their own places of residence and worship, at the behest of American whims.

It was a dumb idea. (5, Insightful)

standards (461431) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511675)

1. I mostly listen to the radio when I'm in my car. Since I live in a big city, I'm rarely in my car.

2. And when I am in my car, I listen to traffic, weather, or my own music collection or local radio.

3. The exception is long distance trips. Perhaps one multi-hour drive a month.

4. At home, I have a big music collection. Stuff I actually bought over the years. (Don't blame MP3s in my case). I also have digital TV, with it's music channels. Plus a collection of reasonable local radio stations (and many more unreasonable ones)

So! Someone has to remind me why I should spend $$$ for this service. I can see why some people would spring for it. Just not me.

Damn, it's snowing... there goes summer...

Digital Radio (5, Funny)

chicagothad (227885) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511678)

The FCC just announce standards for Digital Radio: fcc.gov [fcc.gov]

If "clear signal" is one of the key benefits of satelite radio, I would call this a major killer of the industry. Can you say "I-R-I-D-I-U-M"? I plan to be operating XM Radio in 6 months after I pick it up on EBay for $50.

Not the end... (3, Insightful)

Hays (409837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511682)

I'm pretty sure with all of the deals these companies have signed with auto makers, all the customers they already have, and most importantly the millions of dollars in satellites overhead, they wouldn't just let them crash into the ocean because their revenues are starting out low.

Even a massive project like Iridium eventually found a buyer. Even if both of these companies go bankrupt it would be an attractive purchase for some investor.

Yeah, whatever. (5, Insightful)

jridley (9305) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511687)

I am personally kind of surprised that they were even able to get online. Sure there's a market for coast-to-coast single channel coverage, but how much of the market can truck drivers cover?

Most people spend 99%+ of their time driving within 50 miles of home, where one radio station will cover them. Anyone who's all that picky about what they listen to will probably want to listen to CDs anyway. Personally I'm probably going to get a car MP3 player (I was waiting for an OGG player but I'm tired of waiting).

I spend $120 a year but I send it to public radio.

Re:Yeah, whatever. (5, Insightful)

Asprin (545477) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511904)


Ummmm, I agree that this whole coast-to-coast coverage thing is completely overrated, but I have a different tack on it. To wit:

Most people spend 99%+ of their time driving within 50 miles of home, where one radio station will cover them. Anyone who's all that picky about what they listen to will probably want to listen to CDs anyway. Personally I'm probably going to get a car MP3 player (I was waiting for an OGG player but I'm tired of waiting).

Yeah - and one of the cool things about going on vacation every year is that I get to listen to all the radio stations from other towns along the way -- It's *great* to hear something different once in a while. I also like to go out to McDonald's for dinner while I'm at the beach - can't get a flavor like that at home!

Seriously, though, it really used to be kinda fun hearing radio from other parts of the universe when driving at night on vacation -- especially sportstalk and talk radio. But that was before the dark times.... before the ClearChannel...

By virtue of the ClearChannel fiat, doesn't broadcast radio enjoy coast-to-coast coverage now?

bad business (3, Insightful)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511691)

The sat radio services have been live for what, less then two years? It seems disturbing that a venture of this size wouldn't have had a longer term plan.

Sat radio is a great idea, and an idea that I have held off embrasing due to too many uncertianties. Why they chose to go with propritary hardware for their services is beyond me. $200-400 for the setup, and if the service goes out of business, you can't just call up the compitition to reprogram the radio.

This can, and should be able to work in the long run; It's just that good of an idea.

Re:bad business (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511772)

The sat radio services have been live for what, less then two years? It seems disturbing that a venture of this size wouldn't have had a longer term plan.

Recall, it was another idea conceived while the bubble was growing. Assuming they survive the downturn, and I really do hope they do, they should do fine. Imagine GM, Ford or Chrysler gearing up assembly lines for bigger cars with bigger engines, just as the arab states realized they could gouge for petroleum (~1973) A shock to the system, but it didn't kill them, even while Honda and Toyota were eating their lunch.

Post-bubble economic model (3, Funny)

Daeslin (95666) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511694)

Nah, they'll probably do the same thing as satellite phones. Declare bankrupcy, ditch their debt, and then take off. Heck, WorldCom's doing it and other bankrupt telecoms, why not everyone else?

People used to joke that new startups were following the following model:

1) Create a website

2) ?

3) Profit!

But I posit that the today's companies have revised that to:

1) Create something unprofitable

2) Run up massive debt to pay for massive capital costs

3) Declare bankrupcy

4) Profit!

Re:Post-bubble economic model (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511786)

WorldCom's doing it

Um, didn't I see something about criminal charges being filed against their CEO?

Maybe not such a good idea after all.

What I See Happening... (2, Insightful)

Zech Harvey (604609) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511700)


Satellite Radio and XM will basically become options on luxury cars so that those companies can get paid up-front for service. The manufacteurer will then pass off the cost to the consumer, and most likely the monthly fee will disappear. Or, they maybe just make it standard in luxury vehicles. The possabilities for markets for their products are there. I just don't see them using those markets.

What? (2, Funny)

secondsun (195377) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511706)



I thought all satellites had radios since sputnik.

Oh wait, you mean satellite RADIO... thats out?

This is bad for Microsoft... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511707)

... and great for Open Source.

Local Digital Radio will kill Satellite Radio (4, Informative)

randomErr (172078) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511711)

AP has a story [thehometownchannel.com] published Oct. 21st about how local station(already has a huge market share) can now broadcast digital radio. Why buy a subscription for a satellite radio signal instead of catching a free local stream?

Another thing, most people listen to the radio for local weather and traffic conditions. Satellite radio doesn't supple that need.

Here's the AP story:
Digital Radio May Give Shot In Arm To AM, FM
Some Stations Will Broadcast With CD-Quality Sound

A few months from now you'll be able to hear AM and FM broadcasts like you've never heard them before.

Some stations will broadcast digital signals with CD-quality sound.

Dennis Wharton with the industry trade group, the National Association of Broadcasters, said stations are already buying the equipment needed to transmit these signals.

He said it'll mean local radio won't become a second-class communications service. Wharton said digital radio will allow stations to compete on an equal footing with cable and satellite-delivered radio services.

In order to hear digital AM and FM broadcasts, you'll need a special radio. But you'll still be able to hear analog broadcasts on the radios you have now.

yeah right (3, Interesting)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511784)

1. The quality sucks (96kbps... yummy)
2. You're still limited to the formats of your local stations, which means limited choice and lots of commercials.

The only thing they've added is shitty digital sound... how exactly is that going to kill satellite radio?

Iridium II (1)

hydrino (131216) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511712)

Maybe the satalites will wind up floating around in space like Iridium. Maybe someone will snap 'em up and sell the service for $2 a month. That, I would pay for. If there was a data link on XM I would buy it yesterday

Where's the value? (3, Insightful)

Mattcelt (454751) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511719)

What does XM offer that traditional radio doesn't?

Let's see, no subscription - no wait, I have to pay a per-month fee. Traditional radio is free.

I don't have to listen to ads? No, wait, I am paying for my airtime to listen to people trying to sell me stuff. Same as t-radio.

Quality of music? I must be able to listen to indie artists and hard-to-find cutting edge stuff, right? Gee, that doesn't seem to be the case either.

Static free? Hmm, most of the time my FM is static free, too.

So I'm just not seeing the value of paying $300+ for a receiver and $120/yr for the service. The cost-to-benefit ratio is just to high.

If they got rid of *all* the ads, I would probably do it in a heartbeat. But I'm not paying to have someone push product on me. (Note that I don't have cable TV either...)

Matt

Prudent Fiscal Analysis Says (2)

4of12 (97621) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511721)

that it would fail.

Why?

Recall Iridium, the satellite mobile telephone service that failed?

Well, Sirius is only offering to bring audio noise 1-way down from the satellite. No full duplex!

If duplex lost, simplex can't hope to win!

Re:Prudent Fiscal Analysis Says (2)

dgb2n (85206) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511971)

Well, Sirius is only offering to bring audio noise 1-way down from the satellite. No full duplex!

If duplex lost, simplex can't hope to win!


Nice reasoning. Maybe you missed the point that radio is inherently one way communication!!! Its a broadcast.

Similar reasoning would argue that all broadcast television stations are doomed to failure because they're simplex.

Teledesic (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511736)


Satellites don't seem to be real profitable in a consumer environment. Anyone have some examples of it making $$$?

How's the satellite TV industry doing? Well, I'd assume.

If. (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511738)

If these idiots didn't charge $129.00+ for an adapter to listen to the radio in you house I am sure they would have sold more. It is what stopped me from buying it.

I hate "per-month" charges (5, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511739)

I don't know about anything else, but the attempt to shift everything from a "purchase" to "rental" model bothers me enormously.

I don't mind in the least paying $300 or $400 for a nifty gadget.

I have VERY HIGH SALES RESISTANCE to anything that carries a "monthly" fee for anything. My nifty gadgets OFTEN last for, say, 100 months (a bit over 8 years) and I am quite capable of multiplying a monthly fee by 100.

When I buy a $20,000 car, I'm quite agreeable to considering a $300 or $500 add-on.

But a MONTHLY fee? Forget about it.

Give-away-the-razor-and-make-money-on-the-blades is one thing. Sure, inkjet consumables are a ripoff, but at least the thing doesn't eat money when I'm not using it. But if someone tried to sell me a printer for $150, plus $20 per ink cartridge, PLUS $5.99 PER MONTH, I would behave badly.

Perhaps I'm not the only consumer who can multiply by 100 in my head.

Re:I hate "per-month" charges (1)

Shrike9 (585789) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511779)

I would really like to have a TiVo or Replay box in my house but REALLY don't need to add to my per month entertainment fee. Fer cryin' out loud!! My cable TV and Comcast internet already cost just under $100 :( And that's WITHOUT premium channels!! Satellite radio for less than 2 hours per day on weekdays during the commuter grind just isn't good value when put up against free radio, cassette deck, iPod, and CD player. Free options make the cut.

Re:I hate "per-month" charges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511795)

Perhaps I'm not the only consumer who can multiply by 100 in my head.
Most consumers think drinking Miller Lite will surround you with beautiful women in bikinis. And you think they can multiply 100 x 20? I got a bridge for sale....

You are confused (2)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511798)

I don't know about anything else, but the attempt to shift everything from a "purchase" to "rental" model bothers me enormously.

That's great and all, but this argument does not apply to satellite radio. You are not renting anything. You are paying for a SERVICE.

I pay a guy $20 a month to mow my lawn. I could do it myself for free, but I like the service.

Don't these guys interfere with WiFI?? (1)

lazylion (101229) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511774)

I suppose I could be missremembering, but don't these services share the same spectrum as WIFI? I seem to recall some talk a few months back that WIFI would have to go to make room for Satelitte Radio. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but if that's the case, I hope they all die fast. P2P wireless internet is a much higher social priority in my book.

Re:Don't these guys interfere with WiFI?? (1)

WirelessFreak (245617) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511903)

Well, actually, they were blocked from interfering with WISP providers utilizing the 2.4GHz spectrum since it's unlicensed and open to anyone via a petition filed via WECA, however, I know for a fact XM is running a remote repeater on a 700' FM tower I'm trying to install a WiPOP on that's running at 1,300 watts in the unlicensed 2.4GHz band which seems to me to be highly illegal and unethical.

Just my two cents. :)

Three for, Four Against (4, Informative)

no soup for you (607826) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511776)

ok, so XM is expensive, that's true. And all things being equal, it's very tough to make it up on volume when you're loosing money on each transaction. I currently have XM, and to be honest, I don't know if I'd buy it again, but I do love having it

That being said, here are three reasons to get it:

  1. XM Unsigned - radio play for independent, nonsigned bands
  2. Commercial Free - XM has a mix of commercial free stations with 24 hour music, and commercial stations (VH1, MTV, etc)
  3. Seeing the name of the band and song you're listening to is very cool

So, reasons not to get it?

  1. You might be throwing money away on technology that doesn't see a long life (of course, some people got $100 back on their DIVX players)
  2. $10.95 per month, per device
  3. $500 setup - new cd player, new receiver, new antennae
  4. It gets bad press on ./ (only kind of kidding)

Re:Three for, Four Against (1)

mblumber (267394) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511899)

It gets bad press on ./ (only kind of kidding)

This is very important:

./ = dot slash = current directory in unix

/. = slash dot = the website you are currently reading.

Thank you for your time.

Another unnecessary widget (4, Interesting)

upstateguy (90019) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511777)

According to the recent New Yorker article on Willie Nelson, he loves satellite radio which lets him listen to a few of his musical inspirations (in cluding Frank Sinatra). But how many of us really are on long drives in tour buses with drivers?

I'd like to see them offer programming from other countries. Give me a feed from the Australian Broadcast Company, or the BBC, even plug in the Voice of America stations (if they allow that now) to hear what we're telling other nations about ourselves. Let Grandma listen to radio from the 'old country'. I love listening to radio stations on the net now and I think to have *that* in your car to listen to would be more a great selling point.

Um, BBC World Service *IS* offered. (2, Informative)

VT_hawkeye (33442) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511963)

And has been offered since the early days of XM and Sirius both. It's the biggest reason why I will be getting XM.

As for the others, there's no market -- BBC is the gold standard in (English-language) international news media, everyone else trails behind. And VoA still is not allowed to broadcast to the U.S. -- there's a good reason for that, the government isn't allowed to (overtly) propagandize to U.S. citizens. XM runs several international music channels programmed in non-English languages; I couldn't tell you whether they also contain foreign-language news.

did anybody NOT see this coming? (1)

briancnorton (586947) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511778)

I mean really, did anybody here expect pay radio to be the next big thing? Most people live in places that have acceptable radio coverage. The thing was a joke from the start.

Bankruptcy will wash all of their fiscal sins away (4, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511782)

There is, IMHO, no chance for Sirius & XM to survive as presently organized. XM needs over one million subscribers to break even - they have 200,000. Sirius has similar needs, but not nearly as many subscribers. Does this mean that things are hopeless ? No. Their orbital assets are real, and have real value. Just like in the case of Iridium, the initial investors will take a bath (those that didn't cash out) and the reborn companies will be able to make a profit.

Remember, in the Satellite world, bankruptcy can be part of the business model!

Good Riddance, I Say (5, Informative)

Caoch93 (611965) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511796)

I bought an XM radio kit with some of my signing bonus last year. Since I was going to commute one hour each way down the interstate, I justified the cost to myself as a nice way to have better programming for my commute. The station guide seemed interesting enough...I could get BBC radio, CNN, CNet, a channel of standup comedy, selections of music that interest me, and so on. The $10 each month seemed very reasonable for commercial-free options that I'd enjoy.

So, I bought the kit and I installed everything as per the manual. I activated my account. I got everything in order. I started listening that night. It was really cool to be able to get a continuous mix of house techno and, with the spin of the dial, CNet news. I loved that, if I wanted a laugh in the morning, I could listen to comedians with talent instead of shock-jocks with carnival barker voices. Everything was all well and good...

...until the first time I actually tried to drive any actual distance with the thing. My commute is on an often-used 60-mile corridor in Florida from Tampa to Sarasota, and I couldn't get a signal for more than a few parts of it. So, I called XM technical support. The support lady was nice and said she'd file a trouble ticket. It was a very new system at the time, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

And then two weeks went by, and I still couldn't keep a signal over my commute. I also started noting that I couldn't keep a signal in-town all that well. I also made a couple drives through the major metro areas of central Florida and could not keep a signal. This started becoming frustrating. It was about this time, though, that I noticed the programming wasn't all that good. The comedy channels just played the same handful of routines by trite comedians over and over again. The 80's station wasn't really covering what I wanted to hear, either. Slowly, the stations I was enjoying just became boring.

After letting XM take two weeks to try and resolve their issues, I called again, only to be told by the support rep that there were not any such problems and that everything was my fault. I explained my configuration to her and she agreed I hadn't done anything wrong. I told her that XM had been given a month of opportunity to communicate with me and hadn't done so, and so I needed to cancel my account. She then asked me to hold the phone for a minute. When she came back, she reported that there was indeed a problem in my area and, if I could just sit tight a little bit longer, it'd be fixed.

By this point, I'd given XM a month, and I needed to return the radio soon or I wouldn't be able to get a refund from Best Buy. I cancelled my account and took the radio out of my car. I was a little disappointed that I lost my alternative to crappy commercial radio, filled with advertisements, music I hated, shock DJs, and insipid conservative commentary on the news stations. Then I discovered I really rather enjoyed the one alternative I had left- NPR. I started listening to Morning Edition and All Things Considered over my commute, both of which are pleasant and informative shows, and both of which are provided commercial-free.

So, I save my $10 every month and, every third month or so, I use the money to treat myself to a new audiobook or a couple of CDs when I want an alternative to NPR. I really have to say, if you're going to get XM just to have an alternative to standard radio, see if there aren't some local or public stations you like first. Here in Tampa, we have something like two NPR stations and a local, commercial-free station that runs some excellent world news, commentary, and music you'd never find even on XM.

Re:Good Riddance, I Say (1)

fremen (33537) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511976)

Don't forget that your NPR station is publically funded. They hold those membership drives because they really do need donations to keep going.

If you enjoy NPR that much, consider using a little bit of your spare money to send them a few dollars.

Why pay for advertisement? (2, Insightful)

tetra103 (611412) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511799)

I see this as the major fault of the DR plan. Why would I pay for a service that uses advertisements to suppliment income? By the way, I don't use cable for the same reason. I believe if you pay for a service, you should exclusively get what you pay for and no extra baggage. If the service has ads, then the service should be free or public. I think a better plan for DR would be to incorporate multimedia broadcasting. You know, like what 224.0.0.0 nets were reserved for (but not used anymore). I think it'd be great to have an on board computer that gets continuous weather updates and news reports (like what I have on my pager, but more detail). So you could get updated weather maps and news with some live video. Yes, maybe not today, but the service definitely has promise. Just drop all that ad crap. I won't pay for ads!

or have a bake sale? (3, Funny)

loveandpeace (520766) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511815)

Maybe it's time for satellite radio to adopt the Spring and Fall Fund Drives that plague avid listeners of public radio.

The end? (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511824)

I blinked. When was the beginning? Hasn't satellite radio been bigger in Europe? It's been only one or two months now that I have been hearing ads for satellite (on AM/FM) in the US.

Really Unfortunate (2)

snatchitup (466222) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511842)

I forecasted this was going to happen about a year ago here on Slashdot. It was so clear then to me.

Simple economics. They need 400k subscribers on day 1. They need millions of subscribers within a year. They're off by an order of magnitude.

I have first hand knowlege and experience of how these things get off the ground in the first place.

Basically, the marketing is done too much by engineers and scientists.

I contributed to this by co-developing a very sophisticated software application that analysed terrain data from US Geological survey. The results showed that there was a huge potential target market.

You've got scientists on the one end wanting desperately to build a new bird that does what no other bird does. What they have no clue about is how the consumer couldn't give a damn that incredible technology was involved and hundreds of millions spent to bring some sweet sweet sounds to their automobiles.

XM is far simpler than some of the other 2 way projects like Satellite telephones (American Mobile Satellite, dba Motient).

They need to find a way to put a bird up there that not only provides a nice product, it's got to provide a revenue stream in the order of billions.

400,000 subs is only going to get you about $100M per year. You need to start out getting about $1B per year.

I say, follow the successful business model of the Internet. What put Internet commerce on the map? Porn. For some reason, porn enthusiats are very willing paying customers.

Not every one listens to the top 40 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511849)

Since Clear Channel owns a majority of the stations in my area I'm limited to what they decide to play if I listem to FM. I mean how many times can you here the same 100 or songs over and over ? And unless you are a pirate your MP3 collection will get as expensive or even more so than XM's subscription fee. Anyways I'm a real minority in liking Bluegrass so I signed up right away . There's enough of us across the USA to support a channel devoted to singin through yer nose ;)

as an early adopter of xm (1)

Crockerboy (611431) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511858)

I really hope XM is able to survive. It has a chance if it stays up long enough. I personally know 3 other people who have XM with me and none of us can ever think about going back to the commerical laden top 40 stations trying to pass themselves off as "alternative progressive rock". The problem isn't subscriber retainership, its attracting new subscribers. I think there business model should have been structured around giving away free hardware (or atleast a reduced price much like gaming consoles) and making up for the loss in a slightly higher monthly subscription fee. After 2 years or so the hardware is yours, if you cancel the service before 2 years, you must return the hardware.

A redemption? (1)

jaredcoleman (616268) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511872)

Has anyone noticed that General Motors is selling cars equipped with XM Radio [gm.com] . This will hide the initial cost well, since no one thinks about that when its included. They will also be a lot more likely to continue paying for the service. If a lot of people buy these cars, this may give XM a chance.

More centralized control, less freedom (3, Insightful)

isdnip (49656) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511873)

The FCC adopted the wrong model for satellite radio. The pigopolists pretty much got what they wanted, and are suffering for it.

For technical reasons, there are only two satellite radio networks, Sirius and XM. Both have capacity for a lot of channels. The FCC decided to use a "market" approach and allow each company to choose details of its own technology, so their radios are incompatible. Imagine how well TV or FM radio might have done if different stations required different receivers! Consumers are locked in. Sure, it's nice work if you can get it, but consumers aren't quite as dumb as the companies wanted them to be.

Even worse, the duopolists were not charged as common carriers, but as programmers. So XM and Sirius determine what they will carry, and if they don't want something run, it won't run. Sure, they've figured out that they have to offer some kind of musical variety, so they have country & western streams, '70s rock streams, '80s rock streams, sports streams, etc. But the plain fact remains that they control the horizontal, they control the vertical, and a Sirius or XM subscriber won't be exposed to anything that the suits at Sirius or XM don't want them to hear. I guess to them, a stream playing Wilco and an NPR stream are radical enough.

So if this turkey fails, maybe somebody else will try again. If an operator were less greedy, and leased enough channels to independent programmers, then a workable business might be found.

Playboy radio? (1)

Tikiman (468059) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511882)

No really, check it out [xmradio.com] . Always a good business model to try to tap into the insatiable desire for more pornography, but I can't imagine why its not working!

Cable TV model would be better (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511884)

Satellite radio's problem is the cost of the receiver. Getting people to pay for another piece of equipment is the issue. I think they'd have more success "renting" the equipment as part of the monthly fee.

--*Rob

Re:Cable TV model would be better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511982)

I agree. I would really like to have XM Radio, but I won't pay $300 for the receiver. When DSS first arrived, I paid $699 for a satellite receiver, and now they practically pay you to take them.

I'll wait until they offer free radios (with a year of service, or whatever). If the service dies before they do that, then I will be glad I didn't waste the money on a radio, right?

I'll sign up, if they add Radio Paradise (1)

stonedown (44508) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511924)

Although XM Radio already does have a AAA station (Adult Album Alternative), I doubt it is as good as Radio Paradise [radioparadise.com] .

Paradise is similar in some respects to a radio station we had in southern California, KSCA 101.9 FM (LA's Finest Rock!), which was for a time the only place where you could listen to good new music. It was bought and replaced with a Spanish station. Another AAA station came out of the ashes, but it too was bought and converted to Spanish-language format. Now, the southern California radio market is a vast musical wasteland, with the exception of KMZT 105.1 classical, and the KPRW 89.9 public radio station (which is good but very eclectic).

Which all goes to show why I would be willing to fork over $10/month if I could get Paradise in my car. One would think the recording industry would have a clue. I haven't bought a single CD since the last AAA station went off the air in southern California, years ago. After listening to Radio Paradise for a few weeks, I've already targeted 5 CDs which I'll be buying shortly.

Incidentally, my list is:

Aimee Mann - Bachelor #2
Pat Metheny - Works
Coldplay - Parachutes
Cowboy Junkies - The Trinity Session
Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble - The Real Deal: Greatest Hits 2

Radio Paradise is struggling to pay the new webcaster royalties, which are completely stupid. The recording industry won't be happy until they've squashed every outlet for new and interesting music, and they wonder why CD sales are down!! :-(

News and Talk Junkies May Like Satellite Radio (3, Interesting)

dave_aiello (9791) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511939)

I am one of those people who listens to AM radio a lot because I like to listen to talk and news radio. There are a number of services on XM that appeal to people with such tastes:
  • BBC World Service
  • Fox News
  • CNN Headline News
  • ABC News and Talk
  • The Weather Channel
  • CNBC
  • CNNfn
  • Bloomberg News
  • CNET Radio
  • C-SPAN Radio
These are services that you can't get on the radio in 99 percent of the country, unless you use satellite radio. How many people will pay for this? Not many, but, this is probably another vertical market similar to over-the-road truckers.

I haven't bought an XM receiver because I don't think the service will survive in its present form, and I don't have the disposable income that I had prior to the recession.

I haven't seen this posted elsewhere in this discussion, but an AM radio station in NYC has already brought HD-Radio on-line [wor710.com] . This is interesting because I don't know of any receiver I can buy the handles this service at the moment. If HD-Radio doesn't add to the programming options we receive, however, no consumer will care about it. Then, IMHO, all it will be is a long-term way for the broadcasters to reduce transmission costs.

view from inside mobile electronics (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4511946)

as someone who both has XM radio and is an installer in the mobile electronics industry, I'd have to say that XM is going to be around for a while, but Sirius may simply be a transient company.

The real question here seems to be "what is its attraction?" To answer that I'd have to say that most of the hype is more or less true. To compare choice in music between your local FM station and a satellite station, ask yourself what you hear most on your local FM station.

I'll use rock stations as a case study. More than likely there'll be one or two rock stations in your area if you live in a major market. I know in philadelphia the only way I can tell the difference between the two rock stations is by the talk shows that they air. Both stations pretty much play the same set of alternative, a little bit of guns and roses, and then a touch of heavy metal thrown in for good measure.

XM radio has the advantage over this setup simply because one company controls 10 rock stations, so they can coordinate music coverage between the stations and they can specialize in genres of rock. For instance there is one station that only plays alternative, another that plays folk rock, one devoted to heavy metal, and another just for hard rock. There is a channel devoted only to unsigned bands, then another that adopts the format of a university radio station; playing only the newest music and underground rap.

Local radio stations have to compete with each other and they are only given one channel with which to work. Therefore, they will have a tendency to stay in the middle of the road and go with what the focus groups tell them. That's why your local rock station predominantly plays what most people will like. That's why they sound the same.

Thinking about satellite radio in terms of local stations is why many people draw such damning conclusions. Its much more like a webcast: stations thrive on specialization and expert knowledge of a genre.

And as for commercials, you get on average about 1 commercial every 20 minutes. Compare that to 5 in a row every 20 minutes on local radio.

The reason I haven't bought one... (4, Insightful)

daveman_1 (62809) | more than 11 years ago | (#4511978)

I've been itching to buy one of these as of late because I live in an area with poor analog radio reception. Personally, there are a couple of reasons I've been holding off buying one of these...(hope you're listening sirius/xm)

First of all, you can only get a receiver for your car! Is this really the only place they expect people to listen to the radio? Sony makes a unit for the XM systems that is car removable, but I have been told that is just the headset and the "base unit" which mounts somewhere like under a car seat is separate.

Secondly, they need to come up with something better than "just tear out your factory deck". I LIKE my factory deck, and for those who don't know this already, you get better resale on a car that has the factory deck in it. Tearing out a custom unit when it comes time to sell a car is a pain.

Third, and probably most importantly for the prudent consumer, "Will I make the right choice?" The topic of this thread alone should be enough to convince most that this isn't a device you want to run out and spend $300 on. I want a little bit of a guarantee that my nifty new receiver isn't going to become a useless box less than a year after I buy it because the network is no longer in business.

Which brings me to point four: "Why can't I have a receiver that works on both Sirius and XM?" Yes, I realize they are competing for the same market segment. I DON'T CARE. I am a consumer. I want some guarantee that if Sirius(the network I'd probably choose due to a choice of programming) ends up in bankruptcy court, I want to know I have the option of getting service with XM. These devices are just too much money to be throwing away. And I want one that works in my car as well as my home.

Sirius seems to offer a bit higher quality programming than XM. XM seems like a whole lot of the shit that is on television, only now I can listen to it. I can pretty well guarantee that most consumers who are willing to shell out $10 or more a month for this type of service, which is basically radio(something we're accustomed to getting for free), aren't going to willingly listen to a bunch of damn commercials. This is in fact the reason I would choose Sirius over XM. Because they have NPR. No commercials. I get to listen to the news in peace. Commercials are just plain annoying.
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