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Why (FM, Not XM) Radio Sucks

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the what-mercantilism-sounds-like dept.

Music 616

wemmick writes "The Washington Post has an article "Can XM Put Radio Back Together Again?" which discusses the history of marketing FM radio, how XM could be different, and about Lee Abrams -- "the man who shackled FM radio to the tyranny of mass market research" and is now program director for XM."

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FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116246)

Frok Pot.
Fist Pist.

Re:FP (0, Offtopic)

bbiseda (638841) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116278)

Video did kill the radio star after all...

fp (-1, Redundant)

Billobob (532161) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116249)


Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116253)

Damn it. I wanted the first post. Bastered

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116359)

u didnt get to score this time....
have u ever scored at all?


in soviet russia you get scored!

It's too late.... (2, Informative)

SirDaShadow (603846) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116254)

Clearchannel has a virtual monopoly on the AM sector and it's only a matter of time before FM will get acquired by the big interests...

Re:It's too late.... (2, Interesting)

llamaluvr (575102) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116294)

Here in Cleveland, Clearchannel owns just about every prominient station on the FM dial.

Re:It's too late.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116460)

Here in Cleveland, Clearchannel owns just about every prominient station on the FM dial.

Well, either them or Infinity. WXTM, WNCX, etc. are all very popular Infinity stations in Cleveland too. So hey, a couple dozen radio stations basically owned by two companies. In Cleveland we like all kinds of music... country AND western. ;-)

Re:It's too late.... (1)

lostchicken (226656) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116297)

In my city (Dallas) ClearChannel is a FM game. They own 4 of the music stations here.

Re:It's too late.... (2, Informative)

domninus.DDR (582538) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116354)

Theres a new station in dallas that Im pretty sure isnt owned by clear channel. KKDL started in october or november by playing 30,000 songs in a row without commercials, now they have like a minute of commercials an hour. Its a dance station (106.7) and I can never find the website. I like it a LOT more than anything else on the radio down here.

Re:It's too late.... (1)

crazyprogrammer (412543) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116414)

Same thing happened here in Kansas City a couple years ago. A new alternative/rock station, KRBZ, started by playing songs nonstop with no interruptions for about 3 days. About a week later they had about a minute of commercials every hour. Now a couple years later, they are just another alternative/rock station that plays 5-10 minutes of commercials every hour. I did a little bit of google searching and KRBZ is owned by Entercom. I'm not sure about KKDL, but I think they are owned by a different company.

Re:It's too late.... (1)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116473)

KKDL is owned by a company called Entravision. Most of their stations cater to the Spanish-speaking market. Dance music, AFAIK, is a new market for them.

Re:It's too late.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116374)

Seem to recall the Observer (Dallas independent weekly) running a piece on ClearChannel which quoted some pretty frightening numbers on their market saturation. Basically, they already have like >50% of the US FM market, not a monopoly, but close enough.

Also spooky was that they were running those 'alternative' music stations and full on pop stations around the country with vaguely locally interesting things spliced into the chatter from a single national set of DJs. Essentially, they fake having local interests at all and the US pop listening audience is pretty much unaware of it. Squeeze in a bunch of adds for local bars and car dealerships and noone notices. The phone in contests are run in a similar way, at least for the ones with non-local prizes. When you phone in you're competing with people from all over for that trip to Bermuda or whatever.

Re:It's too late.... (0)

401k (640574) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116433)

It's 60% of the ROCK market, not all FM, at least according to the Salon article: channel/index.html But it's a pernicious and growing force in radio nonetheless, and having ten DJs in a basement in Oklahoma playing every record in the country is a scary thought. Worth a Simpsons episode, at any rate.

first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116255)


FP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116256)

FP? no way

in soviet russia.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116259)

... one letter difference doesnt matter....

xm/fm who the fuck carez shit

soviet russia ownz

mod parent up - FUNNY !!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116281)

heheh this joke is the best soviet russian one i read so far...

radio (0)

s0rbix (629316) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116262)

correct me if im wrong, but xm isnt radio waves, its a digital signal. radio is analog, is it not? and free?

Re:radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116290)

Guess what- digital radio gets sent on "radio waves, " too. Even if it's from a satellite.

Re:radio (1)

rpresser (610529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116309)

... but xm isnt radio waves, its a digital signal. radio is analog, is it not?

What do you imagine the digital signal is being carried on? Smoke signals?

Re:radio (1)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116312)

well, digital or not, its still is a radio wave.

Re:radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116355)

you must be an idiot.

Re:radio (4, Informative)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116376)

correct me if im wrong, but xm isnt radio waves, its a digital signal. radio is analog, is it not? and free?

OK, your wrong. And corrected. XM is radio waves, delivered from a satelite. The signal delivered is a digital signal, but that doesn't keep it from being a radio signal. It's an electromagnetic signal in the radio frequency part of the spectrum (several gigahertz, but much lower in frequency, and longer in wavelength than light), so it's radio. You can't tune it in on your Walkman, but that's because 1) your Walkman doesn't tune to that fequency, 2) The Walkman antenna isn't designed for that frequency, and 3) the Walkman demodulator was not designed to demodulate and decode the digital signal; but that doesn't mean it's not a radio signal. You can't tune in a taxi cab or a cop car on a standard unmodified AM/FM broadcast band radio either, but they still use radio signals.

Standard AM radio is both analog and amplitude modulated (the strength of the signal changes in relation to the analog signal). FM radio is frequency modulated, in the normal FM bands the analog signal is used to change (modulate) the frequency of the radio signal. But there are plenty of digital formats that can be and are sent over radio waves, including XM radio.

Re:radio (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116470)

Here. I got all this from

XM Radio uses two Boeing HS 702 satellites, appropriately dubbed "Rock" and "Roll," placed in parallel geostationary orbit, one at 85 degrees west longitude and the other at 115 degrees west longitude. Geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) is about 22,223 miles (35,764 km) above Earth, and is the type of orbit most commonly used for communications satellites. The first XM satellite, "Rock," was launched on March 18, 2001, with "Roll" following on May 8. XM Radio has a third HS-702 satellite on the ground ready to be launched in case one of the two orbiting satellites fails.

XM Radio's ground station transmits a signal to its two GEO satellites, which bounce the signals back down to radio receivers on the ground. The radio receivers are programmed to receive and unscramble the digital data signal, which contains up to 100 channels of digital audio. In addition to the encoded sound, the signal contains additional information about the broadcast. The song title, artist and genre of music are all displayed on the radio. In urban areas, where buildings can block out the satellite signal, XM's broadcasting system is supplemented by ground transmitters.

Each receiver contains a proprietary chipset. XM began delivering chipsets to its XM radio manufacturing partners in October 2000. The chipset consists of two custom integrated circuits designed by STMicroelectronics. XM has partnered with Pioneer, Alpine, Clarion, Delphi Delco, Sony and Motorola to manufacture XM car radios. Each satellite radio receiver uses a small, car-phone-sized antenna to receive the XM signal. General Motors has invested about $100 million in XM, and Honda has also signed an agreement to use XM radios in its cars. GM began installing XM satellite radio receivers in selected models in early 2001.

Outside of radio markets (4, Informative)

BrianGa (536442) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116263)

You in the big cities and even you in the more heavily populated rural areas may not realize what this means. But ask anyone who has driven across Montana, Wyoming, and one or both of the Dakotas: There are literally miles and miles where you cannot get any radio at all. I'm not saying "nothing but talk" or "nothing but Hat Act music". I'm saying literally NOTHING.

For this reason, I'm guessing that satellite radio receivers would be a big hit in Ryder/UHaul trucks. It would also keep them from having to reprogram the radio settings at every location.

Re:Outside of radio markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116272)

Hehe, all you need is your pics of cowboy neal by your side.

Re:Outside of radio markets (0)

401k (640574) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116321)

What inspired you to craft such a timeless example of Slashdot wit? Run out of Monty Python lines to parrot? Unlike most of you, I'm actually reading the article. XM is cool, and if I was a trucker or a cabbie or had a longer commute, it'd be worth a try. But it's kind of worrisome when you read the article and they described their meetings: everyone wears shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and is a loudmouthed jerk, led by the inhuman monsters who invented cloning station and demo profiling. Those are not the kind of people who aare going to launch a "revolution." A better solution would be wireless broadband Internet radio, but of course, the music industry fascists and their cops in congress won't have it.

Re:Outside of radio markets (2)

jb_02_98 (636753) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116275)

I personally think that all "radio" as we know it is doomed. I don't listen to the radio. I would rather listen to something i know. Like a cd I own. It would best if they just put cd players in UHaul Trucks.

Re:Outside of radio markets (5, Interesting)

goatasaur (604450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116333)

Don't be so pessimistic. There are still a lot of stations that play quality music. The problem is a dearth of good (and diverse) bands/groups.

Here in St. Louis, there's a great alternative station, KPNT 105.7. They regularly play good music I haven't heard before. On my drive home from work, a program called "The Pit" is on, that reminds me of Headbanger's Ball on MTV. True catharsis is blasting Static-X after dealing with ignorant jerks all day.

Like the state of popular music, radio is just starting to wake up after being knocked out by a blow to the head in the late 90s.

Re:Outside of radio markets (1)

glubbs (526448) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116352)

How do you find new music, then? I get mine here: 90.1 WRUV FM Burlington []

I find my music by.... (1)

jb_02_98 (636753) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116368)

word of mouth. My friends know me well enough that they know what type of music I like. They tell me a group, I listen to it (if they have it downloaded or own a disc) and if I like it, I buy it. Radio just has too much "junk" music to make it worth it. I hope I didnt sound rude... Hmmm...

P2P Fishing (1)

goatasaur (604450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116453)

A good way to find decent bands is (using a P2P app), browsing by username the people you download from.

It's an easy way to find some listenable material, and maybe even a new favorite band [] .

Re:Outside of radio markets (1)

div_2n (525075) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116387)

Radio has taken assaults before by thing much bigger than satellite radio.

8 tracks/cassettes/cds/mp3s -- being able to record your own media made radio look obsolete. Has it died? Not even close.

Television -- Although most reading this website (if not all) may not know it, people used to tune in to radio broadcasts much like people do prime time tv. For reference, research the performance of "War of the Worlds."

Internet broadcasts -- The above two coupled with this surely meant doom for radio. Nope.

So let me get this straight. If all of the above couldn't do it, you are telling me that a subscription only service is going to kill free radio? By free I mean listeners don't have to pay.

Radio is the number one media period. More people are listening to radio at any given moment than all other media combined. You will be hard pressed to explain the doom of that type of consumer base.

silence vs. bad non-silence (5, Funny)

timothy (36799) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116301)

It's almost worse when you can get *some* radio, but it's annoying radio. Driving in West Texas is like that. (Not all the time, but ... with enough time, "not all" can still mean quite a bit ;))

Cracker Barrel (which is of course not in plentiful supply in the utter boonies, yet) has an insidious, effective plan to make sure you consume their maple syrup: rent (actually, sell but with an easy sell-back plan) audio books.I think it's about $2.50, if you return a tape within one week. It's worse than the addictive chemical in the Colonel's chicken.


Re:Outside of radio markets (1)

Jardine (398197) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116316)

You mean you can't even get AM stations in? Even at night? I'm in SW Ontario and I get at least one station from South Carolina with just a cheap radio. I find it hard to believe that no stations at all come in.

Re:Outside of radio markets (4, Interesting)

sporty (27564) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116372)

Let me represent a small bit of NYC. We have a handful of stations. This is all we have on the FM band off the top of my head.

107.5 - r&b
103.5 - "dance"
101.something - jazz
100.3 - "current pop" music, what kids like
98.1 - new skool r&b
97.1 - old skool r&b
96.3 - classical music
95.5 - adult contemprary
92.3 - "current rock"

There are also about 3 or 4 latin stations. 0 competition. It really sucks. Hopefully, XM will be able to kill off FM completely and switch to a cheaper than cheap brand of "good" music stations. Or at least plentiful ones. Our statiosn don't even compete against each other. *puke*

Re:Outside of radio markets (1)

Slurpee (4012) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116463)

For this reason, I'm guessing that satellite radio receivers would be a big hit in Ryder/UHaul trucks.

would satellite receivers work on a moving vehicle?

(I'm thinking along the lines of pay TV satellite receivers, which need to be aimed fairly well).

RPN example (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116266)

sqr (5 * (6 + 8)) =

ALG: 11 keystrokes


6 Enter 8 + 5 * sqr

7 keystrokes

PS, can anyone point me to the slashdot 'thread of death'?

the trick is in the X... (5, Funny)

QEDog (610238) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116267)

Everyone knows that to make something sound cool you just put an X somewhere -X-Box -Xtreme Games -XXX (the action movie, not the rating, triple x triple the fun!) -XXX (the rating) -Windows XP -Ximian

Re:the trick is in the X... (4, Funny)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116317)

X-wife ... 'nuff said!

Re:the trick is in the X... (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116411)

X-champion, X-president...

Re:the trick is in the X... (2)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116323)

I vote this thread suX0r. Is that good enough?

Re:the trick is in the X... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116358)


Re:the trick is in the X... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116393)


Re:the trick is in the X... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116436)

XML, Mac OS X, XHTML, BMX XXX, X-Men, x (multiplying is at an all time high!), X-Windows, X11, Mutant X, Megaman X, ...

What is this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116269)

What is this XM/FM radio you are talking about? my dial is always on AM.

Re:What is this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116357)

AM radio. Now THAT'S free of propoganda all right. G. Gordon Liddy that all the Liddiots listen to.. and Rush Limbaugh, for all the Limbots...

XM from Junis' perspective (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116271)

Junis just emailed me yesterday. He dug up his XM radio receiver, attached it to his commodore-64 using a USB adapter found in a black-market catalogue (GEOS supports USB) and, after closing down the latest Baywatch episode he was viewing, says that "the sound comes in beautifully."

It seems as though everyone in Afghanistan is quite excited about the XM format. Instead of minefields of buried Commodore-64s like before, there are now minefields of XM receivers.

Even the Afghani-warez community is getting in on the action, capturing sounds from American Radio, dubbing them to tape (or a suitable format readable by the c-64) and replaying them all for the people of their country to hear.

Junis is still mesmerized by open source and says "I really think Linux is the future. Once we can get a distro that boots from a 1541 drive, we'll be set."

Here in Albany NY, two words... (5, Funny)

Savatte (111615) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116282)

are all that's needed to show how bad FM radio sucks: Creed marathons.

Xm/Am/Fm/ClearM (4, Insightful)

matth (22742) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116286)

I don't know.... it just doesn't work to have one station that you can listen to all the time. You miss locality... and people like that. ClearChannel is trying to do an XM like setup but with FM. They own tons of radio stations which they run all under one roof.. and they are all computer run. But, while the music may be there the localities.. and personalities are not. In addition, with XM you don't have the localness that you do with DJ Bob and the morning show talking about something that happened 1 town over the previous evening.

Sooner or later ClearM (Clear Channel Radio) is going to fail as well... due to the fact that they are not marketing to the locals but the masses... they have tons of stations that all play the same ads.. and different music... just doesn't work that way.

Re:Xm/Am/Fm/ClearM (2, Informative)

f97tosc (578893) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116378)

I don't know.... it just doesn't work to have one station that you can listen to all the time. You miss locality... and people like that.

Well, the customer who wants local stuff will clearly not be statisfied by XM. But I think that there is a significant customer segment, myself included, that does not care about local stuff. Personally I don't want to hear people talking, (be it local or not) and I think that the selection of music I get on FM is very limited.

With XM I could get a much better selection of different music types, not to mention clearer sound and no commercials. I'll wait for the prices to fall a little further though...


Re:Xm/Am/Fm/ClearM (1)

matth (22742) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116394)

You are very correct. Commercial free... and if you don't care about listening to the morning Bob & Tom show.. then XM would be good. Personally, I kinda like hearing the local personalities.

Re:Xm/Am/Fm/ClearM (3, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116419)

Clearchannel is not going to fail unless goverment decides to break it back up. Their radio stations are just a small part of the picture, they are trying and to a great degree suceeding in owning almost everything in music. Clearchannel wants to own the venues, the ticketing, the radio etc. This way they can "make" a band, then once they have created this group with their marketing machine they book them at their venues and using their ticketing system (tickmaster). From a profit standpoint they make a heck of a lot more than the bands they create.

Re:Xm/Am/Fm/ClearM (1)

Raiford (599622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116478)

you don't have the localness that you do with DJ Bob and the morning show talking about something that happened 1 town over the previous evening.

... and this is the very reason I would want XM radio to avoid having to listen to the troll-like morning windbags that think they are God's gift to entertainment. Just give me the music. I listen to a lot of CDs but I like to listen for new stuff once in a while without the ridiculous commentary.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116300)

... XM radio schlack you!

Re:IN SOVIET RUSSIA ... (-1, Offtopic)

NoShitMan (63321) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116310)

we already have a soviet russia post dude. and its way funnier than yours....

get your ass to soviet russia and get some more hands on experience f00l...

in soviet russia u'll get owned


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116340)





soviet russia is cool....

well (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116302)

I'll stick with my free, mediocre music. Thank you.

Or better yet, my discman...

I don't have 50 kilodollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116303)

How do citizens get to voice their opinion?
(with more than 10 milliwatts)

ClearChannel killed the radio fan. (5, Interesting)

green pizza (159161) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116306)

ClearChannel killed the radio fan.

In my neck of the woods (northern Texas) it's almost impossible to find an FM station that isn't part of clearchannel's network. Lots of ads, nation-wide contests, clearchannel-approved news/propaganda. Et cetra.


Re:ClearChannel killed the radio fan. (1)

ChillinTheMost (642759) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116427)

It's the same here in Houston. ClearChannel owns most of the stations and they all suck. I don't even bother with it anymore. I put an MP3 player in my car and I listen to music not commercials and not to crap I don't want to hear.

Re:ClearChannel killed the radio fan. (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116441)

When i was in college, the best radio station i ever heard was The Nerve in rochester ny. They played music i liked (as well as the other college kids) and most of their commercials were done by teh station (or so it seemed...usually it was the same 2 guys doing them). That station had a great personality. Then clear channel bought them out. Now its the same crappy station that gets played here in SE PA. You know, play 1 good song, 1 song yhou really don't want to hear, one you don't care about, and then about 25 mins of commercials. Ugh.

Re:ClearChannel killed the radio fan. (5, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116452)

XM isn't gonna save you... ClearChannel invested in the company, and carries much of ClearChannel's network programming.

Re:ClearChannel killed the radio fan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116456)

Okay, this is getting weird. Near as I can tell Clear Channel is everywhere but of five or so comments on clear channel so far mentioning a specific location and the crappiness which is ClearChannel, four of them have been in regard to North Texas! Are we at groundzero of ClearChannel dominance or what?

On that note, a positive local thing. KERA (local NPR station) has a few actual local program mixed in with all the NPR stuff. In particular, Lonestar Saturday Nights (oddly enough, on Saturday night, 7:00 if I recall) with actual Texas bands and actual Texas musicians on the program. There is still hope, even if its NPR.

Have also found a few other tiny local radio stations (Dallas now), that specialize in local bands and some of them are pretty good. Look around, if you're near one of the bigger cities, there may be a few gems tucked in between all the ClearChannel crap.

Other favorites worth mentioning (non-Dallas)
WPKN - Bridgeport Connecticut, esp the Halloween Zappa marathon
Monkeywrench radio in the SFBayarea
KCRW - NPR, but good
Anyone with the guts to put together a low power local station in this day and age.

Easy! (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116315)

Forbid ALL advertisements on FM - and FM will be much much better.
A lot of FM stations die - but others will be public only.

Re:Easy! (1)

Jardine (398197) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116334)

Are you sure you want that? We have those stations in Canada. They're called the CBC. Listen to them for a while, sometimes they're good, other times you wonder "Why are my tax dollars paying for this?"

Re:Easy! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116388)

CBC probably offers the best radio out there. As you said sometimes it's bad (which of course is all a matter of taste) but other times it is the best music going. The only other stations that can match the quality programming are College/Univ. stations and they aren't commercial either.

In conclusion: Commercial radio sucks.

Re:Easy! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116369)

you are an idiot.

I disagree with the author (5, Insightful)

ajuda (124386) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116318)

We saw something similar happen with cable stations. As channels begin to mature, they will try to go to the widest possible audience. Remember TNN? (The Nashville Network)? it used to have country stuff, now it's all wrestling and star trek. Remember Sci Fi? it used to be THE PLACE for geeks like us. Now their canceling Farscape and such. All niche markets will go mainstream for money. It will only take a few years until the people at XM decide to axe the stations with less popularity... after all they bring in far less profit than the average Brittany Spears station. Why oh Why won't she die? (or at least do some real porn?)

Re:I disagree with the author (1)

a7244270 (592043) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116412)

Not true.

The main difference is that all those channels you mentioned are independently owned, and are trying to gain advertising revenue, which is why they "go mainstream" to attract viewers.

In contrast, XM owns all 100 stations, so the individual stations have nothing to gain by going mainstream.

I think its a good idea, god knows FM sucks ass theses days.

The big question: Will people pay for radio? (4, Interesting)

Slurpee (4012) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116328)

Is a question that is raised in the article.

At first glance I thought "no way!". But then again, I thought the same way about pay-TV.

What do others think?

Re:The big question: Will people pay for radio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116347)

A big fat no. Simply because every song by any band is much more redily avaliable on the internet than are entire catalogues of TV shows. Considering the amount of people who use P2P programs and have large mp3 collections, i cant personally see a 'pay-radio' scheme ever working.

radio is dead (5, Insightful)

Ferro_Man (252684) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116349)

Reel Big Fish made a good point in their song "sellout"

the radio plays what they want you to hear...
they tell me its cool...
i just don't believe it...

FM radio is horrible. Around here, DJs have stopped taking request (probably because they are owned by clear channel). Music selection is poor, and they over play the good song to the point that you would rather go deaf than hear that song again. I can just burn a cd with the songs i want to hear as opposed to sitting through a crappy creed song in hopes that the next song will be one that i want to listen to

Hopefully XM can save radio, before it is gone for good

Re:radio is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116377)

radio won't die, what will you listen to in your car? Or, at work.

You need a DJ to play new songs for you, you need a dial to switch between genres to suit your mood.

Radio will survive, in some form.

ObVice City (1)

Kyeo (577916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116479)

Flash FM: We tell you what's good. Then we play it 'til you like it.

FM is the future, it just needs to be fixed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116361)

I hope XM's selections are a lot better that Sirius's (sp?). I found a site a while back that had links to streams of all sirius's channels. The crap they were playing was sooooo horrible. I can't believe people pay subscriptions for that shit. I'm thinking it'll go the way of the minidisc. It will stay on the market, but it won't become very popular or profitable.

What we really need is the government to step in and break up the FM radio monopolies (Infinity Broadcasting comes to mind). They own at least 3 of the biggest stations in my area alone. That's why we have road rage. We're forced to listen to crap like creed, staind, and pop-punk 789.

The day I'm longing for is, when I just pick up my own shoutcast server via satelite broadband while driving. That would kick ass.

Re:FM is the future, it just needs to be fixed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116398)

The day I'm longing for is, when I just pick up my own shoutcast server via satelite broadband while driving. That would kick ass.

This is where TV and radio need to go. Why bother having a over the air broadcast when you could just use the internet which can go over wires or the air? That would free up the spectrum for internet use as well.

this could go either way - but probably downhill (5, Interesting)

Suchetha (609968) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116365)

i used to be a radio DJ in Sri Lanka (TNL Radio [] ) and i think that XM MAY be a good idea IF they can please people.. by offering 100 channels (like on cable) they are trying to hit the niche markets.. and i think that the niche markets may buy into it.. if only for a while.. people started to buy cable so that they could get stuff they couldn't get in the "regular" channels and now cable has a niche channel for everyone.. but radio is a little different.. like they say in the article "the commercial FM dial has been essentially reduced to six musical formats: Pop/rock, hip-hop, country, classical, Spanish-language and variations on the theme of "adult contemporary," "... lets face it the channels have been split into that because that is what's popular.. sure XM may allow people to listen to Inuit whaling songs or Apache chants.. but will there be a market for them? or will they just all deteriorate into variations on the 6 standard themes?.. with the RIAA not giving publicity to "non standard" artists and also will they actually have a chance to show up on these channels? i am not sure how good this guy panero is.. but i have had to geal with his fallout.. even here in Sri Lanka we had TNL, a station with a great reputation as a rock station, go downhill into britney spears-esque pop.. the owner decided there was more of a market for it.. (what could we do.. his car, his petrol)... but we lost a lot of fans.. and a lot of us (me included) walked off.. now i listen to stuff i download off the net..

i guess the point i am trying to make is this.. human nature being what it is.. XM will start off with a bang.. but soon deteriorate into yet another generic music station.. sure they won't have any advertising.. and maybe the choice will be marginally better.. but do you REALLY want to pay $150 + $9.99 per month to hear the Butts Treat Boys?.. remember MTV? and how they had to launch M2 so that people would play them for what they WERE supposed to deliver.. namely music?

Why not fix FM while we are at it? (5, Insightful)

PotatoHead (12771) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116379)

We have already trashed one commercial band, namely, AM, when we could have easily fixed and extended it with AM stereo. (Which has some very nice qualities BTW.)

Now are we going to give up on FM as well?

I can see a lot of advantages to the satellite radio systems particularly in rural areas where you find little or no radio. So these systems have their place. However we still need local radio. Not the clear channel kind, but real local radio.

Here in the Portland area we had a nice station in the early 80's called KSKD. They were innovative. Dolby FM (Which we all should be using today.), very low key DJ's, well defined commercial blocks, and an interesting playlist were all part of this local station. Many of my early musical tastes were formed while listening to the music played on KSKD and when they went off the air, I missed them.

Listening to the radio while on trips used to be pretty interesting. As you went from place to place, the music was different. Each city seemed to have a station or two, like KSKD, that played what they thought was cool. Their listeners became loyal because the combination of music and its presentation was not to be found elsewhere.

Companies like Clear Channel have done the public a dis-service in that they have ruined local programming in all station except community and educational ones.

So for now, satellite radio is a new medium that shines right now. But will it go the way AM and FM did?

Re:Why not fix FM while we are at it? (2, Interesting)

Thatmushroom (447396) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116483)

Luckily here in central Indiana we have a few radio stations left like that. Unfortunately, Clear Channel got the biggest fish in the water, and doesn't seem to worry about the others much.

Q95 used to be the best rock radio station in the country. They have all kinds of awards from back in the glory days because of a great format, funny morning show hosts (Bob and Tom, who were funny back then), a local focus, and a dedication not to screw over their listeners. Well, they started slipping once Bob and Tom got syndicated. "It's ok, though, they still are pretty funny, even if they aren't really local anymore, and there are the 20 hours of the day when they aren't on nationwide."

Clear Channel killed those other 20 hours. No one really listens to them anymore, because it's a waste of time. No longer are they the best radio station in the country, they're as bad as most of the other Clear Channel stations.

Just wanted to share my local tragedy.

Moses (4, Interesting)

limekiller4 (451497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116385)

The first line of the article [] reads:
"Heard avril [sic] Lavigne's 'Complicated' just a wee bit too often?"

No. No, in fact I've never heard it. I have also never heard Who Let the Dogs Out.


My friends still can't believe that one. Anyway, I digress...

The article continues:
"Who needs radio anymore?"

Good question. Radio is nothing more than mental babysitting. It has no interest in your tastes, whatsoever; you conform to it (or as close as you can get) and not the other way around. Which are you, small, medium or large now get the fsck in, thanks.

I'm not a purist and I'm not a music snob. I like pop-ish stuff. I've got Bjork, Oakenfold, BNL, Alanis, U2 and Sublime on my playlist. But I listen to this stuff because I want to and because I got sick of this so-called "prepped, packaged and served up in easy-to-digest bites, like tiny bits of Spam stuck on toothpicks" back around 1997. My tools, of course, was Napster and internet radio, but those are far from the only choices. They're just the ones I chose when I finally got fed up with it all.

My apologies for the rant but I guess I'm sick of people lamenting the demise of radio as if it is, someplace, written in stone that good music must be carved up and delivered to you on the aforementioned toothpick. Andbody with a tape deck and a little bit of get-off-their-ass can find music that they like, record it, play it back and never have to listen to another advertisement ...if not hearing advert-saturated-sh*t-in-heavy-rotation is what you care for.

Abrams can go to hell (4, Insightful)

ziriyab (549710) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116390)

Radio has gone from a letter you get from a friend to junk mail you get from a faceless corporation. Lee Abrams has been responsible for destroying something that was free and then selling us the original for a fee. Fuck him.

XM Sux, Siriusly (1, Informative)

Beebos (564067) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116399)

Sirius got a later start and has fewer subscribers, but it has a few advantages.

Its finances are in better shape. XM has heavy debt.

It has much better news and talk stations. In addition to what XM has, Sirius has 2 NPR stations, PRI International, and the World Radio Network. You can get news reporting from all over the world. Oh wait... Americans don't care about the rest of the world. Dang.

I've read that Sirius has three satelites, where XM has two. Additionally Sirius' satelites are in higher orbits. The result is that Sirius has a more reliable signal and fewer loses of signal.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, NONE of Sirius' channels have commercials, where some of XM's do.

Re:XM Sux, Siriusly (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116466)

MOST IMPORTANTLY, NONE of Sirius' channels have commercials, where some of XM's do

Wouldn't having some commercials be better in the long run? It at least adds another revenue stream.

Re:XM Sux, Siriusly (0, Funny)

geek (5680) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116474)

"Americans don't care about the rest of the world. Dang."

Cry me a river you fucking victim. When the rest of the world does something worth caring about, wake me up.

And lo... (1)

Kipper the Llama (454021) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116402)

Man made the CD player, looked at it and said "It is good."

And millions were freed from having to wait for the radio to play the song they wanted, and the fuzzy sounds of tapes all at the same time.

Yet, the same people who can't keep their headphones off were the same who complained about the corruption of radio.

WOXY [] is a good FM station that plays independent music in the Oxford, OH area. And they webcast. If only every area had a station something like it (because, I'll admit, I'd STILL rather use the CD player).

the answer is (5, Interesting)

beaverfever (584714) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116416)

in a word... no.

unfortunately, U.S. radio is dead, and XM is essentially U.S. Radio. Even if it doesn't suck now, it will soon enough. Program lists are chosen by consumer data, fed into computers and printed on 20lb white. Actually, they probably don't have to bother printing anything - feed the data and the machines will play it - humans just have to drop in the scripted patter from the cloned DJs every station manages to find. Anyways, record companies lean on the broadcasters for support, the broadcasters lean on the record companies for support, and they both end up not moving anywhere worthwhile, and besides they both like to play it safe. The result is playlists that have the same songs played day after day, month after month, from one city to the next. With very few exceptions there is nobody out there willing to take a leadership role, to break new ground, or *gasp* take any chances (chances are bad for business, after all) and not just take what the labels hand-feed them.

If you're interested, you can listen in online at CBC Radio [] (Radio One or Radio Two) or BBC [] (1,2,3,4, etc., etc.) and find out what radio that isn't tied by umbilical cord to Big Business can be.

Nope (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116417)

Please, they are run by the same damn people. XM is part owned by Clear Channel for god's sake.

Hopefully in the future the Cellular/wi-fi networks will keep us connected to the internet all the time and we'll be able to listen to streaming radio in our cars.

(btw, does anyone ever listen to the radio while they're not driving around? It's kind of weird. Oh well)

AM radio sucks now as well. (1)

Nikkos (544004) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116422)

Have you listened to Art Bell? Bruce Williams? Paul Harvey? All of their shows are polluted with more advertisements than ever before. In fact, I believe there's more advertising time than "show" time in these programs. Listen to Paul Harvey's "Rest of the Story" tomorrow, he'll talk a full minute about Gold Bond, another about some bed, and spend another minute during an advertising break, and the show is only 5 minutes long!

I'd love to get a TIVO for radio.


Easier way to save FM radio (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116425)

I was called by a ratings service over the Xmas holidays to track my (and my mythical family's) listening habits.


Find out the progressive rock stations (not the phony ones that say "leading edge" and then end up playing M&M). Find out the classical stations, the jazz stations, the ones that have oddball formats, bluegrass.

And swear you listen to them. That's what I did.

And in the comments section at the end of the week write "I hate most of all sounds alike".

And keep doing it, urge your family and friends to to the same.

Take the ratings out of the loser stations.

I finally heard M&M today, BTW. He sounds like he would be popular with 14 year old girls.

Thank God for CD101 (1)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116428)

Still the best FM radio station on the planet. Check them out here [] .

XM is a monopoly, isn't it? (1)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116434)

All this talk about Clear Channel owning way too many radio stations (which I agree) makes me think.

Isn't XM owned by one company? I know they have a broader range of programming, but the potential for abuse is so ripe. If they got incredibly popular, they could pull all the same stunts that Clear Channel pulls today. Beware...

Re:XM is a monopoly, isn't it? (1)

Beebos (564067) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116458)

There is competition for XM. Sirius satelitte radio.

Monopolies are not illegal. Using your power as a monopoly in unfair ways is what is illegal.

If XM were to keep Sirius from entering the market, that would be illegal.

Your Favorite Pop Artists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116442)

I love Avril Lavigne!!!!

One time I heard Journey's "Wheel in the Sky" when I fell asleep and then when I woke up in the morning it was playing on the radio again. Weird, eh?

JJJ TripleJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116443)

Australia's TripleJ is a non commercial, national radio station that supports local, international, youth, unsigned, and non mainstream music. Amazingly, it's also government owned.

Check it out at

Peercast and Ogg Vorbis (again!) (3, Interesting)

SirDaShadow (603846) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116448)

XM uses 96kbit and a propiertary codec to send programming to the XM receivers...why can't they or someone else use something like ogg vorbis (very acceptable stereo sound at ~45kbps) and peercast combined with 802.11x(b,g,whatever)/CDMA/WISPs?

book recommendation (1)

ohlieoh (581070) | more than 11 years ago | (#5116454)

A good book in this area is 'Rebels on the Air' by Jesse Walker. The book covers in-depth the struggles and minor triumphs of non-mainstream radio programming. I found the history of the assimilation, regulation, and commercialization of broadcast media to have a direct comparison to what is happening to various internet technologies today. The book takes you from the 'hobbyists' of the early 1900s, through the military's acceptance and then the creeping regulation up to the banal programming that is with us today.

CD Player (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116455)

FM is the reason I got a CD Player. I was tired of hearing the same crap on area radio stations, with their seemingly-synchronized commercial breaks.

As for the spontaneity factor the article talks about, that really doesn't effect me as much. I've had that same "feeling" burning some new tracks from artists I'd discovered through Audiogalaxy (when it was alive).

Play the Clear Channel Radio Game! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5116477)

Just tune into one of their classic rock stations and wait for one of these 4 bands to play within a 15 minute time span...

1. Led Zeppelin
2. Pink Floyd
3. Boston
4. ZZ Top

Bonus points are awarded if you can find them playing the same artist on different stations at the same time.

Generic rock....whoopee!!!
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