Howard Stern will save satellite radio?

by Jason Gross

31 October 2005


Good article at Alternet about the Shock Jock king moving to the satellite realm and what they might or might not mean for the burgeoning industry.  The consensus seems to be that it’ll help them (of course) but that satellite ain’t gonna take over for a number of years to come. 

The question then is, if the self-proclaimed king of all media can’t drag users over to that realm, what will eventually?  The poor quality of “terrestial radio”?  Better quality and more diverse satellite channels?  Better radio personalities there? 

Admittedly, I haven’t taken the plunge yet but a friend showed me his Sirius set-up which he carries from his car to home.  The variety and ease of use was stunning.  I know this is old news to most people but on ol’ radio, you twiddle around the dial in a hit and miss search for some music or talk you wanna hear.  With Sirius, you would go through one station immediately after another of dozens of genres, which is easily more preferrable.  What seemed to be missing though were two things: 1) personalities who program to their own eccentricities and 2) free form radio where any genre goes.  Once satellite figures out how to do those well, the sky’s the limit.

And yet between XM and Sirius, their subscriber base is pretty tiny compared to ol’ radio.  As the crystal ball gazers in the Alternet article point out, Satellite’s time still has yet to come.  When the price of the units and subscription for the services shrink and ol’ radio has become so soggy that… Oh wait, there’s still Internet radio, right?  You know, thousands of stations from around the world you can access.  Unless you’re stuck on one station or have a specialized set of bookmarks for your favorite programs/stations, there’s still not the ease of use as on satellite but they do have the personalities and cross-genre programming on their side.  That’s hard to beat.

But you know how it is for new technologies and relatively speaking, satellite is still a baby (hell, the Web is barely over a dozen years old itself).  Maybe they need a sleek, sexy design for I-Pod before more people take it more seriously…

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