I just got an Audiovox receiver for Sirius satellite radio. It rocks. I was with XM for about 7 months. Read on to find out why I switched.
It boils down to a few things that I like better about Sirius:
- Absolutely no commercials on the music channels ever. That’s key for me. If I’m paying for the radio, I don’t want the doggone commercials anyways.
- I really like to hear stuff that I’ve never heard or stuff I don’t hear often. I find that the Sirius stations repeat less and play lots of stuff that’s new to me. With only a few stations that I really liked on XM, I often found myself listening to the same songs over and over.
- National Public Radio (NPR). I’m a big fan of NPR, and I like the fact that I can get it on the satellite. We get kinda spotty FM reception where we are. I do wish, however, that they would play some more shows on Sirius. The Annoying Music Show and a few others are really cool, but don’t show up on the NPR or PRI Sirius stations.
- I love the Audiovox receiver. It’s got tons of usability features that I really like. The big display is nice, the ability to scan other stations and look at what’s on without actually switching to them. I used to use a Sony XM01, which was just a piece of junk.
- The guy who is largely responsible for the success for XM, is also the guy largely responsible for the demographic research that has allowed commercial radio to pidgeon-hole listeners and stagnate. It’s not strictly his fault that that’s how the stuff got used, but he got rich off it. If someone comes up and offers a billion dollar advertising deal to him for XM, you can believe the commercials will flow freely. That said, Sirius is in worse financial shape than XM, so I shouldn’t pretend that they’re all a bunch of long-haired altruistic goodie-goodies.
- I have to admit I like to root for the underdog a bit. They try harder because they can’t rest on their laurels.
Now there are a few things I don’t like about Sirius as much as I liked about XM.
- I can’t get direct Sirius reception in my office. I went and got a southern-facing window for XM, and now I need a westward facing window for Sirius. Even then, the reception is weak at best and keeps cutting out. It’s OK. What’s cool about Sirius is that they allow me to stream over the internet. Problem solved. I’ve got the great music during my commute and at home through my receiver, and I’ve got it streaming at my desk during the day. Cool.
- The “stream jockeys” on Sirius talk too much. I don’t want them to talk, I just want the music. Several of my favorite stations on XM (Ethel, and The System) had no announcers at all. Though, they did have commercials and long-winded station promos.
- XM has a 90’s station. Judging from what I’ve read, it sounds like Sirius had one and got rid of it. XM’s 90’s station, though, had a bit too much rap and hip-hop. I suppose there was an awful lot of that in the 90s.
- XM has lots of depth in its genres. Sirius has a little less. That said, I find that I change stations less frequently with Sirius. I seem to be happier with the same station for much longer periods of time (like a half hour) as opposed to 5 or 10 minutes with XM.
I have no idea if my comparison is useful to anyone else. I hope it is.