This morning on CNBC I heard that DirecTV is considering entering the satellite radio business. Who knows what level of accuracy this report has, but I made me think about the current media coverage of the satellite radio industry. Most of the hype surrounds the recent signings of big-name talents and content providers to the two main players: XM Radio and Sirius. Iâ??m talking about Howard Stern (Sirius), Major League Baseball (XM Radio), the National Football League (Sirius), Opie & Anthony (XM Radio), NCAA March Madness (Sirius), Dr. Laura Schlessinger (XM Radio), G. Gordon Liddy (XM Radio), NASCAR (XM Radio), and the list goes on. As a subscriber to XM radio, the feature that actually sold me on the service was the music programming itself(shocking, isn’t it?). Granted, all the other features and programming allowed me to justify the monthly subscription fee, but what struck me was the tremendous music selection on XM. Now, this is not to say that Sirius doesnâ??t have great music, but the key is the human factor of actually creating the play lists and having excellent DJ’s run the show. When I initially listened to XM, there were a handful of stations that made me say, “hmm, if I were to personally put together a radio station and play the songs that I wanted to hear, this would be it.” Now isnâ??t that the point of radio? Maybe itâ??s the original and most pure point of radio from a listener’s point of view? Why do we listen to any particular station? A radio station is selected that best suits one’s listening interests and preferences. So it was with XM Radio for me. Everything else was fine – the technology cool and the programming extensive – but the selling feature was great music 24/7 that freed me from trying to find it myself. Iâ??ve found I spend less time messing with my MP3 player and more time just enjoying music.
With that point made, it strikes me that none of the coverage on these satellite radio services actually speaks to the music. This point specifically strikes me as significant when there is talk of DirecTV getting into the market. I’ve had DirecTV for years (specifically for the NFL Sunday Ticket to watch my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers) and the service has always provided 30+ digital music channels. In the most generous terms, these channels were bad. I hope there wasnâ??t any active human intervention in the programming. So, if DirecTV plans on entering this business, I surely hope they have plans to upgrade their current music offerings. For this nascent industry’s sake, I hope a little more emphasis is placed on the music.