I was a very early subscriber to XM Radio, and they always have had really great jazz programming (and have the good taste to program my CDs as well!) But then I leased a new Volvo, and the car came with a free 6 month subscription to Sirius Satellite radio, so I switched. It also came with an auxiliary input for my IPod, so the choices instead of ad-based radio are multiplying.
Meanwhile, I have a bunch of gripes with Sirius. I find the programming much less interesting than what I had on XM, and it all feels a lot more “robotic”. I know, with 100 stations I didn’t think they really had 100 DJs sitting in booths all day long spinning discs, but at least on XM they found a way to make it at least SOUND like there is a real person there and they care if you are listening. Plus the digital sound files that Sirius uses sound like they are of less quality than what I got on XM, plus there are numerous digital “glitches” in some of the recordings (most people probably don’t notice, but it drives me bonkers). And the signal is less steady than XM, with lots of drop-outs.
So I was all ready to switch back to XM when the free trial ends, but THEN they announce that XM and Sirius want to merge. What is that about? Why would XM radio want to saddle itself with all that debt that Sirius took on by giving Howard Stern $500 million dollars? (Come to think of it, that could pay for a whole lot of DJs on the other stations...). What happened to the good old days when a company is consistently losing money like Sirius is, and they GO OUT OF BUSINESS, instead of being merged with the competition? Oh well, I guess it is the American way, merge and shuffle the numbers to protect the guilty...
Meanwhile, has anyone bought a CD lately? Can you find a store that still sells more than the TOP 30 of what you don’t really want to listen to anyway? Since December after Tower closed, I have purchased all my albums on Itunes, burned them and printed out the cover art – it is simple, fast, and cheaper. The times have changed, and will continue to do so.