When it comes to satellite radio services, the situation in United States is pretty similar to the satellite TV market where there are two major service providers involved in the business – XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. Sirius’s original programming originates from its studios in New York, while XM Radio’s studios are based in Washington, D.C. There are rumors and news about the possibility of merging between these two satellite radio providers but no solid news had been released at the date of writing.
Both XM and Sirius charge their customers on monthly basis. Individual users normally pay not more than $15 per month to enjoy hundred of radio programming; while business owners need to pay more (about $25/mo for Sirius) in case they wish to use the radio channels as their business background music (a café for example). Since year 2005, Sirius offers a one time fee of nearly $500 valid for the lifetime of the equipments.
As for their popularity, XM claimed that they got more than 7.6 million of subscribers at the beginning of year 2007; Sirius on the other side claimed 6 million subscribers. A critical strategy that brings success to satellite radio provider is that they partnered up with auto-makers. Satellite radio equipments are offered as original equipments in the car model. BMW, MINI, Mercedes, FORD, Honda, and many more are now the sole partners for Sirius Satellite Radio on the expansions.
What’s so great about satellite radio services?
Despite the monthly subscription fees, satellite radio comes in a few advantages that conventional AM/FM radio that cannot compete. One of the major plus points with satellite radio service is that most of the music stations are free of irritating commercial breaks. As satellite radio providers run their business via user’s subscription fees, the bulk of the income source from the listeners, not the advertisers. Thus, satellite radio providers manage to provide a great number of commercial-free music channels in their package.
Besides commercial-free channels, satellite radio also stand in front of AM/FM radio as they provide the best sound quality in radio broadcasting. AM/FM reception is often interrupted by weak signals, which then influence the quality of the sounds. Such problem will not happen with satellite radio as the signals are static-free.
Also, satellite radio is highly portable, which means the same satellite radio shows can be listened with your Hi-Fi in your living room, or the boombox in your car, or even on your personal computer with Internet connection.
On top of all these reasons, satellite radio also stands out with its uncensored radio shows. Currently both Sirius and XM are offering quite a few 100% uncensored radio programming, which for sure you cannot get with the ordinary AM/FM radios. And before you ask, yes, you will get Howard Stern’s show with satellite radio (Sirius Satellites).