I became so fed up with the horrible situation of radio here that I actually took a significant step in alleviating my pain. I cut my ears off. Actually, I bought Sirius satellite radio. Sirius the second-to-market competitor to XM radio, which I don’t know much about, except that it has some commercials, is stightly cheaper (per month), and has one less satellite beaming down on us (two).
I am going to say right now that Sirius has put a damper on my learning the German language. As I am going through the Pimsleur cd series, and only listen on my communte, it’s in direct conflict with 60 commercial free music stations (and 40 other stations doing different things).
I absolutely love Sirius. If a song comes on that I don’t enjoy, all I have to do is change stations. Generally they’re playing something pretty good within one or two tries, and there’s never a commercial, and the DeeJay’s don’t babble on endlessly. In fact, if you ride with me, and I have a buck fifty in my pocket, I’ll happily switch it to the FM band to see if there’s music playing…if there is, I’ll give you my $1.50, if not, you only pay me $1. I came up with the little wager the other evening when I wanted to get the traffic report, and between the two stations I checked for ten minutes, I never heard music or a traffic report. Eventually I went back to the satellite because it was too late to matter.
Of course it’s not perfect yet, but they are trying. My biggest peeve is that the email addresses they give all seem to go to the same place, whether you email Customer Support, Comments, or a DeeJay. Also, they are hooked on a few bands. The hard rock station notoriously overplays The Foofighters and Bush. But less so than the equivalent stations in Portland. And there are a lot of stations with no equivalent on our FM band.
So, here’s the details. You need an antenna, a receiver, and a head. The antenna mounts on the top of the car or on the trunk and is pretty low profile. The receiver is installed somewhere in my car, and handles the smarts. The head is the piece that has display and tuning. In my case it’s built into the stereo (I have a Kenwood after some jerk broke into my car and stole everything). Cost is on the order of $150-$250 installed for the unit, then $13/month for service. 100 stations, no babbling DJ’s, no commercials (on their in-house stations, some of the talk and such have them). And purportedly cd quality noise. I don’t know, I’m not that clean in the ears.
It’s great. Get it. Send a message to the radio station conglomerates that we’re fed up. Find a new solution. Enjoy music again. Oh, and sorry about the title of this article.