Thursday, January 8, 2009

Satellite Radio Needs To Change It's MO

By Allen Bacon, Editor, The Daily Bosco

Last week I heard a familiar voice in an odd place.

Howard Stern was on a terrestial radio station promoting XM/Sirius Satellite radio in a commercial. Initially, I found that a little curious and odd. Isn't he supposed to be burying regular radio about now? Weren't we all supposed to have satellite radio receivers at this point?

This little oddity is not so curious when you consider the fact that the congolmerate of XM/Sirius Satellite is about a billion dollars in debt according to some sources. They may be going to Capitol Hill real soon for a bailout request.

As I stated in a piece last year when XM and Sirius merged, I absolutely love the product. I was on a flight from the East Coast last July and I didn't seem to mind that they didn't have an inflight movie...I had XM Satellite radio. I was listening to live baseball...all games going at the time I was the air.

But the model needs to change. Just charging a flat fee is not doing the trick apparently. Why can't the satellite radio market follow the same model as say, satellite or cable television. Fees are charged...and advertising is allowed or in the case of Public Radio private funding from individuals. Sure we don't like advertising, but it's probably going to be inevitable if satelite radio is going to be solvent and survive.

One thing I like about the way satellite radio does marketing is how they put their devices in new cars and when you buy a new car you have the opportunity to try the product. That was smart. Now, if you have a subscription to the service you also have the ability to get the programming over the internet...that's another smart move.

Remember satellite is just another way...a superior way in my opinion.. of transmitting audio information. Radio programming is also transmitted via the Internet too and thus through our i-phones and other like devices. The business models in these formats are working...why does Satellite Radio operate under a different model?

Re: Stern. He will be back to regular radio real soon, i'm guessing. His contract with Sirius/XM is up next year. He's lost audience. His stock is down. It's like Jay Leno said. Nobody is reciting excerpts from the morning's Howard Stern show around the water cooler at work anymore. Baba Booey is on hiatus.

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