Sirius XM stock tanking

Howard Glazer
Thu Nov 20 12:28:55 EST 2008

----- Original Message -----
From: Larry Weil <>
To: Boston-Radio-Interest <>
Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 7:41 PM
Subject: Re: Sirius XM stock tanking

> At 4:48 PM -0600 11/19/08, Kevin Vahey wrote:
> >Sirius XM closed at .16 cents today.
> >
> >With nobody buying new cars theuir is little hope for growth.
> >
> >I suspect Sirius may close the NY studios and move everything to DC
> >simply to save on rent.
> They have already cancelled many of the channels that originated from
> New York, so now, as of last Wednesday, most of the music channels on
> Sirius are the same ones that were on XM.  And they managed to upset
> a number of their customers in the process, by making the changes
> without telling anyone.  Those who read the various blogs and boards
> such as and
> knew that the change was coming,
> but not the details.  So a lot of people got in their cars last
> Wednesday morning to find out their favorite channel had disappeared
> or been changed.  They are slowly restoring some of the programs that
> they got the most complaints about, Vin Scelsa resumed today on The
> Loft (Sirius 29, XM50).

Check for the many complaints of the XM subscribers.
Spanish-language music channels, which used to include tropical, reggaeton,
Latin love songs/oldies, and regional Mexican, have been slashed to only
one -- Caliente, a mainstream tropical channel of the sort that tops the
ratings in (surprise!) New York City, the center of Sirius' universe. Nobody
in NYC listens to that Mexican stuff, so nobody who matters does, right? The
fans of "old school" rap have lost their station. X Country, the Americana
station that aggressively promoted new artists, has been replaced by an
outlaw/trucker music channel that occasionally plays a Robert Earl Keen
song. The wide-ranging Vox, which played opera to Gregorian chant to lieder
to spirituals, has been replaced by a "name" channel, Metropolitan Opera,
which plays little else but live and recorded operas from the Met.

The biggest complaint everyone seems to have, though, is the way Sirius XM
corporate decided to Pearl Harbor its customer base with these changes
rather than let them know what's coming. I'd imagine that's just following
the FM playbook, in which stations just flip from oldies to hip-hop at noon
while the old staff cleans out its desks under the eyes of company
rent-a-cops. Personally, I'm fine with most of the changes -- we've got a
great country oldies channel now (Roadhouse) in place of America, which had
an unbecoming anti-mainstream Nashville slant, and the Underground Garage
and Margaritaville channels are eclectic delights -- but there is definitely
dissatisfaction from both sat-radio constituencies.

I'm wondering whether Sirius XM will be able to afford its two big-money
sports contracts -- MLB (which so far has not allowed its content to be made
available on the Sirius side) and NFL (which is available on the XM side for
an added fee) -- with money so tight, and how much the loss of either or
both will impact subscriber numbers. I think everyone agrees that both
companies overreached and overestimated the public's willingness to pay for
radio, a medium that just isn't an important part of Joe Sixpack's life,
unlike TV. Could a downsized, mostly-music Sirius XM survive as a tightly
focused niche product, or would Wall Street totally abandon it?


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