SiriuX Satellite Radio?

Satellite merger?As you’ve probably heard, Sirius and XM have announced plans to merge their two companies into one larger satellite radio provider. It’s still unclear at this point if regulators will allow it though.

CNN Money reports that both companies will need to seek shareholder approval, and with that done the new company would need FCC approval as well. Congress is also looking into the matter in the form of a review by the House Judiciary Committee. Committee Chairman John Conyers issued a statement recently about the planned review by an antitrust task force.

We are holding this hearing to allow members to probe whether this merger will enhance or diminish competition in the digital music distribution industry,

Just a few years ago, regulators rejected a similar proposed merger between satellite TV providers, DirecTV and DISH Network. It remains to be seen whether they will allow the merger of the only two providers of satellite radio.

Ultimately, it seems there will be only one satellite radio provider, either due to a merger or simply one or the other going out of business.

If the merger is allowed by regulators, the two companies plan to offer listeners an “a la carte” option as to which channels they subscribe to. This could be a nice feature for those wanting a limited number of stations and desiring not to have offensive channels such as the one carrying Howard Stern.

How this might affect the bluegrass listeners is yet to be determined. Based on this comment found on the XM website, it seems certain that there will be a combining of the bluegrass channels.

a merger would ultimately allow the new company to eliminate duplicative music programming and free up bandwidth

I know this sounds bad, but, if they were to retain the best of each (Sirius and XM) channel, the emerging bluegrass programing could be quite good. On the other hand, it will mean the cancellation of some shows, which is sure to upset fans of those shows. Sirius currently makes use of a large number of “part-time” bluegrass DJs recruited from among the ranks of professional bluegrass musicians. XM, on the other hand, leaves the majority of hosting duties in the hands of professional DJ, Kyle Cantrell. What balance would be struck between the two formats is unknown at this point.

One wonders how Sirius and XM subscribers feel about the impending shift in programing. Will the merger be a good thing for bluegrass fans? You tell me…

  • I don’t know anything about Sirius’ programming but I’ve had XM Radio since it’s beginning. The Bluegrass Junction is where I spend the most time. Kyle Cantrell is a very good interviewer! He always seems prepared for his guests and always seems to ask the right questions. The Studio Special show is very good!! While I doubt this merger will happen, I’d sure hate to lose this channel if it did. I also think that the balance of music and special shows is just right. Wouldn’t want to have a merger mess that up.

  • I look forward to the merger of Sirius and XM, especially if it means the Kyle Cantrell gets balanced by some of the people who are said to broadcast on Sirius. I liked XM better when Felton Pruitt was the bluegrass host, but I think Cantrell has been learning on the job. He seems to have become more open to progressive strands in bluegrass, while maintaining his basically conservative approach to programming with a heavy emphasis on the past. In his studio interviews, he often seems to be trying to learn how bluegrass has progressed and what directions it is moving. Maybe he should listen to his e-mail.

    Ned Luberecki, one of the Sirius hosts, is a regular on the Banjo Hangout and indicates a somewhat wider range of programming on Sirius. I’d like to hear more voices and more choices on XM, so the merger idea appeals to me. I’m comfortable with a mild disagreement with my e-friend Lowell. – Ted

  • I’ve never listened to Sirius’ bluegrass channel so I shouldn’t say I wouldn’t want its programming combined with XM’s Bluegrass Junction. I’d be interested in knowing about some of the “shows” that Ned and crew broadcast. I might like it and be more excited about the proposed merger. I can say for sure though that I would not want to lose Kyle or the Studio Special shows. The live music and conversation is very nice.

    If I want to hear music outside of the bluegrass box, I can find what I want elsewhere on XM. If not, I reach for the CD case that stays by my side everywhere I go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “traditionalist” and think that if it ain’t done a certain way, it ain’t real. I like it all. But I also like it categorized properly so that I’m not constantly changing channels to find what I’m looking for.

    Having said that, I’d like to see (hear) some old-time/mountain music occasionally and I think that would be a good compliment to any “bluegrass” channel. I need my clawhammer fix now and again! Anything like that on Sirius?

    Still, I doubt the merger will happen. If it does, we should expect a monthly premium hike soon after.

    Ted, we can’t always be on the same page! See you soon my friend.


  • Like the others who have posted on this subject, I have only one perspective on the proposed satellite radio merger. I have been a Sirius subscriber for about two years.

    Sirius has 18 hours a day (12 hours on weekends) of hosted programing, they make it sound as if it is real radio. Most but not all, songs get a verbal introduction. The hosts, Chris Jones, Ned Lubericki, and Joey Black are knowledgeable and very informative.

    The programing covers Bluegrass from 1946 to the present. The main focus is on current material, but you can expect to hear Monroe, Stanley of Martin at least every hour.

    They have started to air some speciality programming recently.
    Del McCoury has one hour each week where he Plays “what ever he wants” always good music with great commentary. Chris has an “oldies” program weekly featuring Bluegrass from the 1970’s back, and Ned has just started a program witch features the more progressive sounds.