Joe G

Sirius Radio

81 posts in this topic

I've been mulling over whether to get Satellite radio.......I have Directv and they now play XM radio....I enjoy it- I play it through my stereo so in essence I have satellite radio in my home.

The only radio I listen to is my local PBS station (which has a great jazz program every evening), local sports talk radio, and local college basketball games such as University of Richmond and VCU and other local college sports. Other times I listen to CDs.

I don't listen to Clear Channel stations since they laid waste to the Richmond VA market a few years ago.

I would get XM over Sirius because of MLB and ACC sports.....I love listening to baseball games on the radio and the chance to listen to Vin Scully call a game without anyone else in the booth is a treat. I'm a Phillies fan and I like to listen to Harry Kalas- he's my favorite.

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Most of you probably don't know this but I worked at XM for the Real Jazz channel so I have the inside scoop on how things work there. Yes, Real Jazz, despite its name is basically the classics (though not inclusive of a lot of the stuff you guys here consider classics). You will hear plenty of Kenny Burrell and Grant Green, but no Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, or even Mal Waldron.

The bottom line is that even though they are a premium pay service with the possibility of a wide range of programming catering to many tastes, the tiny demographic of individuals who want to listen to Cecil Taylor (and actually have the money to pay $13 a month for it) is way too small to justify their time and money on spending a salary on an individual who knows jazz well enough to program the full picture.

The guy who basically runs Real Jazz is just one guy who has one helper who does the other half of the playlist compiling and voice tracking (they have so little time on their hands that they only voice track every 5 songs or so and they don't even list sidemen or songnames - just who played and in what order). The head guy Maxx Myrick comes from a commercial radio background and to my knowledge, he only did jazz radio for a short time before he was hired by XM (specifically sought out by an old friend from commercial radio who had a R&B/Soul/Hip-Hop background who is the head of music programming). But he was hired for his silky smooth suave radio voice and knowledge of how to program for an audience that is easily satisfied.

The way they seem to think about "real jazz" is very much influenced by Wynton Marsalis' conception of what real jazz is - something that is based on the blues, and that swings - lots of Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Monk, Miles, and Trane (but nothing post-1962). In fact, as one of XM's artist proselytizers, Wynton certainly has a lot of sway when it comes to programming on XM - he is frequently a host of a show called "People Who Can Play" and while this show has put the spotlight on people like Renee Rosnes, Bruce Barth, Steve Wilson and several others outside of Wynton's inner circle, it tends to focus on members of the LCJO.

Very recently the XM Real Jazz studios were moved from the DC headquarters where I worked for them, to the facility of Jazz at Lincoln Center, where they can do a lot more artist interviews and live broadcasts from the "House of Swing," which is apparently what they are calling the facility in the Time Warner building.

My impression is that given XM's policy of doing all the nitty-gritty work in-house usually with ONLY 1 or 2 staff members running each station, versus Sirius' policy of contracting much of the the voice-tracking and playlist compiling out to radio "talent" across the country, XM is not able to keep their programming new and fresh. If you look at it in terms of who is getting more of the new music like Eldar and all the new Blue Note Connoisseurs and all that on the air in a timely manner (or even at all), Sirius is consistently getting it done quicker and thus their programming reflects both the old and the new. I have to give credit to Matt Abramovitz (whose background in jazz radio before being drafted by Sirius was as a host on WBGO) for keeping abreast of the new stuff and adding it to his rotation. For instance, right now or at least a week or two ago, I heard the brand new Robert Glasper CD on Sirius but I asked the Real Jazz guys if they were playing it, and they said they had not yet had time to listen to it with the move and all that's going on with holiday programming. Fortunately to their credit, now some of their content is live DJing rather than all prerecorded (which was the case when I was working there two summers ago and still is the case for many of the channels).

The XM modern jazz station (which is a mix of modern Dave Holland type stuff all the way back to Return to Forever and Weather Report) run by Russ Davis (a veteran jazz radio programmer) has a larger staff in NY and has always been a bit more on top of its act. Hats off to him for all the interviews he does and his ability to always have the new stuff in rotation. However, he is a guy who is obsessed with fusione and a lot of his programming is devoted to jammy acid-jazz groups and Metheny stuff that IMHO dumbs things down considerably.

Sirius' market share right now is very very small compared to XM who had their game plan laid out earlier and had the investors and the team assembled to move on their plan before Sirius did. I am eagerly awaiting the fate of Sirius after the 1st of the year when Sirius starts broadcasting Howard Stern. Will it be enough to boost them to the status of XM (which still hasn't broken even itself). All this despite the fact that Sirius' programming content is much fresher and more together/varied with multiple hosts in its music programming. You all should know that what Stern gets in one year (100 million), all the other 90 or so channels at Sirius get HALF OF (i.e. 50 million) to split amongst themselves. Obviously this is very very inequitable and might do Sirius' other programming in. Thus Stern is a BIG gamble for Sirius.

Hope this perspective helps you guys understand things a little better.

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I can't believe anyone would pay that idiot $1 million a year, much less $100 million. It definitely doesn't help the common notion that we (the general American public) are stupid. Unless of course he tanks, and then the company will look mighty stupid.

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Thanks for that insight, c-a!

I have two friends who have XM, and they both love it. I don't know anyone who has Sirius.

Maybe next year will be the satellite radio Christmas, just as the past two years have been the iPod Christmas.

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Thanks for the insight, C-A. I listen to the XM jazz station regularly and you pretty much nailed it (although I have heard Ornette now and then :D ).

I have xm radio in my kitchen, which tends to be the hub of the house and the radio is always on. The jazz programming is OK, partiularly when compared to the public radio alternative which heavily focuses on vocals and guitar- trio-mellow-jazz-at-work selections.

Baseball on xm, plus the news channels (Bob Edwards etc) pushes it past the tipping point for me--I'm very happy with it.

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not to change the subject too much - but IS there a decent internet/radio source for contemporary jazz/new music/avant garde/etc and I mean cutting edge new stuff that isn't the SOS?

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my radio show. I play everything from the two new Sunny Murrays to Ben Monder to all the new Emanem (especially anything by Paul Rutherford).

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Took the plunge.

Installed it out in my driveway. (Nothing like a rainy day in Buffalo in December to run a chill right through you)

Activated it.

Groovin' :cool:

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chris

did they charge you a fee to re-activate your membership with sirius?

jeff

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chris

did they charge you a fee to re-activate your membership with sirius?

jeff

Yep, I think it was $15. They treated it like it was a new activation.

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img1220583.jpg

i need this....

:)

i wonder will sirius allow people to try the 3 day trial, the week stern starts up?

Edited by Soulstation1

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howard starts up tomorrow

stern has something like 32 million shares of sirius stock

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I shoulldn't hav e to repeat myself here, but for a modest fee, as low as 3.65 a month, Radio365 on the Internet has more jazz on it than you have time to listen. Scans the complete spectrum of jazz from vintage stuff to ultra modern. I think they have trial periods as well. :huh:

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Any news on how Stern was this morning? I actually woke up at 6 to listen to it, only to find out talk stations, such as Howard, arent available with online listening, even for subscribers.

Bummer.

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Any news on how Stern was this morning? I actually woke up at 6 to listen to it, only to find out talk stations, such as Howard, arent available with online listening, even for subscribers.

Bummer.

I heard he was quite daring, there was a lot of talk about sex and bodily functions. I haven't verified this yet, but I think he might have also said "fucking." Sheer genius!

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Any news on how Stern was this morning? I actually woke up at 6 to listen to it, only to find out talk stations, such as Howard, arent available with online listening, even for subscribers.

Bummer.

If you enjoy the Stern show, it was pretty much like a regular Stern show, with a couple of swear words thrown in. He did say this morning that they are working on having the show available for online listeners. That will occur sometime in the near future, though no timetable was given. Also, the show is repeated at 9PM on the east coast. There are separate feeds on Howard 101 for the west coast.

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