Sirius satellite radio is sometimes compared to cable TV, and in a way that comparison is valid. While cable opened up new channels, new programming, and eventually channels that could go around the censorship imposed by networks, satellite radio has to be received via subscription, and so has independent shows. Like the best of cable channels, many boast no commercials. One of Sirius’ favorite advertisements is the claim of “100% commercial free music, " which is made possible because of the monthly subscriptions paid by users.
Sirius satellite radio was previously known as CD radio, but changed their name in 1999. The way Sirius works is that there are three satellites in a constant orbit above North America to ensure coverage, and as of this writing Sirius provided a minimum of 69 different channels for music, and another 60 for sports, news, entertainment and other miscellaneous channels. Business wise, they work very much like cable. There are monthly subscriptions, low activation fees, and even a one time ‘rate for a lifetime’ subscription (around $500 as of this article).
While to some it seems like all these advertisements on television for Sirius Satellite Radio may have come from nowhere, in fact this company is based on a steady and smart business philosophy that has allowed them to grow rapidly. One of the main strategies to attract people to this new technology has been to obtain contractual deals with some big-name entertainers, both in music and in other subjects. For example, Martha Stewart and Lance Armstrong are both signed on Sirius Satellite Radio. One channel caters to the domestic crowd, the other to sports. These two shows bring in two different demographics of people, both of which will hopefully find enough other channels they like to keep re-subscribing.
Big name musicians often have their own shows. Jimmy Buffett, Bruce Springsteen, and the Rolling Stones are just a few of the major examples of stars who have their own shows or specials. In addition to this, it has also created specific niche channels like “Underground Garage" for garage rock, and “Outlaw Country" for alternative country music. This helps bring in the niche groups that may have smaller, but much more devoted, followings.
Of course nothing compared to the historical deal that Howard Stern signed which made headlines and forced his millions of listeners to grab a subscription to continue to listen to his show, something that millions were apparently ready to do. This huge shift has resulted in a giant base of listeners that guarantees that this is not a flash in the pan advance like the 8-track, but is a form of radio entertainment that is around to stay. For those who haven't tried it, Sirius Satellite radio has a wide variety of channels for just about everyone, and it might just be time to see what it has to offer you.
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