This just in from the News That Will Seem Unbearably Quaint To Readers from the Year 2073™: satellite providers XM and Sirius have decided to merge. All four of you who have been reading since 2002 know how much I loved my very early adoption of XM Radio, and the company probably owes me about forty finder’s fees.
That said, XM and Sirius were like two unpopular kids in third grade who spent so much time fighting each other that they forgot about the bully. Sirius had Howard Stern, XM had Oprah; Sirius had all GM cars, and XM had me. Neither company made any money, and it always seemed like it was a matter of time before they both flickered off the dial like the midnight star-spangled-banner sign-offs of our early youth.
XM has kept me company for five years now, accompanied me on every road trip, and splashed the Taconic State Parkway with fabulous music. From 2002-2005, when all American news sources offered nothing but parroted talking points from our disastrous Administration, we listened to nothing but the BBC World Service. We caught Woody Durham on the ACC channel while driving through Wyoming. And my daily feast on XMU, Channel 43, has re-awoken cells of new music love that I’d thought long dead.
Sean listens to nothing but the Broadway Musical Theater Channel, but that’s because he likes backrubs and daisies.
Anyway, this is one merger that everyone should be psyched about: satellite radio lifts the shackles off your car stereo, and allows you to leave the iPod at home. It is a direct middle finger to Clear Channel and their lobotomized Top 40 playlists. There’s even a humor channel where you can say “fuck.”
I’ve been involved with companies that had great ideas before their time, and I suffered for it. I proposed schemes that had to wait ten years for the infrastructure to catch up. Websites make millions now from inklings a few of us were knocking around in 1996 – we became victims of a “can’t do that yet” culture, grew demoralized, and quit. Think about Ricochet, who blanketed a city with wireless internet in 1994, only to implode in 2001. Now over 200 American cities have municipal wireless.
I’m stoked to think that satellite radio was an idea whose time had come; few things are worse than falling in love with a technology run by people who can’t afford the french fries.