The Merger Proves It … Satellite Radio Is A Gimmick, Not A Format

Sirius and XM plan to merge. Details are coming out today. Snore.

I have to put this in my “uncategorized” category because it isn’t really about anything Podcasting (profitable or otherwise) – other than a complete and total validation of it.

When you go into business, you need to ask yourself a simple question:

Who are you competitors?

If you don’t have any, you need to ask yourself this simple question:

What does everyone else on the planet know that I don’t?

When satellite radio emerged, I never “got it.” If you’re gonna pay for new technology and pay for content, why pay to have someone else choose what you’re gonna listen to (and when you’re going to listen to it)? Yes, you got a few gazillion channels, and a few less commercials, but it is still someone else choosing your content for you.

If I wanted that, I can listen to normal radio and not pay for Howard Stern’s retirement fund. Yes, I’ll have a few hundred less channels of garbage and won’t have a cool readout that tells me what garbage they’re forcing down my throat but I’ll also also be twelve bucks better for it each month (which, by the way, is more than pretty much every music subscription service out there).

Yes, the whole “what if I’m someplace that I can’t get radio?” thing – to me that’s kinda like asking “what if I’m someplace where they don’t make me pay taxes?” kinda thing. Count your blessings and do something about it.

Satellite radio is a gimmick – something for people who just want to turn a knob and know that some noise is going to come out. It might be a familiar noise, but it is noise none the less.

It is not a format. I’ve grilled everyone I’ve know, all 4 of them, who have purchased Satellite Radio and have received the following responses

My son bought it for me for Christmas.

I can listen to Howard Stern again.

It came with the car.

and, my personal favorite …

I want to be able to listen to Podcasts.

The future of media ain’t satellite. The future of media is

the content I want

(not type of content, but the actual content)

when I want to consume it

(yup, you can get Stern now whenever you want – as long as you turn on your radio at the right moment)

where I want to consume it

(yes, I can get it in the middle of the country – but I’m in an airplane much more than I’m in Kansas (don’t get me wrong – I’d prefer to be in Kansas))

on the device I want to consume it on

Them Satellite Radio boxes sure are cute, aren’t they?

Satellite radio didn’t get a single one of these right. They have no means to do so – and they never will. It is not the future of anything. It is a gimmick that a chunk of people will sign up for … sure enough.

And Stern will retire a very rich man as a result.

Just don’t call it an industry.

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