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Satellite Radio on All Things Considered

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 6:00 am
by CharlieSummers
ATC did a story this evening on how much "trouble" satellite radio is in. There was a long list of radio personalities and companies who have signed with the two systems. Guess who wasn't mentioned?

I'd send them email to complain about the omission, but they don't accept email, and I don't jump through their web-based hoops.

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 11:27 pm
by tps
They just don't get it, so they? Many are predicting doom and gloom for satellite radio, probably largely as a result of the "Howard" effect. Howard did great at raising industry and brand awareness, but some are now realizing that Howard is trading on a lot of hype. IMHO, this is souring Wall Street on satellite radio in general.

What they don't understand is that satellites are absolutely the most efficient way to provide broadcast service over a large geographic area; nothing else comes even close. Arthur C. Clarke understood this perfectly when he first proposed satellite brodcasting in the 1940's. The geostaionary arc that encircles the equator, in which most communications satellites are located, is named the Clarke Belt in his honor.

My fear is not that satellite radio will fail, but that it will succeed, just as national satellite distribution of television began to do 20 years ago. Satellite television distribution dramatically reduced the cost of delivering nationwide television and brought with it a flood of infomercials. My fear is that once satellite radio is termed a success, it will be taken over by the same type of mindless drivel that is delivered to our televisions daily.

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:02 am
by CharlieSummers
tps wrote:My fear is that once satellite radio is termed a success, it will be taken over by the same type of mindless drivel that is delivered to our televisions daily.
As someone who has collected Old-Time Radio for more decades than I like to think about, I'm not terribly worried about that. Truthfully, radio in the 1940's wasn't really any different from television today...there were a handful of excellent programs on at any given time, a smattering of the truly awful, and the rest pretty average...ok for a quick escape, but hardly memerable. (And yes, there were infomercials even as early as the late 1920's.)

Today on television, there are a handful of excellent programs (although our lists may differ, I'll propose 24, Lost, and Grey's Anatomy with maybe an honorable mention to House), some really terrible programs (Rodney, The Amazing Race), and the rest rather forgettable.

I don't think satrad is any different; right now, you're right that the two services are squaring off against each other racing for content, while the terrestrial radio companies (including NPR) scoff at those "foolish" enough to pre-pay for radio (terrestrial public radio could only dream about pulling in this kind of income!) and the companies that provide it. Once it is a success (and I can't see any way it won't succeed, even if the existing two companies folded tomorrow), we'll have a few programs that are excellent, a handful that are awful (Howard Stern/Opie and Anthony might eventually typify this category?), and a whole lot of stuff that is mediocre. The great thing about cable television, or satellite radio, is you don't need to watch the Don Lapre-style "get-rich-quick" scammers, you can turn the channel and find something more satisfying.