Incorporated in 1992, XM satellite radio now has 6 million subscribers across the country. With the biggest, most extensive radio station in the United States, they are based in Washington, DC, and utilize three satellites. With 21 channels alone devoted to traffic and weather updates, 30 channels of news, sports and entertainment, and a playlist of more than 2 million songs, XM entertains, informs and educates its listeners. XM also offers 69 music separate networks.
With XM subscribers can tune into more than 5,000 live sporting events yearly, including major league baseball, National Hockey League games, NASCAR, PGA, and college football and basketball from the ACC and the Big Ten. XM also has a diverse range of talk shows, with popular hosts including Ellen DeGeneres, Al Franken, Jerry Springer and more. Subscribers can listen to XM anywhere without having to use a radio, as the company offers an online streaming service that’s available wherever customers have an Internet connection. This service is part of the standard XM subscription. All XM music is totally commercial free – non-stop radio, with no interruptions.
Part of the XM attraction is that the company offers music programs, talk shows and interviews subscribers can’t find anywhere else. They feature an impressive array of channels: Radio Disney, ESPN Radio, Soul Street, XM Comedy, FOX News, The 60s, Major League Baseball, XM Instant Traffic and Weather, and Nashville! XM offers a total of 160 digital radio channels, 24 hours a day. With digital radio, listeners get CD-quality sound in their cars, at home and at work – just about anywhere.
A special Web site called XMTestDrive.com can help subscribers choose the channels they want and features a comprehensive list of shows, categories of music, and recommendations to suit any taste. XM radio is now expanding its presence. It’s currently available through Direct TV, as part of most of their programming packages. Recently, United Airlines added XM to its menu of onboard entertainment offerings. For a limited time, as part of a special promotion, the airline will now offer customers 19 commercial-free XM radio music channels for entertainment during their flights. XM radio has also partnered with General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Volkswagen/Audi to deliver satellite radio service in new cars beginning this year.
Current XM radio highlights include the Artist Confidential Series – an intimate program of music and interviews with great performers like Joan Baez, Paul McCartney, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Plant, and Coldplay. Tom Petty hosts his own radio show, Tom Petty’s Buried Treasures, each week from his home in Los Angeles. The Classical Confidential series features top classical performers like Joshua Bell and Cecilia Bartoli, with live music and interviews. New programs planned for the future include Oprah & Friends, which will debut in September. The talk show will feature special guests from Oprah’s TV show and cover timely topics, including fitness, health, relationships, family, nutrition and home. Bob Dylan has also signed on to XM and should start dee-jaying his own show in May.