Sunday, February 05, 2006

Oh There Goes Gravity

I've had my XM Satellite Radio now for over a year, and I have used it so much that it has paid for itself. Beside being able to listen to every game of all of my favorite baseball teams, the variety of music or news programs I can listen to simply blows "free radio" out of the water. I rarely even listen to "free radio" any more, but when I do it is painful. Listening to local rock stations is like listening to a broken record (I thought I didn't care for Pink Floyd before, but now thanks to 105.9 "The Rock's" ultra-saturation of the same songs, they make me ill, as does the John Boy and Billy morning show, which last week--during one of my rare tune-ins--waded into the semantic nonsense involved in defending the difference between "domestic" and "international" calls in the White House wire-tap controversy. If I want to suffer through that tripe I can just tune into "America Right" on my XM). So, I'm basically locked into XM now, and I cannot imagine a world without it.

XM's only weakness is in its "TuneSelect" feature, which lets the listener store 20 artists (or songs); when one of them cues up on any XM station, the receiver prompts the listener to jump to that station. The TuneSelect feature is outstanding if there is a little-known blues song by some obscure Texas artist, for instance, that you want to hear again, but 20 artists seems a low number. What is worse is that XM only seems to play a limited number of songs of certain tuneselected artists. For example, I tuneselected Eminem for the duration of 2 or 3 months and heard only 3 or 4 different songs, but I had to listen to "When I'm Gone" about 20x more than any of the others. The same is not true for some of the other artists I tuneselected, but when it comes to Eminem, I feel like I'm listening to "free radio's" signature redundancy.

That's not a deal killer for me. XM still rules my airwaves.

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