I have had the XM-Sirius radio service for a number of years now. In this review I want to share with you all, what I like and dislike about the service; and what I view as the strengths and weaknesses of XM-Sirius. I hope this will enable you to make a decision on whether or not to subscribe to XM Sirius programming.
This article is not about investing in the company and it is not meant to be a rant or a rave, but what I hope will an even handed review of the service.
This is where XM Sirius does a very good job. In fact, if all you want is music then that alone in my opinion is enough to warrant getting XM Sirius. XM Sirius has a number of general music channels and some very narrow music channels and they have done a very good job of providing a decent variety of focus. The focus can be by decade, by genre, a mix of styles, and by specific band or artist.
The problem is you only have so many programs on your radio so you start to identify islands of music channels and program one channel from the island and surf up or down to get the rest. XM Sirius does a fairly good job of identifying what those islands may be and groups channels accordingly. For example, Bluegrass Junction is islanded off with the rest of the Country music channel lineup.
I will not say there is no advertising, but it is extremely limited and often restricted to a prattling DJ talking about an event between tunes.
Not what I had hoped for. The sports broadcasting is irregular and not very dependable. I have no problem getting pro football and baseball on traditional radio, but college sports is more tricky. Usually I can get Big 10 football and basketball, but it is far from dependable and that is a let down.
NFL is premium content and yes, you pay extra for it. MLB though is part of the base package and when it works it is good, they use the home team’s broadcast team so if you are a baseball fan you can get to hear more than your team’s broadcast team, which I find interesting.
You will get home-team advertising with the sports content.
News and Talk
I know you can get MSNBC and FOX News live. I usually listen to one news show during the day and that comes with advertising, which is expected since the source material breaks out for advertising. The downside is a fair amount of news depends on visual graphics or visuals and that can detract.
I don’t listen to talk radio on XM-Sirius the talkers I like to listen to are either local or just not on XM-Sirius.
One thing carried by XM-Sirius not regularly carried by any radio station is they have about 5 comedy channels. What a refreshing idea and I listen to one of them regularly. Note, the comedy is typical stand up comedy and so yes, it often dips into adult themes; and the comedy channels do have advertising.
I listen primarily to the Blue Collar Comedy channel, but can’t really figure out what qualifies as “Blue Collar Comedy” as the comedians are from all over and address all sorts of topics. So as I said you may have a routine centered on big-time adult themes and then Ray Romano comes on talking about raising his son. You wil regularly hear Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy, and Jeff Foxworthy. However, there are many comedians represented and is well worth at least an occasional listen too.
No Political Ads
So far, I can say I have heard no political ads. This is a Godsend because I really hate to hear those ads from NOT-MY-PARTY and tolerate those ads from MY-PARTY. Right now in WI I can hardly turn on any over-the-air radio station without hearing from NOT-MY-PARTY and as soon as that is over, they’ll all be getting ready to gear up for 2012.
I suspect as the national election heats up in 2012, we’ll hear some national campaigns advertising.
Be warned with sports, the home team broadcasts are used straight up (at least for baseball) and political ads can creep in that way. However, XM Sirius is mostly political ad-free.
On the Whole
I like XM Sirius radio and really can’t imagine what I would do without it.