This is important...
Forgive me for reposting some of this, but I feel so strongly about this that I feel compelled to get the word out as much as I can. I believe that Sirius management is making a grave mistake with some of their recent firings and programming decisions. They are in the process of killing all that is special about XM, and I believe it has the potential to cause massive churn and hinder future growth! Management needs to take a pay cut before cutting some of these people and programing. Email and phone Sirius and raise some hell people!
Oh my God!
I just can't believe it!
I was just doing a little more research and this is not good......
Scott Walterman, XM's senior director of news programming and host of The Morning Briefing on POTUS '08 is being fired by Sirius and will be leaving in just a few days! This is horrible! He is the best thing about POTUS '08! My mom listens to him every morning on her way to work and loves listening to him! He is everything that is great about radio! I am disgusted with what Sirius management is doing! First I find out about Beyond Jazz getting canned and now this? It's one thing to lose all my money in this stock, but now they are taking my favorite programming away! My moms too! I feel like Sirius management is kicking me in my stomach......
This BS has got to stop right now!
Please call and email SIRIUS and raise some hell NOW!
Current position: Senior Director of News Programming, XM Satellite Radio.
Wow. It's over. Can you believe it? Great stuff. I love the fact that this election engerized people.
I'm so happy that this thing is done. I'm in the final few days of my employment at XM. I'll be leaving XM on November 15th.
This is not my decision, I'm not going to be retained by the newly merged company. I'm not sure yet what my last day on the air will be, it could be Tuesday November 11th - that decision should come soon I'm told. Stay tuned for updates.
I have loved being with you every morning and have loved being at XM. When we arrived in 2001, we really set out to change the world. For a while in the begining we walked the Earth as giants. Those days are gone, but the people I met and the opportunity I was given was one of the most wonderful experiences of my career.
Please feel free to hit the contact me button and send me an email. I'd love to hear from you. [email protected]
This is the kind of employee XM needs to keep.....I don't give a shit if Mel has to take a pay cut. This is BS!
I've been in the radio and television news business since I was in high school. Since the mid-70's I have worked for some of the biggest and most respected names in news including ABC, CBS, NBC, RKO and some of the biggest local stations in the nation including WOR in New York and WTVJ in Miami. I've been at XM Satellite Radio since 2001 and am currently Senior Director of News Programming and host of the morning show on XM channel 130, POTUS 08 - 24/7 coverage of the 2008 Presidential election.
I grew up in Miami. When I first got into broadcasting the technology we used was - well you might not believe it - but there were no computers, we still used film and our news stories moved over wire machines from which we would use manual typewriters to create scripts using paper with carbon between the sheets to produce multiple copies.
I've seen a lot of stuff happen between then and now. Today, as you know, you can do on your own personal computer what it took our entire staff to create.
The first station I ever worked at was WCIX TV in Miami. It's now been renamed WFOR-TV and is owned by CBS. At the time I was there (in the mid-1970's) it was an independant station on Brickell Avenue in Downtown Miami. A round building, which made for interesting studio space.
We used 16 mm film to capture the news. It had to be brought back to the station to be developed. You've probably heard the line "film at 11." (we actually did a 10pm newscast at WCIX).
I remember the first time I ever shot film. It was a brush fire in western Dade County. They gave me a Bell and Howell silent camera (no magnetic strip and no way to record sound). I came back to the station with some great pictures - had the film developed - and turns out that I shot the stuff upside down. Because we recorded sound on a mag strip on one side of the film - there were only sprocket holes on the other side. They made me sit there and punch holes in that side so we could run the film on the air. Never did that again.
Today, you don't even use video tape. We haven't used tape of any kind for years. It's all flash cards and hard disc storage. Hard to imagine what it was even like back in the day.
XM has had a news department since the very first day. We've tried to be different than other news organizations - bringing you events as they happen and in total without commentary.
I don't know what the future of XM News will be in the newly merged company. Many of the people who helped create the brand and the product are being let go.
I'm so proud of what we were able to do in the past eight years - with virtually no staff and hardly any budget.
I had so much fun being a part of it I would do it all over again even knowing that I would be fired at the end.
Someone on XMFAN emailed Scott Walterman and got back a reply from him today....
I sent an email to Scott thanking him and the others for the great
work that they have done.
Here was his response.
Thanks so much. I've loved being part of this. All the fights with management, defending my vision for the channel, the 20 hour days, all the bad stuff just melts away when I hear from you.
POTUS will be staying on the air (in name anyway), but Tim, Rebecca, Adrienne and I have been fired. I don't know what they have planned - I've not been a part of the new management team at all.
Thanks again so much for your kind words - be well.
Please help save Beyond Jazz!
I can't believe that Beyond Jazz on XM is slated to go off the air in just a few days....
It's my favorite channel. I listen to it several hours a day. It's great background music while I'm working. I discover lots of cool new music too. I don't know what I'm going to do now.
What are they thinking? It's a whole major genre of music! Get rid of one of the country or rock channels or something. Modern jazz is a vibrant style of music that is being produced NOW!
If they start gutting the variety and deeper playlists, Sirius/XM is going to resemble terrestrial radio without the commercials and terrestrial radio sucks! They have already gotten rid of the punk channel. This is BS!
Please email and call SIRIUS/XM and plead with them to keep Beyond Jazz! Tell them you want variety and deeper playlists. Tell them want the music to be programmed by DJ's who are passionate about the music.......
Please help save the music.............
Please help save Beyond Jazz!
Please help save the deeper playlists!
Please help save the discovery of forgotten music!
Sirius already canned their modern jazz channel, Plant Jazz, awhile back already. I'm also hearing that The Village, XM's folk channel, is slated to go too...
I'm really worried about the deeper playlists on the XM decade channels becoming more like the SIRI decade channels, which play it too safe with mostly top 10 songs I've already heard a million times...
How can there be music discovery with playlists that only focus on the overplayed hits?
Here is a post on Beyond Jazz's Michelle Sammartino's MySpace blog that speaks of the channel's demise.....this is sad.
A note from Michelle
Current mood: sad
Well folks, I know a lot of you have been asking what is going on, why was I laid off, what will become of the channel and Russ etc etc. I now have some answers for you… and I am ready to talk about them. Admittedly it took me some time to decompress and adjust to no longer being a part of the one thing that I sunk every bit of my time, passion and effort into for the last seven years.
Before I get into the sad part of this, let me preface it by filling you all in on how it all began for me.
I interviewed for XM Satellite Radio on September 11th 2001… the day the planes hit those buildings. It was not only a day that changed the USA, but it changed my life completely. I began what would be the best point of my career thus far. Never in my life have I enjoyed a job more, and I have always spent my time in jobs that I liked. That was something I made sure of, to follow a career path and to make sure that if I was going to do something for over 50 hrs a week, I better damn well like it.
I loved XM. I loved their philosophy, their passion for music and quality programming, choice, commercial free uninterrupted music. I loved that they were on a cutting edge of technology and I was fortunate enough to work alongside some of the most brilliant people I will ever have the opportunity to work with. I watched this service go from no satellites, watched them launch them, watched the subscriber base grow, helped grassroots word of mouth growth and essentially felt like I was making the world a better place, through exposing this incredible music to the masses.
I enjoyed every day. I loved the people I met. The musicians. Their stories. I loved the music I was exposed to. I LOVED helping unknown bands with a passion for jazz get played to the widest audience they could ever possibly imagine being exposed to… simply by sending me a copy of their CD in the good ol US Mail.
It was the most rewarding and selfless "job" I could ever imagine. I could not believe how fortunate I was and was thankful every day for it.
Then there was merger talk. Merger talks with the rival we grew to hate just because they were our only competition and we needed that rivalry. And it was that way from the start. We always knew we were the better company. I can not speak for other XMers but I felt betrayed with the thought of a merger with THEM! How could we be negotiating with the enemy! We always had more subscribers, we always had better content, better programming, better technology, better products, better talent. Who cares that they could (NOT) afford to pay Howard Stern's ridiculous salary, so much damn money yet they won him anyway! STUPID! His programming is trash… all T&A and the same thing regurgitated day after day. How many tits can you guess are implants or not in one week? Ugh! This is what they chose to spend their money on. They canned their Modern Jazz channel for a Grateful Dead channel. A band that stopped making music in the 90's. Modern Jazz is STILL being made every day. Sixty years of incredible improvisational music unrepresented on their service… and now ours. Unacceptable! We are talking Miles here… among SO many others.
I could not believe we were seriously merging. Our CEO bailed on us. Ok, his wife was ill and I understand family coming first. But then people started leaving in droves, as if they gave up the ship. Lee Abrams… gone. Eric Logan… gone. The people finally left in charge were essentially there to do the "handoff". The writing was on the wall a long time ago. But the merger took so long we truly missed our window of opportunity to be competitive. A year and a half later and here we are… struggling… and in the midst of what is now a hostile takeover and a recession. This is not a merger of equals… if it were there would be equal XMers to Sirius folks. It is not that way.
I was laid off unexpectedly on Oct 5th. It was a shock and I am still trying to recover. It is hard to shake off and let go of something that was my life. The channel is done Nov 14th and Russ is being laid off that day as well. 80 people in Programming (XM Programming) were laid off last week. It is over. The dream is over and the service is done.
I am not sure what else to say in this regard. I have no idea what this service will now be. I can honestly say I do not care at this point. I am moving on and so are so many others. Not by choice.
Russ Davis and I are planning to continue to work together in some capacity. STAY TUNED. I am working on JamminJazz.com and he has RussDavisMOJA.com. We are still deciding what we can and can not do with those sites. We would like to continue to provide you with the latest and greatest new and old and fusion music we know of…. Somehow.
So please stay in touch, and please stay with Beyond Jazz until the end. We promise to continue to make every day, every hour as good as it was… until they flick the switch. You can bet on that!
THANK YOU ALL for your devotion and support over the years, the channel would never have been what it was if it had not been for you. YOU are the reason we were the World's ONLY Modern Jazz Channel….
Onward and upward!
Thanks for listening!
Oh my God!
Now the Beyond Jazz program director, Russ Davis, who was just fired from XM along with Michelle Sammartino, the DJ that was just fired, have started their own website where they will have an internet radio station for all of the Beyond Jazz listeners to go when Beyond Jazz is taken off of the air in a few days. I just heard Russ Davis telling listeners to go there just now while I was listening to Beyond Jazz. It's kind of like when Howard Stern was telling his terrestrial radio listeners to follow him to Satellite radio! They even had the website displayed on the screen of my Inno. What the hell is SIRI management doing? What are they thinking? They have no idea how big of a mistake they are making by getting rid of Beyond Jazz and all of the other genre channels...
HEY! YO! Modern Jazz Lover…welcome to www.russdavismoja.com. This site is under construction and will be up and running in the very near future. We hope to make it a place where MoJa (modern jazz the way we see it) lives, breathes and evolves. We’ve got some cool stuff planned so bookmark it and stay in touch.
This is Russ Davis here, the former program director of XM satellite radio’s previous home of modern jazz, XM 72- Beyond Jazz, which was recently taken away from the system. My friend and associate on the channel, Michelle Sammartino, and I are very upset for you and all the folks who loved hearing this music on the channel, as well as, of course and primarily, the artists who finally had an outlet for their creative new take on jazz. Lastly, Michelle and I have put our hearts and souls into this and believe me it hurts. We’re not through yet, though, and below you’ll see some messages we’re putting out there about our feelings now and our look to the future. Please take note and thanks again so much for your love of the music and your support!
I want to talk about MoJa …if you’ve been a Beyond Jazz listener you know that MoJa means Modern Jazz as heard on the only channel that played the 5 + decades of jazz that cover the middle ground between smooth and traditional. It’s fusion, funk, acid jazz, techno, world jazz, the new jazz singers, nu-jazz, acid bebop, hip-hop jazz, jam-band jazz, nouveau swing and all the other forms that have come along as the music has progressed. I want to tell you that Michelle & I plan on making MoJaRadio a reality soon by transferring the programming of Beyond Jazz to a new website. Wish us luck and thanks again for caring!
Email us, say hello and we will keep you posted when we launch!
I got this post from today off of XMfan from someone who has been in touch with them....
"I emailed them both this AM and both have replied. Russ implied that there will soon be portable players for streaming internet radio in the car. From that, I'm guessing they plan some kind of continuation of XM72-type music on the internet. Both confirmed November 14th is the last day of the channel. Russ is still at XM until then, Michelle is already gone (but alive and well and answering email)."
I will join your fight against POTUS being cancelled and the firing of Scott. I sent an email about saving beyond jazz. I hope others help in your fight too.
Sorry about your mom being upset with this as well. I know my mom is 85 and they hate changes...especially foolish changes.
Thanks so much for your help! My mom listens to Scott every morning on her way to work and refers to him as her friend. When I told her he had been fired, she was so upset and wanted to cancel her XM subscription in protest. I'm having a hard time defending SIRI management lately when they are making such horrible decisions like this....
Thanks again for your help!
Are these changes due to cynergies to save money or just not enough listeners? what is your take for these upsetting changes?
The savings are minimal. This can't be about money.
Low listenership can't be the problem. Please read this ....
That leaves two possibilities.
1. Management is stupid.
2. Management is actively trying to destroy the company.
You choose which you believe.
btw, this thread only highlights a few of the tragedies. There is also the complete decimation of Channels 60 & 5.
I wanted to post some comments from XMFAN that speak of how upset people are about what is happening...
Killing Beyond Jazz = Killing The Whole Concept of SATRAD!!!
I've been so disgusted as a long time XM sub and fan of Beyond Jazz to hear it's been killed. I wrote the company and got no reply. How stupid can they be to actually foster their rapidly growing competion in internet radio by canning an entire huge broad genre channel and have Russ Davis starting his own internet radio station with the same format? Seems that more of us audiophile's will abandon SatRad in favor of Slacker, and other internet radio formats. I am sickened beyond belief that SATRAD is going so mainstream; to think that we can't have just ONE station to appeal to REAL musicians making REAL music, but instead we need 12 urban channels, 12 country hits, and 20 FM pop channels etc? Might as well listen to FM. So XM is basically now FM without commercials. Is XM Chill going to be next? Are they going to kill Fine Tuning? Where can I hear real fusion and all the many styles XM USED to have???? SICKENING.
While this title of this post may sound extreme, I was trying to illustrate the point that one of the biggest draws to having SatRad in the first place was to be able to hear and discover many different forms of music not CURRENTLY found on terrestrial radio, of which Beyond Jazz was a huge factor because they dug deeply into no less than 5 decades worth of many forms of jazz that you will NEVER hear on regular radio. Jazz is real music, made by real musicians, not the endless repetitive pop synth artists found on many of the other xm stations. It's a well known FACT that even all of these stations are already getting watered down, sounding more and more like terrestrial commercial BS radio. If killing Beyond Jazz leaves NO place on a PAY radio service where I can hear the thousands of artists that have been formerly heard, then YES it is equal to killing the original concept of hearing great real music you never would on regular radio. The same could be said for even the 70's channel as another good example. Prior to the merger, you could hear thousands of songs that haven't aired since the 70's, although they were hits back then. Now, they play ONLY the same hits (Black Water, More Than A Feeling etc) that we've heard ad nauseum on regular radio for years. That is precisely what I liked about SATRAD. But no more. Appeal to the masses and the lowest common denominator and screw guys like me who want to pay for something different and interesting.
Sad to hear. Scott and others at XM are the type of people Sirius should be keeping for the new merged company. Scott's love and dedication for what he does would continue to make great programming for the new company. What will POTUS be without him? Good job Sirius! I'm sorry to see Scott go.
POTUS was probably one of the most well-rounded and even-handed news channels I've ever listened to. Both sides are given equal opportunity to express their views and respond to the other. None of the hosts injected their "take" into the discussion but rather let listeners make up their own mind.
POTUS has the best political news coverage I have ever heard! It is a crying shame that they are firing everyone and dismantling it. It's the dumbest thing the management has done yet. Scott Walterman is what good radio is all about!
Well I'm not tame about this. Beyond Jazz is the channel I listen to 90% of the time. And Beyond Jazz really is going away. This was EXACTLY what I feared when the merger was announced. I was under the impression that Beyond Jazz was popular with the email reply hour and everything. Russ was always doing interviews with major artists and it just seemed to really be happening. Cmon people, START YELLING
When I first got XM in 2005, I was primarily a progressive rock and hard rock sort of guy. I somehow stumbled across Michelle's Jammin' Jazz, however, and was amazed to discover this entire area of music I never knew existed. It's been a fantastic ride - truly radio worth paying for. It's sickening to see Beyond Jazz tossed aside, but this has been one of my big fears since the merger was announced - the smaller niche channels are simply not going to survive.
Interestingly, I see Michelle's MySpace page says something to the effect of "Russ and I have plans. Stay tuned to see where we land." Anyone have any ideas? Where could they possibly be going together? I'd certainly follow them if I have the chance.
Nooooooooooooooooo!! Beyond Jazz is the singular reason I got satellite and I won't continue to pay for it when they take it off the air.
Russ and Michelle and all of the brilliant and amazing music they shared . . . everything is so exactly RIGHT about music on this channel, you know? Why does it seem that radio isn't ever allowed to be about passionate program directors and DJs bringing the listeners the music they want to hear? Am I really the only person who thinks that is exactly what it should be about? No one was more passionate and knowledgeable and eager to share endless amounts of fabulous music than these two. Ugh, it's like a punch in the gut.
I guess I just don't get it, but I do know that the past year and a half has been the greatest radio-listening period of my entire life because of Beyond Jazz. For a while it was nice to feel like someone out there felt the way I do about broadcast music.
What a loss.
I think people are forgetting how bad XM was doing compared to SIRI prior to the merger. Don't you thinks its possible that some of XM's problems were the programming content? For them to cut the Jazz and other channels tells me that there were a small group of listeners for those channels. They would never cut a channel that was well liked. The above comments almost sound like that XM subs want to keep things separate from SIRI. I believe that SIRI did XM a favor for buying them out. I think XM benefited more than SIRI. XM would have been BK without merger. SIRIUS XM is worse now since the merger. I constantly ask myself were would SIRI be without merger? The truth is SIRI bought out XM and the fans and XM employers need to respect the changes that will be made.
Originally Posted by steve3947
XM always had more subscribers than Sirius - and that was without the NFL and Howard Stern! Look at the subscriber chart below and you will see that it was Sirius subs that were falling dramatically before the merger. There was a reason that more people subscribed to XM than Sirius - and that needs to be respected! I have subscribed to both Sirius and XM for years now and XM's programming, branding, and technology has been far better. Without the NFL and Stern, Sirius would have been in the dust. XM's original news, talk, and music programming was second to none. Getting rid of XM's talent and programming is not in the best interest of the combined companies future. XM was doing something right or they wouldn't have had so many more subscribers than Sirius all those years, in spite of not having the NFL and Stern......