Dear Sirius XM,
When the concept of a merger came up, I was excited about the prospects of the company. I looked forward to a satellite radio company that could bring about the best that both services had to offer.Sirius and XM each had passionate fans that were 100% behind the service that they subscribed to. Certainly, the combination of the best of both worlds would be a success.
I am sorry to say that so far the success is marginal in many ways. As part of the channel line-up shift, New Country (a Sirius channel) was replaced by the Highway (an XM channel). The Highway has a lot more talk, and yesterday I heard something that made my skin crawl. A DJ came on and announced some sort of trivia question. He then proceeded to take callers who attempted their answers. When one finally got it right, they won a “green frog”. In other words, they won nothing. The whole process burned about 3 minutes of time, and in the end the Highway sounded like a low budget operation that could not even afford prizes!
As I have surfed the channels, I have noted that some channels simply have more talk on them than before. Wolfman Jack seems to blather on endlessly on the 60′s channel, and the 70′s channel seems to have more talk than ever before. Some channels have remained the same, and for that I am grateful, but the changes have a lot of people frustrated.
To be clear, I have always enjoyed a little bit of DJ talk. I feel that DJ’s add to a show. They share little bits of insight, and can make the music more fun, but some of these channels seem to have more than doubled the amount of talk, and the change is so stark that people are noticing.
I think what we have here was an attempt to make both Sirius and XM listeners happy. The task was near impossible, but there are solutions. I feel that the company should conduct web surveys of people on the website. Let the listeners interact directly with the company and express their opinions. The company should use the Internet service to test market a few differing concepts for channels. This will get fans to participate, and let the company know what it is the consumers are looking for.
Overall, I expected the channel changes to bring forth a lot of negative attention. There are always complaints when changes are made, and complainers tend to be more vocal. However, core fans of satellite radio are feeling like they do not have a voice in this process. Sirius XM needs to recognize that fans that are paying for a service need to express their opinions, and need to feel they are getting value. I realize that the changes are a work in process, but one would imagine that the goal is to satisfy as many people as possible.
I am sure that the company analized listenership numbers for channels that were similar between the two services. In most cases, you probably followed the one with a higher listenership. in my opinion you should have taken it a step further. Sirius listeners did not have the ability to listen to the Highway, and XM listeners could not listen to New Country. Perhaps, had the consumer had a choice between the two before, a clear winner could be identified.
This site, and some others that concentrate on satellite radio have loyal followings. Readers are typically invested in the stock, but are also passionate listeners. The comments on the channel changes should be read by Sirius XM Management. Readers of this site and others are the ambassadors of this company. These are the people that spread the word for the company, and the people who will not hesitate to be vocal.
I would suggest that the cxompany make some moves to include the listeners more, and give the removed programs a second life on the web. Let listenership on a head to head basis carry weight in the programming decisions.
Position – Long Sirius XM