In defense of satellite radio

The Puddinette and I had our standard weekly XM-Sirius* radio, um, discussion earlier today.  Of course, by “discussion”, I mean that when I switched over to it during our typical Saturday afternoon errand-running venture in the old family minivan, she proceeded to explain how she had less use for it than a yard squirrel has for chewing gum.

That stands in stark opposition to my own opinion, obviously.  I find that the local radio offerings here are about as enjoyable as having cavities filled.  What’s worse, every six months or so the only station or two I’m willing to debase myself enough to listen to will change format and become even more generic and crappy.  I think Cincinnati has more soft “80’s-90’s-and-today” blend stations than chili parlors.

Of course, I do realize there are other options.  Most people have all their music nowadays in some fancy digital format which can be replayed at any time.  But then, I’m the Last Man on Earth without an iPod, as apparently I became a curmudgeonly cheapskate somewhere between 2001 and 2011.  But that’s just as well, because my Average Middle-Aged Guy compact sedan doesn’t have anywhere to plug one in anyway.

And yes, I could always burn CDs with playlists on them.  But doing that sort of thing, the making of the mix tape, is time consuming and requires forethought.  Let’s face it, I’m pretty lazy.  Burning a CD with a bunch of songs on it means you have to buy CDs and drag and drop files and physically put the disc in the drive, and oh, the horror!  If I wanted to put that much effort into something, I’d sign up to run a marathon.

On top of all that, every time I burn a playlist to a CD I get the creepy feeling that my subconscious is trying to impress a high school girl.  I mean, that’s the only real reason you make the mix tape/CD anymore, right?  Sometimes I wake up with the cold sweats after having nightmares about being cornered on Dateline’s “To Catch A Predator” over a plate of oatmeal cookies with a CD in hand trying to explain to Chris Hansen how it was all a big misunderstanding and that I just wanted to make a 90’s Grunge compilation.

I’m not even going to get into why I need my music shuffled, either.  It’s a long, strange story; anyone wanting that much insight into my OCD needs more help than I do.

The long and short of all this, of course, is that when I have to drive someplace—which, you know, I do at least twice daily—I find myself in a musical purgatory the likes of which even Simon Cowell would be sympathetic about.  As a result, the opportunity to listen to our satellite radio means I look forward to weekend excursions in the family truckster like a frat guy looks forward to doing keg stands and throwing up on his “lucky shirt” on a Friday night.

As I said, though, the Puddinette doesn’t share my enthusiasm, and it’s hard to really blame her.  She was raised with a pretty critical eye toward thriftiness, so this satellite radio business doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.  Radio is free, right?  You just get it from the air?  Snatched in waves from out of the sky as easily as a baby’s lollipop by fancy devices that you listen to but don’t have to pay a subscription for?  So she doesn’t exactly get why we would pay money that could used for something fun like a new purse or ballpoint pens for something that’s otherwise free.

Today I took the position that you pay for it because it’s better.  Sure, the variety isn’t everything it could be, but the options are much broader than anything you’d find from your choice of local radio stations.  To illustrate my point, I switched over to 80’s on 8, hoping to catch something that would trigger a little youthful nostalgia for the Puddinette.

XM, ever helpful, immediately produced this:

Yes, that’s right, I looked to XM for a little support, and XM gave me a ridiculously melodramatic ballad by Chicago.  The Puddinette laughed so hard I was afraid Coke was going to spontaneously spew from her nose.

Needless to say, it didn’t do much for my “higher quality” argument.

Thanks, XM.  Thanks a whole lot.


*Yes, I know it’s technically SiriusXM nowadays, but we were XM subscribers before the magical corporate melding of the two satellite radio systems.

3 thoughts on “In defense of satellite radio

  1. We hold on to our last remaining XM subscription for one reason and one reason only: live sports. We drive and travel a lot (which is why our 4.5 year old CRV has over 104K miles on it). We like sports. We don’t like missing sports just because we’re driving somewhere. Now, if a lower cost, easier to use solution should materialize, we would definitely check it out and consider switching. Until then, the CRV will have buttons dediicated to Major League Baseball, NFL, Big 10 & SEC football and Indy Racing League. Oh, and the occasional Men’s or Women’s World Cup soccer match.


  2. I’ve had Sirius for years now and haven’t listened to terrestrial radio since I got it. The wide expanse of musical formats and news programming is far more than anything Cincy or Lexington could ever hope to encompass. I’m more than willing to pay for the expanded range of listening options (along with my mp3 player) during my frequent long drives…and the ability to hear the live broadcasts for my Buccaneers during football season? Nigh on priceless, really.


  3. I don’ t know anything about Sirius radio (other than Barbara Walters & her producer do a program on said radio,) but you could ask your Dad to burn a CD for you, he is working on a second one for me to bike to cause I thought my better eating habits after the hospital would help lower my cholesterol but not much luck, so I am hoping more exercise will do the trick!


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