When Will One Radio Receive Sirius And XM?
August 8, 2008 at 5:27 AM (PT)
SIRIUS XM CEO MEL KARMAZIN finally got what he wished for with the merger of SIRIUS and XM last month. But for listeners hoping for a kaleidoscope of combined programming choices, the wait is on, writes CNN MONEY. To be sure, TODAY's radios will still get either XM broadcasts or SIRIUS broadcasts, depending on which service you pay for. But when the new SIRIUS XM channel lineup is determined, you will need a new radio to hear it.
And here's the kicker: Those new radios won't be available until sometime next year.
Car companies control the dashboard. And to make changes it takes three years.
This is a bit of a shocker even to analysts who follow the industry. The companies did promise that the merger wouldn't mean subscribers needed new radios. Somehow it was implied that dual-mode radios would be available soon after the merger closed.
But KARMAZIN dashed those expectations on an earnings call with analysts THURSDAY.
"You'd probably think it would have been nice to have them before the CHRISTMAS season," says COWEN analyst TOM WATTS, said of the missing dual-mode radio. If you were thinking of getting a new car with a radio that let you tune in HOWARD STERN's SIRIUS show and XM's Major League Baseball games, you've got a three-year wait.
"Car companies control the dashboard," KARMAZIN said on the call. And to make changes it "takes three years."
In the interim, SIRIUS XM will introduce in three months, a special new a la carte radio that, while not dual mode, will offer packages that let XM users pick some "select" SIRIUS programming and vice versa.
Oddly, long before the merger, the FCC mandated that the two companies develop an interoperable radio. In 2000, the companies said they put together a team to develop a dual mode radio. Progress on that front has been somewhat limited as the companies and the FCC spent years squabbling over the interpretation of the rule.