I’ve only been a subscriber to satellite radio for about six months, and the first several were for Nik, I only experienced the service peripherally. But, that level of exposure was sufficient to entice me and I now have my own receiver and subscription.

(As an aside, the linked article also has a follow-up that is very down on the Stiletto. To an extent I can’t argue with the complaints: As a portable Sirius player it requires a very bulky and ugly set of special headphones and even then the reception isn’t that great. But on the other hand, the portability factor probably shouldn’t have been pushed as a big selling factor to begin with since satellite radio, in my experience, is a limited use product. By that I mean that the beauty of it isn’t necessarily in just having it on, but in having the entirety of it available. Specifically, the 100% commercial-free music is fine but I find that, as with AM/FM radio, one is rarely stuck on a single channel for music anyway since inevitably they will play something you don’t like sooner or later. But having dozens of channels each with the possibility of playing something good and not having any of them hampered by being “on commercial” when you tune in gives a pleasant, seamless experience that is ideal in a car where switching channels is pretty much second nature by now. Outdoorsy people hoping the Stiletto would approximate that will be disappointed in the same way they would find trying to listen to terrestrial radio disappointing, because channel-surfing on a portable device is rarely as simple as all that. In a home or car, satellite radio shines: Elsewhere it was only ever destined to be a novelty.)

Ever since satellite radio came onto my radar, people have been talking about the two major providers, XM and Sirius, merging. Now the talks have surfaced again, this time with more veracity. Personally, I don’t really care either way. I’ve experienced both services and I vastly prefer Sirius (hence the choice) but I doubt much would really change with a merger since the focal points would be the premium content channels (mostly stuff like Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey, major league sports and so on) which has, to this point, been spread between the two.

But were a merge to take place, the things I would want to see happen are as follows:

  • Leave the music programming to the Sirius guys. The XM channels—especially in my primary genres of choice such as Alternative, Rock and Indie—pale to the point of albanism compared to Sirius. The new 90s Alternative station on Sirius is a prime example of how well that company understands what actual people want to listen to.
  • I wouldn’t mind seeing some “talent” shake-up, however. One thing that XM seems to have over Sirius is less offensive DJs (or Stream Jockeys—SJs—as the forum lurkers call them). I could certainly live the rest of my days without ever hearing Jason Ellis, Madison or Bam Margera blather on in a lame attempt to connect with listeners. In my opinion, for a service that bills itself as a smart choice for savvy consumers over the alternative (FM), they seem to have carried over the worst parts of it in some cases.
  • Anything that could be done to improve overall reception would be most welcome.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, even think about making the sports content require an additional monthly fee. Should a merge happen I’d finally get all the major sports on one service (right now MLB is only on XM) and I would be happy. If they try to charge me for hockey games, I’ll cancel my subscription, sell my Stiletto on eBay and write as many nasty things about the executives and their heritage as I can think of.
  • Now get off my lawn.

On the Random Tip

Because you never demanded any such thing, I offer… more bullet points.

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