Remember when XM radio was the coolest thing since sliced bread? For woodchucks like me - living in the last of one (bad country) radio station plus public radio - commercial radio was a wasteland of odd talk show programming and songs about dying dogs and fishing.
Enter XM radio - suddenly for a couple of hundred dollars/year plus a minimal investment in hardware your radio could pull in hundreds of radio stations -all crystal clear and commercial free! That giant sucking sound you heard was from all the teens and commuting adults migrating towards the satellite sounds from the sky and away from bad radio. Ahh... how things change!
Today my iPhone can pull in (for free - at least for incrementally free) Slacker, Pandora, AOL radio and more - all for free. And not only are they free - but most respond to my preferences and deliver music that I actually like.
After letting my XM subscription lapse - i was enticed back into the fold with an introductory offer which i jumped on. Here in northern vermont, cell reception is spotty and the thought of consistent 3g is still mostly a fantasy.
XM radio was once again a mainstay of my morning commute - however unlike years past i had no use for it at home or the office. Once within wifi range, my iPhone and laptop connected to the home stereo system (used to broadcast netflix movie sound) provided better radio sounds and more diversity.
A few month ago my promotional period expired and i suddenly found myself with fewer stations to choose from. Out of the dozens missing there was really only one (BB King Blues) that i really missed.
Here comes the kicker - even though i only listen to 6 stations on XM - i need to upgrade my sound package for an addition $100+/year just to get the one extra station i want. When you hold XM and their pricing model against the other options - which truly offer a guest of one experience - XM suddenly seems old school, outdated and overpriced.
As 3g coverage expands, smart phone based radio is going to continue the march towards territory that used to be reserved for XM - leaving them in the dust.
Unless XM radio can use their large number of radio stations and a hardware/smartphone way to deliver a custom listening experience to me - i'll be lost to them as a consumer for ever.
if you are still holding XM/sirius stock - i'd suggest a covered short sale.
ps. happily listening to pandora as i write this.