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Sirius/XM Made Me Want to Listen to the Radio Again

this is serious…

Sirius/XM Made Me Want to Listen to the Radio Again. I know I’m very late to the party, but I’ve become a recent convert to Sirium/XM satellite radio. We bought a new car in January, which came with a free four-month trial of Sirius/XM, and I immediately fell in love.

I spent a decade in Los Angeles searching for decent music on the radio. There was a fun station for awhile, KSCA, which was one of the first successful Urban Adult Contemporary (before there was even such a term), but it went Spanish-language format like many LA stations. I had to contend with KCRW, a venerable public institution and home to one of the greatest radio programs ever, “Morning Becomes Eclectic.” I also liked KXLU, the Loyola Marymount University station that is credited with discovering Beck, but after awhile college DJs become just a little too precious. Generally, though, I listened to CDs and wondered why radio stations in LA had gotten so fragmented, slaves to heavy rotation.

I moved to Westchester County in 2004 (“NY’s backyard!,” it’s called. Gag.), and was shocked to discover that New York City was even more of a radio wasteland. How could it be that the two greatest cities in the United States, the places that music is produced and recorded, fail to have radio stations of the same caliber as say, San Francisco or Seattle. I gave up and started listening to CDs again.

The trouble with ignoring radio, though, is that you end up in ruts, listening to the same artists over and over. The only new CDs I was buying were new releases from bands I already knew and loved (even if those new releases weren’t always top shelf). I wasn’t being exposed to new sounds, and that was lame.

Fast forward to this year and my introduction to Sirius/XM. The beauty of sat radio was that there are so many channels playing artists I find interesting, at the same time. I don’t have to suffer through a bunch of garbage I don’t want to hear, while I wait for the gems I do want to hear. I don’t have to listen to the same song play fifty-seven times a day. I can flip the dial (okay, so it’s not a dial; it’s the channel-changing switch on my steering wheel) between several different choices and always find something to listen to. It’s a revelation.

I can listen to SiriusXM U (Channel 35) or Alt Nation (Channel 36) and finally dial into a wide range of new artists I’d never heard before (okay, give me a break; I’m a middle-aged suburban mom who is just grateful that my 11-year-old is not into Justin Bieber or One Direction). For fun and nostalgia, I can turn to 1st Wave (Channel 33), 80s alternative, and relive my youth. (I was listening with my 15-year-old son and I sang every single word of every single song that came on. Amazed, he finally asked, “How many of these songs do you know?” “ALL OF THEM,” I chortled.) When I need a little peace and quiet, I can listen to The Coffee House (Channel 31), all acoustic. Plus there are general mix channels, old and new, like The Spectrum (Channel 28). Hey, I could listen to nothing but Elvis! Nothing but The Dead! (But I wouldn’t want to.) The point is that if a song comes on that I don’t feel like listening to, I can jump to the next channel, or the next, and there will always be something I immediately like. That has never, in my life, been my experience with radio. I have been so pleased that I asked for, and received, an extension of my subscription for Mother’s Day.

Viva Sirius/XM!

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