Radio Paradise on XM radio? Probably not

I asked on one of the Radio Paradise forums whether XM Radio would ever carry RP. I’m getting closer to picking up an XM subscription, partially for the long drives to Maine and back that’ll happen all summer, but also for my trips down to NJ and back for my client.
In the the posting, Bill Goldsmith (the man behind RP, is quoted:

Neither XP or Sirius are interested in any outside music programming. They’re both committed to doing that themselves.
No huge loss for us, really. The day of widespread wireless broadband is near at hand. Verizon already has a very nice wireless broadband service in 30 US metro areas (400+ kbps, $80/mo – click here for more info). I know of at least a couple of RP listeners who use that service to listen to RP in their cars – & one who listens regularly on Amtrak between NYC & DC, rarely losing the signal.
Over the next few years, more wireless carriers will be adding or upgrading their 3g (broadband cellular) offerings, with speeds going up & prices coming down. Many ISPs & telcos will also be jumping on the WiMax bandwagon, offering true broadband wireless services which – though primarily designed for fixed-position use – have mobile possibilities as well.
So before too much longer, there will be very few places that you won’t be able to get an Internet connection on your PDA, phone, laptop, media player, or whatever. Then – who needs some multi-billion-dollar satellite corporation? So, like I said, no huge loss really.

The problem is that I don’t think I agree with Bill’s comments.
First, there’s the problem of cost. $75 a month is too high for most people to pay.
Second is the performance. I’ve used the 1xRTT service from Verizon, and it’s not all that hot. I don’t think it would keep up with the 128k feed I normally listen to (I’m seeing functional 1xRTT speeds of between 70kbps and 90kbps), therefore I’m looking at a serious reduction in my music quality.
Third is coverage. Yes, wireless broadband may be available in most metropolitan areas, but it is hardly ubiquitous. If I wanted to listen in metro areas, there are a lot of good progressive stations around Boston. The problem is they disappear in the middle of Connecticut or the New Hampshire mountains. That’s where I want to listen.
Fourth is more of a socio-political-economic issue. I had a problem for a bit where I thought XM Radio was owned by ClearChannel, a company who, IMHO, embodies all that is evil in large corporate holdings. In fact, ClearChannel is a minority investor in XM, and does not in fact own them. While I’m still giving ClearChannel some money, I will happily give XM radio money to support stations such as RadioParadise.
However, the money I give Verizon Wireless (quite a lot MORE money in fact) will never ever see its way into Radio Paradise’ pocket. I will get poorer service, poorer signal quality, and higher overhead trying to get a WiFi hookup running in my car just to listen to a dumbed-down music feed than I would get with a $10/month $90 receiver for XM radio.
Bill, I think you need to reconsider your reasoning for not at least talking to XM Radio again.

Dave Shevett


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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