XM, Sirius, and Facebook

When we got our VW Jetta in 2005 it had satellite radio in it.  We got a 3 month free trial with the car, which is how they suck you in.  Prior to that car, you could never have convinced me that I’d PAY for radio.  “No frakkin’ way”, would have been my reply had you asked me if paying for satellite radio would interest me.  Once we had it, I fell in love with it.  It wasn’t just the excellent quality reception, or the “commercial free” music (that’s not 100% accurate) that won me over.  No, it was Sonic Theater.  Sonic Theater is a station on XM that plays audiobooks, radio dramas, and the like.  For example, they had Orson Scott Card reading “Ender’s Game” every day for half an hour, and then at the end of the book, they did an extensive interview with him.  I loved it.  They had radio dramas – not like the old time radio plays, but really great productions that are basically like television series, except on the radio.  In fact, their tag line is “Sonic Theater, the pictures are in your head”. They did a series called “Ruby, Galactic Gumshoe” which was really quirky, a series about Harry Nile, a detective in the 40’s, Sherlock Holmes, books from Naxos Audio, and readings from “The Big Read”, to name just a few.  It’s my favorite XM station.  The Spouse loved XM because they air all the ACC basketball games, and being a big Duke fan, that was right up his alley.  Their music stations are really good too.  Needless to say, when our 3 month free trial was up, we bought a subscription.  Not only that, we got XM in the Audi too.  So, as you can imagine, when we traded those cars in for our 2008 Passat and our 2008 Audi, we were deeply chagrined to find that they came with, not XM satellite, but Sirius!  Boo hoo!  No more Sonic Theater.  No more ACC basketball, no more Flight 26 or The Blend music stations.  It was a very sad day.

I guess the big selling point for Sirius was Howard Stern and Sirius’ “Sirius Stars” station.  I honestly couldn’t care less about those, just as I never listend to “Oprah and Friends” on XM.  I listen to a little music, and a lot of new/talk/other when I listen to the radio.  XM had plenty to offer me.  Sirius, not so much.

Now, there are acceptable music stations, but none that really compare well with Flight 26 and The Blend.  The Blend is The Spouse’s favorite.  XM describes The Blend as “The superstars of pop music from the past 30 years” – a little too “easy listening” for me, but acceptable.  I like Flight 26, which is a bit more edgy without being totally Indie.  Flight 26 plays “Chart hits and standout tracks from the ’90s through today”.  Sirius has “Starlite” for The Spouse, which is described as “contemporary lite songs from the brightest stars in pop music”, and I bounce between “The Pulse”, which is “It’s the ’90s and now! You’ll hear artists such as Daughtry, Alanis Morissette, Maroon 5, Colbie Caillat and Matchbox 20 and more, Get the Pulse of adult pop!” and “Hits 1”, which is “SIRIUS Hits 1 gives you the best new music first and all the hits you know and love from Nickelback, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, Rihanna, Fall Out Boy and more.”  That is, when I listen to music. I almost always listen to BBC News when I’m in the car.

NONE of the Sirius stations really hits the spot for either of us.  So, when the merger between XM and Sirius was finally approved, we were pretty excited.  The buzz was that we would have the opportunity to pick and choose which XM stations we wanted to add to our Sirius subscription at some point.  Well, so far that’s not exactly the way it works, but we can add SOME XM stations, most notably, the ACC basketball stations.  Today I added “The Best of XM” to our radios.  The Spouse will now be able to listen to all the ACC basketball games.  As part of that package, we can listen to Oprah and Friends, and The Virus, which must be big sellers to some people, but not to us.  Sadly, no music stations are in the mix, and no Sonic Theater.  I can only hope that changes soon.  I want my Sonic Theater! Until then, I’m a pretty devoted BBC News fan.  It is pretty interesting to hear news from a different perspective, and to hear news we never hear here – news from all over Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, and more.  I will probably listen to XM Public Radio, which is part of the new package, but not as much as BBC News.

Now, Facebook.  I love Facebook.  If you don’t have a Facebook account, get one.  I chat with my sister almost daily using the built-in chat app.  Even more exciting, I chat with my cousin, Edy, in Italy, and her niece, Ele.  I also play Scrabble, Word Challenge, and Word Twist with my sister and my hairdresser.  I love Facebook because it’s not all cluttered and messy like MySpace, and it has cool apps you can add.  I have thrown things at Lorraine, I have gone pink with a lot of my Facebook friends, I have taken a quiz called “Trova il tuo nome arcano segreto nascosto“, which basically means “find your secret, ancient, birth name”.  That was fun – I had no idea what some questions were actually asking since they were very idiomatic.  I can turn the entire page into Italian if I want to practice my Italian.  Facebook rocks.  You need an account.  Get one, then make me your friend so we can play together.