Satellite radio is still skipping past Hawaii
FOR THE CURIOUS, the XM
satellite radio companies have not developed plans to enter the Hawaii market via satellite to your car, home or office.
However, XM is now part of DirecTV's direct broadcast satellite service, which does reach Hawaii.
"You are (also) able to access XM on the Internet," said Chance Patterson, vice president for corporate affairs. Subscribers to XM's satellite service pay $12.95 a month for 160 channels, while the online subscription costs $7.99 a month for "upwards of 75 channels."
The company's efforts have been focused on larger land masses and population bases. "As far as going beyond the borders of the contiguous 48 states, we've been focused on launching in Canada," Patterson said, which XM did late last year.
XM now has more than 6 million subscribers. The company's biggest competitor is Sirius Satellite Radio, which also has no plans to pursue listeners in Hawaii.
"Our satellites can only cover North America, and there are no plans for an additional satellite for Hawaii," said spokeswoman Rebecca Schnall. Sirius' online service is available only to regular subscribers, she said.
Satellite radio was going to kill terrestrial radio, it was predicted.
It hasn't. Neither did television, or MTV, or Internet radio.
The iPod hasn't killed conventional radio either, but radio executives know that most people would rather listen to their favorite tunes commercial-free than put up with several minutes' worth of commercial interruption on even their favorite local radio station. That is, unless the commercials are really creative or funny.
But how do you get a real-time traffic or weather report on your iPod?
Mobile phones are Web-enabled, allowing users to check traffic and weather on the fly. That is why commercial-free radio via the ubiquitous cell phone is the latest thing that has people predicting the death of local radio.
Motorola announced its iRadio service Jan. 3. It is a subscription music service that plays six channels of music on a iRadio-enabled Motorola mobile phone, such as the ROKR E2, to become available later this year. Non-Motorola phones will be iRadio-enabled in the future, said Beth Hespe, a publicist for Motorola.
The service offers 435 commercial-free radio channels, some of which are provided by Texas-based Clear Channel Communications Inc., the company that owns nearly 1,200 conventional radio stations around the country including seven in Honolulu.
"Motorola iRadio lets us deliver top-rated talk content and custom music channels to listeners wherever they are throughout their day," said Jeff Littlejohn, executive vice president for Clear Channel Radio.
It is unlikely that Littlejohn wrote the information on the iRadio Web page, which in two places encourages customers to "Turn off conventional radio forever."
Does Clear Channel know Motorola is saying that?
"No, we're not saying that at all," Hespe said, apparently unaware of the verbiage on the Web site.
"Clear Channel sees services like iRadio as another opportunity to distribute the content. iRadio is complimentary to what they are doing."
Mac users will need access to a PC to subscribe to the service and customize a phone.
The service does not gobble up calling plan minutes, "because you're acquiring the streaming radio and your MP3s directly from your PC."
There is virtually no impact on mobile phone battery life, Hespe said.
No information was available on the subscription cost, but potential customers can sign up for e-mail updates on Motorola's Web site at http://broadband.motorola.com/iradio/.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com