Satcaster Sirius gets serious about serving isles
SIRIUS Satellite Radio Inc
. wants to be heard in Hawaii and Alaska, and has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission
to make it so.
Early this year, neither Sirius nor its competitor, XM Satellite Radio Inc., had any plans to beam down to Hawaii via satellite.
But Sirius has now identified sites for the installation of satellite digital audio radio service (satellite DARS) terrestrial repeaters -- three in Alaska and one in Hawaii -- that would allow the company to offer its subscription service in the two states.
"Because Sirius' satellites are focused over the continental United States and Sirius does not use spot beams for Alaska and Hawaii, these repeaters are essential to ensure that residents of these states can receive optimal SDARS service from Sirius," the filing says.
Sirius officials could not be reached for comment on Friday.
In September of 2001, the FCC granted Sirius special temporary authority to operate its satellite DARS terrestrial repeater network and the authority has been extended several times.
In its filing, Sirius reminded the Commission that when it granted the original temporary authority, it ruled that operation of the network would allow for the provision of "high quality radio signals to areas that have limited radio service."
Short of traveling to the mainland, the only way Hawaii residents can hear Sirius' programming is via a free, three-day trial online.
Sirius offers 198 channels of music, talk, sports and entertainment programming, while XM offers more than 170. An exact number could not be found on its Web site.
Sirius boasts two channels of former megabucks terrestrial radio shock-jock Howard Stern, but XM may be better branded.
The triple-arc of a soundwave in XM's logo is used in creatively brilliant depictions of different genres of music in its TV commercial -- as a tearful country music lover's mustache, as Beethoven's wavy hair and finally as part of the gold "grill" featured on a hip-hop-music listener's teeth.
The commercial airs in Hawaii, but Hawaii residents can only access XM's service via free online trial, a paid online subscription or via DirecTV's music service.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org