On our 12.5-hour drive back from SoCal on Sunday we got to experience the wonder that is satellite radio. Kitty bought her new Honda a week or so ago and it was equipped with an XM receiver. It would be free for 3 months before a $10 monthly fee would apply. Wow. It was so cool! I can easily see FM radio going to hell over the next few years. All of their bullshit generic programing with their lame DJ's and commercials will be hard pressed to keep up.
It seems like just about everything goes through this cycle. There is great diversity, there is a consolidation, followed by another burst of diversity. Once there was a wide range of radio choices. They are now all being consolidated under Clear Channel or Citadel. The corporations then try to maximize profit by trying to appeal to as many listeners as possible. This leads to homogeneity. This leads to stagnation and boredom. It will then take something new to break the monotony. In this case, satellite radio will offer a wide range of variety which will hopefully breathe new life into the dying music industry. There was even a station devoted to artists that didn't have major record label contracts. That's what the industry needs! New blood! Corporate radio is all about getting as many clones of successes out into the market to ride the next-big-thing rollercoaster. New bands are risky. They might not make money. Only if they have a sure-fire gimmick will they devote the effort in promoting it.
The same thing happened to t.v. in the 70's. There was CBS, NBC, and ABC. You watched what they wanted you to watch. Then cable came along. It was expensive, but you now had a choice of stations. More and more stations were added until there was something for everyone. Soon people were flocking away from commercial broadcasts. How many times have you found yourself channel surfing only to end up on TLC, Animal Planet, or Cartoon Network? There's always something on that could keep you interested. The same was true with satellite radio. We listened to "classic" alternative for a long time. When we grew tired of that, we switched to 80's music. When that got old, we switched to show tunes or opera. We always found something good to listen to. If we lived in a major metropolitan area, we could have received 24/7 traffic reports.
I was a bit surprised a few months ago as I was driving through the Mojave. I wanted to get some news. I went to the AM band since I was in the middle of nowhere and was shocked to find only 1 station, and it was playing Mexican oompa music. WTF?!? There were hardly any AM stations! If that is an indicator, FM will not be too far behind. I'm off to do some research into XM stock.