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Adios XM Satellite Radio

I am getting old and my hearing is not what it used to be. Maybe too much loud rock music during the 70’s? Maybe too many loud engines over the years? For whatever reason, I say “huh?” or “I don’t hear you” quite a bit these days. When I first started operating the heavy equipment I wore ear plugs. The continuous din hour after hour just wore me out. At some point, I discovered a set of ear buds connected to my favorite music player made even more sense.

I had a subscription to XM satellite radio for years in the Suburban. I was hooked on XM12 which was their Americana country station. I listened to little else.

Pioneer Inno

Pioneer Inno

Along the way, I acquired a pint sized portable XM receiver called a Pioneer Inno that was the best thing since sliced bread. I loved being able to listen to XM12 in the dozer and then save the songs I liked right to the hard disk on the Inno. What a cool innovation! It was a match made in heaven and I cheerfully sent XM my hard earned dollars for two subscriptions.

One day last fall, I crawled up in the dozer at Oakwood, TX and settled in for a good day of dirt work. I fired that Inno up and heard John Anderson belting out “Swingin'”. I liked that song but it had no business playing on XM12. No how! No way!…. Then I remembered something about Sirius and XM merging but I had dismissed it when I read there would be no major programming changes. They wouldn’t dare take away the one and only channel I listened to. No way! No how!…. I just switched over to my recorded content on the Inno’s hard drive for the rest of the morning; vowing to investigate it further on the internet when I broke for lunch.

Well folks, they had gone and done it. XM12 was no more. It had been replaced by the Sirius “Outlaw Country” station which was just so much pap and pablum. I couldn’t take it even though I tried. The “new” Sirius DJ’s were not my cup of tea. I did not care for Dallas Wayne when he was on KHYI in Dallas. Mojo Nixon was just a foul mouthed and utterly vulgar individual. On the weekends they had some country hick ex-wrestler named Hillbilly Jim and some old 1950’s retread that I had no notion of who he was. No thank you Sirius. I canceled both my subscriptions and went back the the ear plugs.

I missed my music- I missed it horribly. I had a variety of low end MP3 players and I tried them and it was pretty decent– not great but passable. The problem was the amount of time involved to develop playlists and the expense of buying the music. Somewhere along the way I came

Microsoft Zune 120

Microsoft Zune 120

across the Microsoft Zune 120 which rivals the iPod for ease of use and quality. Plus it has 120 gigabytes of storage space which is about a bazillion songs. The Zunepass is what sold me on the Zune. With a $15 per month Zunepass I can download all the songs I want and as long as I keep my subscription, I have access to the songs. Plus, I get a 10 song credit each month which allows me to buy basically a full CD to keep forever. Hmmmm, that just about offsets the subscription price.

I have to say I have been loving the Zune 120. The online interface is slick and easy and it works well in the Suburban with the car kit accessory. I bought a Speck heavy duty rubber case for it and I must say I have not looked back.

Note: About a month after the XM/Sirius merge I found an online petition with over 100k signatures requesting Sirius to bring XM12 back. To me, that is a serious chunk of subscribers but I do not see it happening. There is dumb marketing and then there are just stupid marketing blunders.

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