Sirius And XM Smoosh Their Channels Together, And No One Is Safe

Nov 12th, 2008 // 23 Comments

Today, Sirius and XM unveiled their merged lineups, and the carnage on the music side is definitely going to cause a lot of hue and cry among subscribers to both services. While it’s to be expected, since the two services did have a fair amount of overlap as far as music formatting went, picking through what’s been kicked to the curb is still pretty ugly, especially since some of the casualties seem to be XM’s very deep playlists. A rundown of the changes, and links to both lineups in case you’re wondering what the heck happened to Ethel, after the jump.

• Both services get new channels from their former competitors: Sirius gets the triple-A channel The Loft, the gospel station Enlighten, and stations branded with Willie Nelson (classic country) and B.B. King (blues); XM adds BBC Radio 1, E Street Radio, Little Steven’s Underground Garage, and Shade 45, among others.

• All the decade-specific channels have been rebranded XM-style: Sirius Gold is now ’50s on 5, ’60s Vibrations is ’60s on 6, Totally ’70s is ’70s on 7, Big ’80s is ’80s on 8. Also, XM’s channels devoted to the ’40s (on 4) and ’90s (on 9) have been added to the lineup. However, according to commenters over at satellite-radio clearinghouse Orbitcast, the names may look like XM, but the slimmed-down playlists with “nothing but the most common hits that have been played to death” are all Sirius.

• Collegy-rock station Left Of Center’s brand has fallen to that of XMU–a possible compromise for that channel’s program director and music director being let go. (Similar compromises were made with a few of the decades-centric channels, perhaps facilitating the change outlined above.) Apparently the shows programmed by music bloggers are still intact there, at least for now.

• XM’s alt-rock stations Fred, Ethel, and Lucy are all gone, and replaced by Sirius’ slate of alt-rock stations. And there are no stations devoted to punk at all on the newly combined lineup.

• XM’s standards station has been rebranded as “Siriusly Sinatra.” Siriusly?

• Fans of XM’s three Latin stations are all being directed to Sirius’ one remaining Spanish-language channel; Aguila and Caricia’s former 24/7 programming has now been consolidated into a single Sunday show for each format.

• On the flip side, fans of Sirius’ one lite-rock station now have their choice of three formats devoted to smooth music. Um, yay?

• Hey, everyone gets four holiday-music stations! Including one devoted to Hanukkah music!

New Channel Lineup [XM]
New Channel Lineup [Sirius]
Now with combined channels, what do you think? [Orbitcast]


  1. LiquidHeaven

    I hope my email sparked this story but alas you were probably on top of it.

  2. LiquidHeaven

    At least blogradio stayed.

    Bummed they killed Boombox and Disorder though. On the rare chance I wasn’t listening to either LOC or Howard 100 I did give those a spin now and again. Backspin was nice as well when you wanted to kick out the retro rap jams.

  3. Captain Wrong

    I didn’t realize XM had a “deeper” playlist. That’s been my biggest complaint about Sirius (aside from most of the stations sound like low bit rate streaming Internet radio.) For all the hollering they do about being better than over the air, the are locked into the same 40 songs played to death lists as any Clear Channel station. If it didn’t come with the car, I’d have given up on Sirius a while ago.

  4. motoraway

    My XM subscription will be cancelled.

    The shallow playlists and the loss of Fungus 53 (punk, ska, rockabilly, etc) and The Rhyme (old school/classic hiphop).

  5. Anonymous

    I already miss Fungus, which was dropped in favor of all AC/DC all the time. Cock-rock trumps punk rock in the marketplace, I suppose.

  6. Audif Jackson Winters III

    I’ve never thought the Sirius music stations I listen to regularly had shallow playlists (LOC, Classic Rewind, Outlaw Country, Underground Garage). The Big 80s was somewhat shallow, but made up for it by playing a complete top 40 countdown from that week in a particular year in the 80s, which always had stuff I never heard before, and decent commentary from Nina Blackwood.

  7. PengIn

    Come back, Ethel! Come back!


  8. LiquidHeaven

    Sirius sounds great in my car, maybe you needed a better car. jussayin

  9. Audif Jackson Winters III

    I keep reading criticisms that people don’t like the DJs. I don’t know, that’s something I enjoy about Sirius, particularly the jocks on Left of Center (now XMU). I feel like having a person talking, briefly, every few songs, makes my listening a bit more active. I wouldn’t enjoy a MusicChoice-style, “just play the songs” format. I feel like it would become background music.

  10. TheRunningboard7

    I loved the lady who hosted the After School Special on XMU. I haven’t listened today, but I think she might be gone… I hope they don’t fuck much with my XMU, though I’ll be honest in saying I haven’t listened to Left of Center before.

  11. Audif Jackson Winters III

    @TheRunningboard7: Yeah, I think that slot is filled by Jenny Eliscu, who I like.

  12. LiquidHeaven

    Jenny Eliscu was on LOC starting at noon (mountain time) every day, right after blog radio. She was on today. I’m not sure what time her shift ends.

    I like the dj’s as well. I like the commentary and any good dj will drop some occasional news and knowledge about the songs they are playing which I wouldn’t want to do without either.

    For the podcast I started I actually took the format of the blogradio hosts and did my own ‘show.’ I feel like you could put them on the air and they’d fit right in with the other shows on the channel. So if anyone knows anyone who knows anyone… []

  13. LiquidHeaven

    I mentioned in the thread last week after someone said the minister was out that he will be missed. Fogelnest plays better music but his personality is a bit annoying.

    How much do you think those djs get paid? I know many of them are on multiple channels hosting different shows. How much do you think the blogradio guys get paid? Anything?

  14. Audif Jackson Winters III

    @LiquidHeaven: I’ve wondered this, too. Certain DJs show up all over the channels. Madison, for instance, DJs on multiple channels, and sits in on Jay Thomas’ show on Fridays.

  15. Anonymous

    I was a LOC fan, it was my favorite channel. I could also hear XMU through my DirecTV service but never liked it as much. I thought LOC had a better, more consistent playlist, more energy and better personalty. So far today I haven’t been digging the new combined station as much. The playlist sounds a little more XMU than LOC to me, and even though Jenny Eliscu was on this afternoon the whole vibe seemed to be lacking somehow. Maybe I’m just reading too much into it, but I don’t think so… :(

  16. Anonymous

    I am sorry GTM is no longer at XM/Sirius. My five subscriptions will probably soon die. The things that made XM so special are being taken away. XM/Sirius would not have to cut capable workers if they would not engage in the outrageous decisions like paying individual performers as much as $ 56 M per year. All they had to do was play the music. If they wanted to be all things maybe they should do marketing studies to find out whether a public is widespread enough to subscribe to fund such idiotic decisions. The eventual result will be that (as is already happening) the music lovers that pay the subscriptions will be alienated by high fees, and will be driven to become IPOD listeners at a fraction of the cost, and doom the entire concept.

  17. Hyman Decent

    The Loft is AAA? I thought that’s what The Spectrum (which is still on Sirius) is.

    I listened to B.B. King’s Bluesville for a bit earlier today and I couldn’t warm to the songs I heard (which I had never heard on Sirius Blues).

    I hate that Sirius Gold was replaced by The ’50s on 5. Sirius Gold played golden oldies from the sixties as well as the fifties (and even Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party” from the early seventies, occasionally).

  18. Captain Wrong

    @LiquidHeaven: I drive a brand new VW Passat, which has a nice stereo. Listen to Classic Jazz (which I do a lot of the time) and tell me what you hear is anything near CD quality, to name just one example.

    And what the hell happened to Backspin? If I don’t hear Audio Two’s Top Billin three times everyday, I’m gonna die.

  19. bobjr94

    XMs death started when they pulled fungus 53 for an ac/dc channel 2 months ago to promote there new album and a 24 /7 metallica channel to promote there new album. What total sell outs. Now they have pulled all the channels that played anything out of mainstream. XM=FM & FM=XM only difference is you have to pay for it and the sound quality is less than free radio. No chance of hearing anything new and exciting.

    They no longer want the 55 and under crowd, the hell with all you kids…. 24 7 ac/dc, 24 /7 greatful dead, 24 / 7 bruce springsteen, 24 / 7 led zeplin, 24 / 7 elvis ???? I am 34 and these people were all playing before I was born.

    A new 24 /7 catholic radio, 24 /7 DR radio (yes, radio for doctors), a Jimmy Buffet channel, a Sinatra channel…

    Its just a waste to pay for this now.

  20. Audif Jackson Winters III

    @Captain Wrong: How is your satradio hooked into the car’s stereo? If it’s over an FM transmitter, yeah, I agree, the sound quality is intolerable, particularly on the high end.

    Things sound much better if you have a direct digital connection, or even if you connect through an aux in or FM direct adapter.

  21. LiquidHeaven

    @Captain Wrong: I drive the same car and I’m pretty happy with the quality.

    My father has a Alpina B7 and unsurpisignly sirius in his car sounds much stronger, clearer and better.

    I’d call myself fairly particular and I’m not saying its perfect but its better than FM. It’s not CD quality.

  22. LiquidHeaven


    I feel ya, the music is more… just boring?! I hope it will level out eventually. It definitely feels its more XM U than LOC playlist-wise.

  23. Anonymous

    Jocks at Sirius who aren’t “salaried employees” can earn extra bucks by doing shifts on different channels. I think only the station’s “programmers” are salaried (on the music channels anyways).

Leave A Comment