Radio AM to FM: June 27, 2003
Satellite Radio Takes Off
Satellite subscription radio continues to grow in spite of nay sayers who said it wouldn't work. Sirius announced this week that it has 100,000 subscribers, and hopes to increase that to 300,000 by the year's end.
Rival XM, which got off to an earlier start, said it had 600,000 subscribers at the end of May, with hopes of 1.2 million by the end of the the year.
Both companies are being helped by new portable satellite radios that can be moved between cars and homes, as opposed to earlier receivers that were hardwired into just one vehicle (or home) at a time.
Missing still are the sets that can receive both signals, so that consumers won't be stuck if they decide to change companies ... or one of the companies goes under. Those multi-system sets were promised to the FCC in exchange for the frequency spectrum the companies received, and were to be developed by the "second generation" of receivers. Which would be by now.
If growth continues, will satellite be the end of broadcast radio? Hardly. Other entertainment devices -- CD players, tapes, MP3 players, and mini-discs -- combined with stale programming are already working on that. Radio listening continues to drop every year as consumers shun corporate formats in favor of alternatives; satellite radio is just one of many alternatives.
Michael Stark of Cerritos College's student-run internet station WPMD (wpmd.org) is thinking about doing an on-air reunion of Long Beach State's former student-run station, KSUL. It's still in the discussion stage right now, but Stark says if he gets enough interest -- including aircheck submissions and commitments to do live shifts from former KSULers, then it will (probably) go on.
KSUL was a wonderful student-run station that was part of Long Beach State's Radio and Television Department before it was unceremoniously dumped in favor of professionally-run KLON (now KKJZ, 88.1 FM) in March of 1981. The University wanted the prestige of KLON -- and the related donations -- so they bought it from long Beach City College and showed students the door.
In any event, KSUL alums can contact former "Friday Night Outlaw" Stark at www.mikestark.net.
"Your piece about radio stations shutting down at sunset reminds me of a KRLA/KFWB on-air friendly rivalry way back in the 1960s. KRLA would come on and day that KRLA was the 'A' station, while KFWB was the 'B' station. Since KRLA cut their power at night, KFWB billed itself as 'the station that doesn't run down at sun down.'" -- Jack Berkus, Playa del Rey
"Your readers who like to hear old records (former listeners to KGRB, KBOB and KMAX) and who live along the coast can tune to KISL/Avalon (88.7 FM) at 6 PM Sunday evenings for Glenn Robison's Rapidly Rotating Records program. He plays records from the 1920s and '30s, and tells about the personnel on those records. He's on just one hour, but its really enjoyable and memory jogging." -- George Schwenk, San Pedro
"I was a semi-regular listener to Ask the Professor, either 6 AM Sunday or 12:30 AM Monday on KRTH. The program was much more entertaining during the Edwin Dewendt/George Pickering era. The program lost a lot of its luster after they left, although it was still a good show.
"Also, for us fans of Mystery Radio Theater, it's back on the internet at www.jessthemess.net/cbsrmt/index.html" -- Mike Dangott, Orange County
I've checked out that site. Amazing -- the programs run continuously! The guy must be a REAL fan. Thanks for the tip.
Copyright © 2003 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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