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Airwaves: October 12, 2007

Satellite Radio Debuts New Programs

Satellite radio is in the news again with both subscription radio services adding new programming.

Sirius has launched a live weekly call-in show in which listeners can speak directly with newscaster icon Barbara Walters, the first time such direct access has been available to her fans.

The program, called simply Barbara Live, airs live every Monday afternoon at 3:00 locally on Sirius Channel 102. Joining Walters each week is Bill Geddie, executive producer of The View and Walters' many Oscar specials.

And if that weren't enough, fans of Walters can also hear her Best of the Very Best: a selection of her television interviews from the past 30 years. Also on Channel 102, Best airs Mondays for an hour at 3:00, 8:00 and 10:00 AM.

XM, on the other hand, is going for laughs. Literally.
It's called Unmasked, an original comedy interview show airing Saturdays at 5:00 PM on XM Channel 150. George Carlin kicked off the series last month.

The program features candid, one-on-one interviews with both established and emerging comedic talent, focussing on their creative process and the people, places and things that shape their comedy routines.

How do you get Sirius or XM? An easy way is to visit a store that sells the receivers, most of which are then connected to your existing stereo. Many new cars come with satellite radio pre installed, and often come with a free short-term subscription as a way to sample the services.

Satellite television services Dish Network and DirecTV have Sirius and XM, respectively, as part of their service; you can also hear XM on the internet via the free AOL Radio application (, or sign up for a free three-day pass of each at and

Each service has its pros and cons, but I have met few people who don't like one or the other. I personally am a big fan.


John Gilhuly from San Pedro wrote in to mention another station airing A Prarie Home Companion: "Another source for the program in the Inland Empire is KVCR (91.9 FM) Riverside/San Bernardino. They air it on Saturdays at 3 PM with a repeat on Sundays at 7 PM."

Numerous people wrote in to tell me what I should mentioned last week: if you're looking for a special music format that can't be found on traditional radio any longer, look toward the internet and satellite radio.

AOL Radio, iTunes and many, many more services and individual stations can be found on the internet, including Big Bands, Standards (try fifties oldies (, top-40 (iTunes Radio carries and more.

Satellite radio also offers formats you can't find elsewhere, along with "better" versions (very subjectively, of course) of formats you can.

And for those who don't mind gambling just a little, regular radio's HD digital broadcasts offer, in the Los Angeles area at least, Standards (105.1 HD-3), Adult Alternative (93.9 HD-2) and '80s alternative (106.7 HD-2). You need an HD-capable radio to hear these, but in my opinion it is worth it. The Sangean HDT-1 and HDT-1X component tuners are some of the best analog tuners on the market ... and they come with HD as well. Find them on, other online retailers and some local retailers for street prices ranging from $160 - $249.


Copyright © 2007 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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