Reader John Pavlica Jr. writes in:
"Hello Paul, I like how Mel Karmazin does his math since the hostile take-over of XM by Sirius last year. The royalty fees, that we all hate, are indeed charged to the satrad companies, and it will increase ONE-HALF of ONE PERCENT this year and each year for next three, but Mel is raising the rates 15.3% instead.
"Paul, this is on top of the extra $2/month he increased the ‘extra’ radios on the plan, and this is in addition to the fee charged for the once-free online listening. If the rates increases that he lied to the FCC wasn’t bad enough, he never did deliver the four free channels on each service that was promised within 90 days. He never did go through with 'a la carte' programming package for existing customers (and claims that only one Sirius radio can do it when he knows damn well that every XM radio has the capability to have channels blocked, hence a la carte can be done tomorrow). Only one radio has both services available, but only one at a time, not seamless. So Mel has pretty much lied about all his promises to the FCC. If this isn’t enough, let’s talk content.
"The XM music channels used to be programmed by music lovers; now they are under the Gestapo control of Jon Zellner who believes in only playing songs that ‘everybody knows’ over and over again. The decades program directors and most on-air personalities were fired when the merger occurred. The decades channels (XM4-9) (ie: '70s on 7, '80s on 8 etc) used to have huge playlists, over 2,000 songs each, and you heard songs with the “wow” factor, as in “Wow, I haven’t heard that song in 10 years, that’s one of my favorites." Now we get approximately the same 480 songs over and over again – and they repeat faster than terrestrial radio since there are no stop-sets. Needless to say, I used to love the music on XM, now I’m a disgruntled customer who feels that XM/Sirius could care less what we, the paying music customers want to hear. I was among the 400,000 subscribers that cancelled last quarter, and a second XM radio goes dead this month. Now I will have useless XM hardware, come July 1.
"That leads me to my HD radios, also becoming useless hardware as nobody is doing anything decent with their HD-2 streams locally.
"Radio -- AM, FM and XM -- has frustrated me so much, that I will return to the under-appreciated MiniDisc player for my music, or succumb to the evil iPod empire that I have fought-off for so long because of the love that I once had for radio broadcasting."
John signs his note "Disgruntled in Toledo."