Why satellite radio doesn’t make me happier

I love satellite radio.  I listen every day and did not flinch when they raised the price.  Still I cannot help but feel (boo-hoo) it was not designed with me in mind.  I am not completely happy with 70 commercial-free, DJ-driven music stations with no playlists. 

The culprit lies in how the channels are defined.  They have a station for "50s music," or "bluegrass," or "reggae."  They need clear and compelling channel titles to attract subscribers.  And with so many channels at hand, many listeners wish to know what is where when. 

But I don’t care so much about genre or time period per se.  Let’s face it, most music from the 1960s is unlistenable.  I love the best of Jamaican music, but most reggae stinks.  A station that has to cover a genre or time period gives you, in lieu of a least common denominator problem, too many denominators at once.

I would rather have 70 channels with the liberty of experimenting across all possible dimensions.  Even better, how about defining channels by IQ scores?  Number of CDs in your collection?  Personal mood that day?  Best yet, a station: "For people who are convinced that James Brown, Sun Ra, Fela Kuti, Lee Perry, and Pierre Boulez are seminal musical figures of our time."

That is why I am not happier with satellite radio.  I hope soon to relate my experiences with Internet radio and podcasting.


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