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Bob's Not Sirius
August 4, 2004 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Bob Edwards will return to the airwaves in October, via satellite. XM, to be specific.
posted by PinkStainlessTail (23 comments total)

 
"They said, 'you can swear on XM radio.' No shit, because no one can hear it. You can swear in the woods, too." -Mitch Hedberg
posted by kevspace at 7:46 AM on August 4, 2004


I thought it was very strange how NPR reported the story.
posted by coelecanth at 8:23 AM on August 4, 2004


"for a mere 9.99 a month, plus 99 bucks for an XM satellite radio receiver,"

Does anyone actually own this?
posted by Outlawyr at 8:33 AM on August 4, 2004


I thought it was very strange how NPR reported the story.

I agree completely. The style of the report is so stilted and worded so carefully as to seem detached, that it out's itself.

I can only think that the entire guise was to 'casually' mention that it was his choice not to accept the senior correspondent (sibera) post , hoping that he wouldn't badmouth them on the XM..
posted by jazzkat11 at 8:54 AM on August 4, 2004


My brother has XM, Outlawyr. He drives a lot, so it's worth it to him to never have to worry about what station to listen to. I can't see getting it for myself, though.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:11 AM on August 4, 2004


Does anyone actually own this?

While its not a huge market, there are over 2 million XM subscribers. And trust me, satellite radio is exponentially better than regular radio.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:23 AM on August 4, 2004


It's coming standard on more car models every year, but you still have to pay the monthly fee I imagine.

Apparently my next car (Accord Hybrid) will have it. Could be nice for our frequent road trips, but that probably still doesn't justify it.
posted by obfusciatrist at 9:32 AM on August 4, 2004


So what's so great about Bob Edwards? I used to listen to him back in high school but he seemed like just another newscaster to me.
posted by gyc at 9:58 AM on August 4, 2004


Satellite radio is a great idea, but in my experience the content is really really questionable.

I've spent about a month driving rental cars that had XM, and for the most part I was just amazed at how many different channels of crap it had.

That being said, I'm going to pick up Sirius one of these days just to see if its better. At least it has NPR instead of Fox News.
posted by mosch at 10:10 AM on August 4, 2004


I just can't imagine paying for radio. My mind cannot grasp that one. Oh well, thanks for the info
posted by Outlawyr at 10:34 AM on August 4, 2004


So what's so great about Bob Edwards?

He was great enough that I dropped NPR like a hot turd when they fired him from his morning show. On the two occassions when I accidentally brought it up, I heard some bubble-headed simp do a "hard news" story mocking Schwarzenegger's accent and some frivolous story this week's teeny-bopper icon. I am evidently no longer in their demographic, since I prefer to hear substantive reporting on significant events. Bob Edwards was a great way to start the day.

As for XM; I've heard conflicting stories about the amount of influence Clear Channel has (or potentially has) over it due to the amount of stock they own (or owned). Though it appears that they are not currently dictating policy, it also appears that they are positioning themselves to take it over in a matter of moments if the need arises. If this information is false, I'd love to hear otherwise. That keeps me from having anything to do with them. Even if it means getting my beloved Bob Edwards back.
posted by RavinDave at 10:43 AM on August 4, 2004


I was thinking about getting XM before (I go on a lot of long road trips) but this cinches it. Why not pay for radio that doesn't suck? I pay for TV that doesn't suck.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:25 AM on August 4, 2004


what's so great about Bob Edwards
Exactly. I was a daily listener to Edwards-era Morning Edition and I continue to be a daily listener. The content hasn't changed significantly, but now the broadcasters sound like they give a shit. However, I guess if XM breathes new vigor into Bob Edwards, then he might be worth seeking out.
posted by found missing at 11:36 AM on August 4, 2004


Why not pay for radio that doesn't suck? I pay for TV that doesn't suck.

Because part of the reason traditional radio sucks so badly is corporations (Clear Channel) have been allowed to destroy programing quality and diminish its usefulness as a publicly owned good?

Destroy the commons . . . to create a demand for an "improved" private solution.

Of course I'm sure that XM radio might possibly be great at meeting demands that traditional radio (when it is functioning like it should and useful as a public good) cannot satisfy such as very niche programming, etc. My 2 cents anyway.

Oh yeah, Bob Edwards is great, but NPR . . not so much anymore.
posted by Boydrop at 11:53 AM on August 4, 2004


...but now the broadcasters sound like they give a shit.

Hmmm... I still listen every day, because nothing reliably available in this area even comes close. But I guess I don't know what you're talking about. "Sound like they give a shit"? What does that mean?

I do know that Bob Edwards could pronounce all the words. I also could count on him not subjecting me to the quaint discomfort of listening to a broadcaster explaining that the "Chrissy Hinds" whose birthday was just announced is a "popular singer."

Boydrop: 'Nuff to make a body cynical...
posted by lodurr at 4:38 PM on August 4, 2004


Not to get all Pepsi Blue on this post, but I recently got XM (after hearing my father expound on the virtues of Sirius for a year) and have been thrilled with it. I'm in it for the music. Given the choice between a handful of commercial-saturated Clear Channel stations with short, mainstream playlists over the air and XM's dozens of commercial free channels playing an incredible diversity of music, I have to say that the justification for paying for radio seems clear.

RavinDave - I too have heard murmurings about Clear Channel involvement, but as far as I can tell, they only own a small percentage of XM stock. If you want real numbers, the best I can find is that CC, GM, and DirecTV invested a combined $250M back in '99, a fraction of XM's $4.7B market cap. I've heard that CC has since sold off some of that investment, but I don't have a source for that handy.

mosch - If you're looking for talk radio, NPR, etc., then Sirius is worth investigating, though this Bob Edwards announcment makes XM more competitve on that front. Sirius has Fox as well, and both feature left and right talk channels.The biggest problem they have from my experience is that their music channel playlists are extremely shallow. Some songs are played four or five times a day. There are those who like hearing the familiar hits in a given genre, but repetition and lack of new music is something that drove me away from FM.

Outlawyr - I can't help but think that there are people who once said the same thing about paying for TV. JoanArkham and Boydrop are right. XM's music programming is like HBO for radio, in terms of programming quality and diversity as well as lack of commercial interruptions. I can absolutely envision satellite becoming for radio what cable has become for TV, unless some other technology (like nationwide wi-fi) can manage to unseat it.

Some links for interested folks:

XM Homepage

Sirius homepage (They offer a free three-day trial via streaming audio.)

XMFan Forums
XM411 Forums

Sirius Backstage Forums
posted by Fourmyle at 5:18 PM on August 4, 2004


Oooh... it'll carry "This American Life" as well. I have been thinking about XM for awhile now, and this just about clinches it for me.
posted by Fofer at 5:49 PM on August 4, 2004


XM is definitely worth it, according to people I know who have it (but then, it's in their BMW, so that indicates something). Think of it like HBO vs. regular TV. One of the major reasons is Fred, which is really good (about as good as that really good AOR station you used to listen to before Clear Channel got hold of it -- and remember, no ads). Fans are obsessive. XM comes with a receiver that shows you the song, the album, etc. just like your MP3 player, and in some models you can skip back to see previous songs.

Nevertheless, they're bleeding red ink.
posted by dhartung at 11:32 PM on August 4, 2004


Part of the problem might be their marketing. On two separate occassions at BestBuy, I got clerks who gave me blank stares when I asked about setting Satellite radio up at home. As far as they were concerned, I might have been speaking Bulgarian. They assumed that everyone who bought it wanted it for their car (and the cardboard display pretty much pushed that aspect).
posted by RavinDave at 12:19 AM on August 5, 2004


Never bother communicating with any human at Best Buy. The XM site explains how to set it up at home, or you can buy a boombox that the radio bit just pops in and out of.
posted by JoanArkham at 5:25 AM on August 5, 2004


lodurr: My point is that there are two Bob Edwards. There is the Bob Edwards of Morning Edition the past couple of years: Disengaged, with a lack of affect, and seemingly with his mind elsewhere while doing interviews. Then there is the post-Morning Edition book-tour Bob Edwards: Engaged and engaging, obviously paying attention, and showing a great deal of affect. Bob Edwards has a great voice, he can pronounce words, but he clearly needed a change.
posted by found missing at 6:59 AM on August 5, 2004


I don't pay for TV either. Cable? Feh.
posted by Outlawyr at 8:48 AM on August 5, 2004


"He was great enough that I dropped NPR like a hot turd when they fired him from his morning show. On the two occassions when I accidentally brought it up, I heard some bubble-headed simp do a "hard news" story mocking Schwarzenegger's accent and some frivolous story this week's teeny-bopper icon." (ravindave)

I heard Edwards - discussing his firing on NPR - say : "Well, it's their station". He didn't clarify who "they" were. But, he didn't feel enfranchised, that was clear.

Public Radio : only 75% ( closer to 70% every day ! ) propaganda - so much better than Fox that you'll gratefully shell out the dough.
posted by troutfishing at 10:45 PM on August 6, 2004


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