November 12th, 2008
12:20 PM ET
Yesterday at 4 p.m. ET, XM ‘60s channel DJ Pat Clarke signed off his radio show, paying tribute to “Mother Radio” and playing Mary Hopkin’s “Goodbye.”
As of today, XM is now Sirius XM.
It’ll take some getting used to. The thing about radio - and something many of the personalities on XM understood - is that it’s the most familiar of mass media, with that feeling the DJ is talking directly to you. Nothing was more off-putting, in the days when I listened to broadcast radio, than to have my favorite station change DJs or (worse) change formats. (Which is one of many reasons I don’t listen to broadcast radio anymore.)
So, for an XM subscriber and fan like me, that means getting used to the changes. No more XMX, where I could listen to Bob Dylan’s “Theme Time Radio Hour” all day long on Wednesdays. (It’ll still air on Channel 40.) No more Pat Clarke or John Clay. No more hearing the guys on Soul Street argue about the best songs from Philadelphia International. And my wife is upset that Jonathan Schwartz has been pushed off the Sinatra beat (though, apparently, not entirely).
I’m a little leery of the Sirius takeover, if only because - in my admittedly limited experience - the playlists seem narrower, the sound a little slicker. On the other hand, I now have “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” and Vin Scelsa. And perhaps the new “classic alternative” channel – retitled 1st Wave - won’t play the Cure, Depeche Mode and New Order every third song the way XM’s Fred did.
We’ll see if it works out. Yes, music radio isn’t necessary anymore - there’s always the CD player or the iPod connection - but there’s something to be said for having a trusted friend (and that’s what radio personalities become) take you through the day with some good music and entertaining chatter.
Goodbye, XM. And hello?
So send in your thoughts, comments or complaints. We’ll revisit the topic Thursday with some of the best responses.
– Todd Leopold, CNN Entertainment Producer
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