Will satellite radio kill the radio star?

CRTC approves satellite radio
The CRTC on Thursday approved applications for three subscription-based radio services, but imposed strong Canadian content rules.
“These licences will harness new technologies for Canadians and give Canadian talent exposure to listeners across Canada and indeed, North America…through new Canadian channels and airplay on U.S. channels,” said Charles Dalfen, chairperson of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission.
The commission placed Canadian content rules on two of the services, which include two of the largest U.S. satellite radio companies.
Services from Canadian Satellite Radio and the CBC, partnered with Sirius, must offer:
* At least eight original channels produced in Canada. A maximum of nine foreign channels may be offered for each Canadian channel.
* At least 85% of the musical selections and spoken word programming broadcast on the Canadian channels must be Canadian.
* At least 25% of the Canadian channels must be in the French language.
* At least 25% of the musical selections on the Canadian channels must be new Canadian musical selections.
* A further 25% of the selections must be by emerging Canadian artists.
Canadian Satellite Radio has partnered with Washington-based XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., while the CBC and Standard Broadcasting have partnered with New York-based Sirius.
The third pay service, to be run by CHUM and Montreal-based Astral Media, will use land broadcast towers to broadcast their digital service.
That service must comply with current regulations under the Broadcasting Act, including 35% Canadian content and for French channels, a minimum of 65% French music.
The lobby group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting opposes the decision, saying it may appeal to federal cabinet or through the courts.
“Today’s decision creates a pipeline for U.S. radio programs direct to Canada, with little in return for our country,” said group spokesperson, Ian Morrison.
High-quality, cross-country service
Satellite radio offers commercial-free, near CD-quality sound no matter where listeners are in the country. It’s delivered by a network of satellites, and not through the AM or FM band, which have distance and quality limitations.
Listening to satellite radio requires specialized equipment, such as a receiver for your home or car. In the United States, where satellite radio has been in operation for several years, receivers are a dealer option in some cars.
The proposed subscription fees are around $13 per month.
Laura Nenych, with Ryerson University’s communications department, said the niche channels appeal to people who spend a lot of time in their vehicles, such as commuters or salespeople.