Satellite radio on the air in Canada
Canadian satellite radio has hit the airwaves with the launch of XM Radio Canada and Sirius Canada, which are now broadcasting more than 100 new channels across the country.
Sirius Canada, a partnership between the CBC, Standard Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio U.S., launched Thursday, about a week after the launch of its main competitor XM Radio Canada, owned by former Raptors owner John Bitove and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. of the U.S.
To celebrate its launch, Sirius Canada has planned two concerts that will be broadcast live next week and feature buzzworthy Canadian musicians.
Rockers the Trews and singers Feist, Kathleen Edwards and Ron Sexsmith will perform at Toronto’s Mod Club Dec. 6, with the concert broadcast on Sirius channels CBC Radio 3 and Iceberg. Les Pistolets Roses, Anik Jean and aKido will perform at Montreal’s Spectrum on Dec. 7, with the concert of emerging francophone artists broadcast on Sirius channels Bande ¬´a part, Energie2 and Rock Velours.
While it is too early to gauge the number of actual subscribers, XM Radio Canada says 4,500 interested people signed up to a database before its launch. Sirius Canada says it has received about 7,000 inquiries.
A brief comparison:
XM Radio Canada
Number of channels: more than 80, eight of which are Canadian-produced.
Monthly subscription cost: $12.99.
Receiver cost: prices start at $79.99 (after rebate).
Run by Canadian Satellite Radio in partnership with XM Radio in the U.S.
Number of channels: 100, 10 of which are Canadian produced.
Monthly subscription cost: $14.99.
Receiver cost: prices start at $69.99.
A partnership between the CBC, Standard Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio U.S.
Adoption of satellite radio in the U.S. was slow when XM first introduced its service there four years ago. However, interest has definitely been increasing, with XM estimating it has more than five million subscribers and Sirius calculating it had upwards of 2.1 million in September (Sirius is predicting a dramatic rise in U.S. subscriptions this winter as controversial radio host Howard Stern shifts to satellite radio Jan. 1).
American satellite signals have spilled over into Canadian border regions since the services debuted in the U.S. and a small number of border-dwelling Canadians who wanted to listen purchased receivers from the U.S. However, it wasn’t until June of this year, after two years of meetings, consultations and deliberation, that Canada’s broadcast regulator finally approved three domestic proposals to launch satellite radio here.
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission decision, with its provision that more Canadian content be added to the proposals, was then approved by the federal government in September.
XM Radio Canada offers 17 categories of programming, including 13 musical genres, news and talk channels, sports stations, stand-up comedy and a children’s station. It also offers a channel targeted to truck drivers and has secured a 10-year deal, beginning in 2007, to be the NHL’s exclusive satellite radio broadcast partner.
Sirius Canada offers 60 commercial-free music stations, 12 news and information channels, 10 talk, entertainment and specialty channels and a variety of play-by-play sports programming. Though Sirius U.S. may have fewer subscribers, the Canadian version will benefit from its cousin’s high profile programming, including Martha Stewart Living Radio, Stephen Van Zandt’s Underground Garage, Jimmy Buffet’s Radio Margaritaville and Eminem’s Shade 45.
Sirius Canada officials have said, however, that shock jock Stern will not be in the company’s initial lineup.
Satellite radio on the air in Canada