If there’s one thing I dig about Wednesdays it’s the fact that I get to listen to Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour on XMX Channel 2, home of their exclusive programming, on my merry way to work. It’s one of the few reasons I have XM because Dylan spins some incredible tunes in that hour, many of which I ended up purchasing online.
What made it even better was that XMX played the show all day long in case you missed a portion of it. This was also the case with a few other programs they aired. Theme Time Radio Hour is indeed one of my passions.
So imagine my surprise this morning when I turned on my Pioneer Inno and discovered that when I punched up XMX 2, I got a “No Signal” message and was then kicked back to the channel lineup–a very different channel lineup. Hmm.
I then manually searched for the station and, causing more havoc on the streets than an expectant husband on a cell phone driving his wife to the hospital in a stick-shift, discovered that XMX was no more.
Yay verily, it has finally happened: without any kind of advance notification (save for talk of the “potential merger”), XM and Sirius have joined forces. And I’m none too happy about it–at least for the moment.
Upon further (and not-too-thorough) review, I noticed that many of my favorite presets have either been moved, renamed or in some cases, eliminated altogether. This rather sucks because now I have to sit down and give each station a listen and decide if I want to bookmark it because, quite frankly, the descriptions aren’t all that great on this PDF.
So gone are the channels I’ve known by name such as Lucy, Ethel, Fred and Squizz. In exchange for those, XM subscribers now get much lamer substitutes, 24/7 channels dedicated to Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC and The Grateful-Fucking-Dead, and some bullshit channel called Margaritaville. (An aside: I despise Jimmy Buffett greater than the fury of a thousand asteroids hurtling relentlessly towards planet Earth. And while I’ll stop short of calling him an asshole, I think his music–and this may sound physically impossible–both sucks and blows.)
Also gone is Caricia 93, a station I had just started getting into, which played old-school Spanish “romanticas.” Chrome 83, XM’s disco/dance channel, has also been axed. Ay caramba.
And I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in any other posts, but I’m not a fan of Sirius. I had the chance to extend my 6-month trial on a few new vehicles I’d purchased but opted for ol’ reliable XM instead. Sirius’ catalog seemed lacking at best and one way to prove this was (is?) to listen to their Kids Stuff channel–now called Kids Place Live–and count how many times Laurie Berkner was (is?) played in an hour. Seriously, it was (is?) that bad.
Alas, I knew this was going to eventually happen. It was evident these past few weeks when stations began to broadcast their “off the air” recording as well as being generically referred to as “Sirius/XM radio.” But I don’t think any of us satellite radio subscribers were truly prepared for what we tuned into this morning. With the strangeness of it all I feel really alienated, as if I was shipped in a crate to an unknown city and state with only $5 to survive.
Maybe once I sit down and figure it all out I my mind will change about the merger. But as of now, I’m just one of the many that aren’t pleased.
Way to fuck us all over, guys. I wonder how busy their Cancellation Department is today because it may finally be time to buy that 120GB iPod Classic and load it with every-freaking-thing I own.
Seriously, a Grateful-Fucking-Dead channel? My God, man.
By the way, Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour is back on its original home at Deep Tracks. You now just have to adjust your schedule accordingly to listen or catch an encore.
UPDATE: Here’s my assessment a day after the merger:
Lithium is no Lucy and 1st Wave is no Fred. 1st Wave features a plethora of former KROQ jocks including Richard Blade and Swedish Egil but their delivery all sounds very canned. While I appreciate and even like their music selection, how many times do they need to play The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now?” That song SUCKS!
Alt Nation? Thar she blows!
Where in the hell is my Chrome 83? It seems to have been integrated into The Groove, which was nothing like the old Chrome. Gah.
I used to love XM Chill but I don’t think so anymore. Top Tracks and Big Tracks, another two of my favorites, gave way to Spectrum (blecch), Classic Vinyl (meh) and Classic Rewind (very good). They are nothing like the former, but I’m glad Deep Tracks is still around.
High Standards is now Frank’s Place Siriusly (get it?) Sinatra. I know people love their Sinatra but HOLY FUCK, there’s a limit! I think I’d rather stick flaming Q-Tips in my ears before listening to more than two of his songs.
The consolidation of Aguila, Caricia, and Viva into XM’s existing Caliente channel was very stupid. Each played their own type of music and cramming them into one station was a pretty narrow-minded thing to do. No song ever played on Caricia would be played on Caliente. Bring back my romanticas, you morans!
So as of now, I’m only real happy that Deep Tracks is still kicking, I like 1st Wave’s playlist, and the addition of Classic Rewind was nice. That isn’t quite enough for me to keep my subscription. Stay tuned for more assessments and my final decision.
I’m still scratching my head about Margaritaville and more importantly, how the hell anybody can listen to Jimmy Fucking Buffett–period.
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