Satellite Radio Systems: XM Radio
XM Radio pioneered satellite radio. Starting in October of 1999, they have grown into the industry leader, with over 3 million subscribers. Fortune magazine named XM Radio the "Product of the Year 2001".
With two satellites (XM 'Rock' and XM 'Roll'), XM Radio has 68 channels of commercial-free music, and more than 50 channels of news, sports, talk, and traffic. New channels are continuously added to their lineup.
Their music channels cover a wide range, from pop hits and rock, to country, blues, and classical. The information channel selection includes sports, news, traffic, comedy, children's programs, and entertainment news. For a complete listing, check out the XM Radio Channels section.
Their service also includes three premium channels - High Voltage, Playboy Radio, and XM Radio Online. Major League Baseball will be broadcast exclusively on XM Radio in 2005.
Based in Washington, DC, XM Radio broadcasts from there as well as from New York City and Nashville.
The monthly subscription starts at $12.95/month - the same as Sirius. There are discounts for purchasing annual subscriptions and there is also a subscription plan for satellite radio for businesses. Check out our section on Cost of Subscriptions for more details.
Equipment for receiving XM Radio is manufactured by several leading electronics companies, including Delphi, Pioneer, Alpine, and Sony. XM Radio equipment is available from WalMart, Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears, and Radio Shack franchises. To find out more about where to purchase equipment, see our section on Where To Buy Equipment.
The sound quality is superior to broadcast radio, in an all-digital format. With an additional 800 terrestrial repeaters, the satellite signal is available almost everywhere within the continental US. The radio music is judged to be CD quality.
As radio is listened to in the car by most Americans, XM Satellite Radio is featured in many new cars from GM, Honda, and Accura. The service can also be found on JetBlue and AirTran Airways, as well as in some rental cars from National and Alamo.
XM Radio is a public company, traded on NASDAQ under the symbol XMSR.