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-   -   Why do they talk so much on Sirius XM, and do people actually LIKE it? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=880097)

Just Asking Questions 08-08-2019 12:15 PM

Why do they talk so much on Sirius XM, and do people actually LIKE it?
 
We just got a new car, and it comes with a free trial of Sirius XM.

The one thing we found right away is that, although it is commercial free, it is not talk free. Those "DJs" just love to prattle on. And then there are the endless plugs for the other DJs, as if we know or care who they are or what they have to say. I would say the talk/music ratio is comparable with broadcast radio.

The first question is, why? Why must they talk so much? It's not like they're saying anything. In comparison, Music Choice, which we have on cable, does not talk at all. 24/7/365 of just music.

The second question is, do people actually like it? To us, it makes the channels virtually unlistenable. We keep switching to get music, and the stupid receiver takes like 5 seconds to change channel. We have about 10 channels programmed, and typically 4 are talking at the same time, and three are playing music by the same band.

Or is it just me, showing old man tendencies? What do you all think?

If Music Choice were available for cars, I'd buy it.

FairyChatMom 08-08-2019 12:20 PM

I don't notice lots of talk on The Bridge (ch 32) or Classic Vinyl (ch 26) but 60s on 6, 70s on 7, etc are awful for chatter.

I mostly listen to the classical station (ch 76) and the talk there is actually informative, at least to me.

But all in all, if it was my choice, I wouldn't have SiriusXM at all. Spousal unit, on the other hand...

Sir T-Cups 08-08-2019 12:20 PM

I don't mind it.

They're radio stations after all, even if I'm paying for them. I like the talking because normally they'll give information about the band, who they're going on tour with and when and things like that. They could probably break into the music a bit less, but they're fine with me.

Procrustus 08-08-2019 12:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FairyChatMom (Post 21794880)
I don't notice lots of talk on The Bridge (ch 32) or Classic Vinyl (ch 26) but 60s on 6, 70s on 7, etc are awful for chatter.

My impression also. My blood boils every time they prattle on about how commercial free they are. Even on The Bridge they'll say something stupid like "mixing folk and rock with bands like the Eagles, on the Bridge..." I know what the Bridge is, assholes, I'm listening to it. Just shut up. (But, I agree, it's not as bad as the 70s)

Just Asking Questions 08-08-2019 12:37 PM

Good! It's not just me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by FairyChatMom (Post 21794880)
I mostly listen to the classical station (ch 76) and the talk there is actually informative, at least to me.

yes! The classical channel talks just as much as, and as informative as, our classical NPR station (KBAQ), which is, of course, commercial free. That's the only one so far we can stand.


Remember I'm paying for Music Choice and they do not talk. Ever. It can be done.

Peanuthead 08-08-2019 12:46 PM

I don't have Sirius radio but I think I know what they're doing. They're setting you up for commercials. Once people get used to the much talk/little music format the talking DJs will be replaced with commercials.

kenobi 65 08-08-2019 12:47 PM

It depends entirely on the channel. Particularly the stations like 60s on 6, 70s on 7, and 80s on 8 are actively trying to mimic the feel of a radio station of that era (or, in the case of 80s on 8, MTV), and part of that is the DJ patter.

I can't listen to 60s on 6 when "Cousin Brucie" is DJing, because he talks and talks, and has listeners call in.

And, some stations, like the aforementioned The Bridge, and Yacht Rock Radio, don't have DJs at all, though they do have occasional promotional voiceovers.

kenobi 65 08-08-2019 12:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peanuthead (Post 21794925)
I don't have Sirius radio but I think I know what they're doing. They're setting you up for commercials. Once people get used to the much talk/little music format the talking DJs will be replaced with commercials.

I disagree -- I'm pretty sure that they realize that the moment they start putting commercials into the currently ad-free music channels, they're going to lose subscribers.

Annie-Xmas 08-08-2019 12:50 PM

You don't like talk radio? Surely you can't be liking Sirius!

WildaBeast 08-08-2019 12:53 PM

I bought a brand new car back in late March, which of course came with the free Sirius XM trial. I never listened to it once. My radio is pretty much permanently tuned to the local NPR station (which ironically, given the title of this thread, is nearly all talk). Now I'm getting letters and emails from them saying "Hey, your trial has expired, don't you want to subscribe so you can keep listening?". And I'm like I never listened to it in the first place; there's definitely no way I'd ever pay for it.

jz78817 08-08-2019 01:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions (Post 21794868)
We just got a new car, and it comes with a free trial of Sirius XM.

The one thing we found right away is that, although it is commercial free, it is not talk free. Those "DJs" just love to prattle on. And then there are the endless plugs for the other DJs, as if we know or care who they are or what they have to say. I would say the talk/music ratio is comparable with broadcast radio.

The first question is, why? Why must they talk so much? It's not like they're saying anything. In comparison, Music Choice, which we have on cable, does not talk at all. 24/7/365 of just music.

The second question is, do people actually like it? To us, it makes the channels virtually unlistenable. We keep switching to get music, and the stupid receiver takes like 5 seconds to change channel. We have about 10 channels programmed, and typically 4 are talking at the same time, and three are playing music by the same band.

Or is it just me, showing old man tendencies? What do you all think?

If Music Choice were available for cars, I'd buy it.

I don't mind it. one of the reasons I subscribe to it is to discover bands/musicians, and the "DJs" on the channels I listen to are more like the DJs of old, who know a lot about the music they're playing and often have interesting things to say about them. I'll take that over the 20-25 minutes of ads per hour you get on terrestrial radio.

Dung Beetle 08-08-2019 01:15 PM

I don't mind some of it, like the Buried Treasure show on Tom Petty Radio, or the stuff on the Beatles channel.


However, I am annoyed that they put talk shows on the Broadway channel a couple days a week during my morning drive to work. Sometimes you just need some show tunes to get into the proper mindset, you know?

bump 08-08-2019 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 21794929)
(or, in the case of 80s on 8, MTV), and part of that is the DJ patter.

The 80s on 8 generally has old VJs as the DJs, with a few exceptions. The whole thing has a very Casey Kasem Top 40 kind of feel to it, or at least the weekend thing where they play the top 40 for that particular week back in some year in the 1980s does.

But overall, I think they could dial the DJ patter back by half and not lose anything.

txjim 08-08-2019 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FairyChatMom (Post 21794880)
I don't notice lots of talk on The Bridge (ch 32) or Classic Vinyl (ch 26) but 60s on 6, 70s on 7, etc are awful for chatter.

I suspect these stations are trying to recreate the radio/DJ experience from the era they represent. They (claim to) take requests, chat with callers and talk with performers from the era.

80s on 8 feature VJs from the early days of MTV for the same reason.

RealityChuck 08-08-2019 01:29 PM

Some channels (not the music ones) already have commercials. Radio classics has them between shows (not just vintage ones). I also have run across them on some of the game broadcasts.

But I find the DJs interesting and usually informative.* It is radio, after all, and music radio always had a DJ introducing the songs and talking a bit about them.

BTW, has anyone tried their new online player? It's part of the regular subscription. I'm impressed with two things about it: when you pause the stream, it picks up the song you were listening to when you play again, and if you choose a channel, it starts the listed song at the beginning.

*Big exception: the Sixties channel with the execrable Cousin Brucie, who was awful back in the day and no better now.

Jasmine 08-08-2019 01:32 PM

With Amazon Prime music or Pandora available, I can't understand why anyone would pay for Sirius.

Sir T-Cups 08-08-2019 01:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jasmine (Post 21795017)
With Amazon Prime music or Pandora available, I can't understand why anyone would pay for Sirius.

Because they aren't in my car and also won't destroy my data by streaming them

Procrustus 08-08-2019 01:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jasmine (Post 21795017)
With Amazon Prime music or Pandora available, I can't understand why anyone would pay for Sirius.

POTUS channel. MLB games. Beatles channel. A variety of NPR (and/or right wing stations if you like). CNN. And probably a bunch of stuff people like that I don't even know about.

I have Pandora (but not Amazon Prime) and I sometimes will stream Pandora music in my car. Usually I can find something good on Sirius XM. I hardly ever listen to AM or FM in my car anymore.

Joey P 08-08-2019 01:48 PM

I think my daughter has gotten sick of hearing me yell "OMG, just play a song" at the radio.
I understand they're DJs, but they could really cut the talking way down. For the majority of the DJs a few seconds between songs would be plenty. I'd be more than happy if there wasn't even a live DJ to begin with, just have a computer run through a random or preset playlist.

Having said that, there are some I don't mind. Nina Blackwood has a lot of good stories. Meg Griffin comes to mind as someone that hasn't annoyed me yet and I'm quite sure there's a few others.

I see Cousin Brucie mentioned upthread. Can't stand him or his New Jersey/New York accent and if that weren't enough he never shuts up. But he seems to have quite a following and the people calling in seem thrilled to talk to him. I normally just pick another station while he's talking and then flip back since I do like the music he plays.

kenobi 65 08-08-2019 01:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bump (Post 21794992)
The 80s on 8 generally has old VJs as the DJs, with a few exceptions.

In fact, the four DJs on 80s on 8 are the four surviving original MTV VJs: Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Nina Blackwood. (The other original VJ, J.J. Jackson, died in 2004.) I listen to that station quite often, and I don't remember hearing anyone else DJing on it, other than '80s musicians as guest DJs (though I suppose that they may have had emergency fill-ins here and there).

kenobi 65 08-08-2019 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 21795010)
Some channels (not the music ones) already have commercials. Radio classics has them between shows (not just vintage ones). I also have run across them on some of the game broadcasts.

The stations on which I hear commericals are, as you note, primarily the non-music ones. SiriusXM does simulcasts of a number of TV networks (e.g., CNN, Fox News, msnbc), as well as rebroadcasting the local or national radio feeds for sporting events; when those stations or feeds go into commercial break, the SiriusXM brodcast does, too.

However, what I note is that the ads on the rebroadcasts of TV networks are clearly placed their by SiriusXM (lots of ads for health insurance and income tax assistance: "Don't mess with the IRS!"), timed to fill the space that the TV network is running its own ads. The ads on the SiriusXM-owned talk stations, like their NFL Talk station, tend to be the same sorts of ads (which are clearly focused on men age 50+ :D ).

OTOH, the simulcasts of, say, NFL games are often from the local radio networks for the teams, and include the local ads (which gives a fun slice of what things are like in that area).

jz78817 08-08-2019 02:32 PM

commercials have been on the non-music stations for quite some time.

FlikTheBlue 08-08-2019 02:45 PM

I listen because of the DJs. The channels I listen to all have DJs who lived through the era and know many of the musicians on their channel personally (80s VJs, Downtown Julie Brown on the 90s, Nancy Sinatra on Siriusly Sinatra) or are experts in some way in the music the my play (Preston Trombly on Symphony Hall is a classically trained musician and composer). I find listening to them enhances the experience.

Dag Otto 08-08-2019 02:57 PM

I'm not a fan of SiriusXM, but the wife is so we have it. I have two main complaints. First, the audio quality of the music is really atrocious due to high compression. I thought the tweeters in my car were defective, but playing CDs or streaming FLAC or even 320 Mbps mp3 files sounded great. It's the satellite signal that sucks.The second is that I don't like the actual programming, it seems as if rather than having a library of a few million tracks (like Spotify) they have a library of thousands of tracks. To me it sounds repetitive.

But if you like it, do yourself a favor and compare the sound quality of the streaming SiriusXM app (which can be set to a good sounding bitrate) vs the sound quality of the satellite signal. If you don't mind the data use, it's worth streaming SiriusXM.

Pork Rind 08-08-2019 03:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dag Otto (Post 21795175)
I'm not a fan of SiriusXM, but the wife is so we have it. I have two main complaints. First, the audio quality of the music is really atrocious due to high compression. I thought the tweeters in my car were defective, but playing CDs or streaming FLAC or even 320 Mbps mp3 files sounded great. It's the satellite signal that sucks.The second is that I don't like the actual programming, it seems as if rather than having a library of a few million tracks (like Spotify) they have a library of thousands of tracks. To me it sounds repetitive.

Well you and I are in lockstep on this. My wife has had SiriusXM in her last couple cars, so I was well aware of the quality issues. Now that my new car has the same service, I find myself counting the number of repeats and thinking about dropping my plan.

Procrustus 08-08-2019 03:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dag Otto (Post 21795175)
I'm not a fan of SiriusXM, but the wife is so we have it. I have two main complaints. First, the audio quality of the music is really atrocious due to high compression.

I grew up with AM radio and cassette tapes in my car, on terrible speakers. To me, the satellite music in my car sounds amazing. Of course, I have old ears.

control-z 08-08-2019 03:30 PM

It varies a lot based on the station. Ozzy's Boneyard hardly seems to have any talk. Outlaw Country has some pretty amusing DJs like Mojo Nixon, Steve Earle, and Johnny Knoxville that I don't mind hearing. The nice thing is I have 27 channels programmed in, so if a DJ gets too chatty I just change to another channel.

FairyChatMom 08-08-2019 03:34 PM

I was beginning to think there was some kind of payola going on, what with constant repetitions ofVan Morrison's Moondance and Steely Dan's Deacon Blues. Both of them seemed to play every single time my husband and I went somewhere.

I used to listen to the comedy channels a lot, but even they play the same bits over and over and over again. I'm enjoying the classical a lot, and I'll listen to the public radio channels as long as it's not Fresh Air. But if I lost it tomorrow, I'd just listen to my local-est NPR station or I'd haul my CDs with me. Yes, I'm that far behind the times. :D

Sir T-Cups 08-08-2019 03:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FairyChatMom (Post 21795274)
I used to listen to the comedy channels a lot, but even they play the same bits over and over and over again.

I had to stop listening to the comedy channels because I felt like they had only 3 different bits and just repeated them over and over again. What was even more annoying is playing the same bit from two different shows so it's different, but juuuuuuuust barely

BobLibDem 08-08-2019 04:02 PM

I like it so I can listen to MSNBC and Yankee baseball. I'm not a huge audiophile so the sound quality is lost on me, the 60s and 70s channels are my faves but sometimes I'll go to Elvis or Beatles or Bluesville. It may be a little pricey but my wife and I both like it.

KneadToKnow 08-08-2019 04:06 PM

When I have access to satellite radio (i.e., when I'm in a rental car that comes with it), I listen almost exclusively to one of the comedy channels, so I guess I actually prefer talking to music.

boffking 08-08-2019 05:29 PM

I've found that the news/comedy/sports channels on SiriusXM do entirely too much self-promotion. Bloomberg is one of the worst for this, they spend about as much time bragging about being Bloomberg as they do on reading the news.

Procrustus 08-08-2019 05:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FairyChatMom (Post 21795274)
I was beginning to think there was some kind of payola going on, what with constant repetitions ofVan Morrison's Moondance and Steely Dan's Deacon Blues. Both of them seemed to play every single time my husband and I went somewhere.

I noticed a big increase in Elton John songs about the time Rocketman came out. Both on the Bridge and 70s channel. (you could say it's confirmation bias, but I actually noticed it before I was even aware the movie had just come out)

Llama Llogophile 08-08-2019 05:57 PM

I used to be in the radio industry and worked as a DJ at a fairly powerful station in the mid 90s.

There was a strong sense at the time that it was a dying industry, at least for on-air talent if your name wasn’t Howard Stern or Don Imus. I felt my job was mostly to introduce and re-state the songs (I know I hate it when I hear something I like and then can’t find out what it was), take some requests and occasionally run a contest. I kept it very short, and my bosses liked that.

When satellite radio came to the fore I thought that would be it for DJs because the system identifies the songs right there on the screen. But no, we’re back to mindless DJ chatter and I find it just as useless as everyone else. The moment I hear them jump in I’m doing the quick draw to change the station.

I was perfectly accepting of that job going the way of the dinosaur, even when I was doing it. Kind of sucks when we get technological advances that come with a step backward to accommodate the human desire for... I don’t know... inoffensive background chatter? It annoys the hell out of me.

Railer13 08-08-2019 06:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by control-z (Post 21795265)
The nice thing is I have 27 channels programmed in, so if a DJ gets too chatty I just change to another channel.

This. It's easy to change the station with the button on the steering wheel. I can find something I like within a few seconds.

Dag Otto 08-08-2019 06:10 PM

It's not just SiriusXM. I recently had a 6 month free trial to Apple music and their Beats 1 radio was about 90% mindless DJ chatter, made worse by the fact that they had British DJs to up the irritation factor to 11. Not sure how Apple expected anyone to pay for that.

Pork Rind 08-08-2019 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dag Otto (Post 21795544)
It's not just SiriusXM. I recently had a 6 month free trial to Apple music and their Beats 1 radio was about 90% mindless DJ chatter, made worse by the fact that they had British DJs to up the irritation factor to 11. Not sure how Apple expected anyone to pay for that.

I'm a huge fan of Apple Music and think it's an incredible value for me, and I never listen to any of the live radio stations. It's the endless variety of playlists and the size of the library that works for me.

Just Asking Questions 08-08-2019 06:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Railer13 (Post 21795541)
This. It's easy to change the station with the button on the steering wheel. I can find something I like within a few seconds.

Ours seems to take many seconds to change channels. It is by no means instantaneous.

In the old days of push button manual mechanical car radios I think they changed faster than that. Why is technology regressing? I guess that's fodder for another thread.

RealityChuck 08-08-2019 07:09 PM

It certainly depends on the DJ. Earl Bailey, Michael Des Barres, and Meg Griffin are entertaining, and Steve Van Zandt is fascinating, telling obscure stories about the history of rock. For a while, Andrew Loog Oldham had a show that covered a lot about the UK music scene in the 60s.
Tom Petty use to have a pretty good show of his favorites.

On the other side of the coin, Drew Carey is awful. Good song choices, but he rambles as though he never thought of what he was going to say.

Cell Guy 08-08-2019 07:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jasmine (Post 21795017)
With Amazon Prime music or Pandora available, I can't understand why anyone would pay for Sirius.

I just called them to cancel my subscription. Between YouTube Music, MLB At Bat and Apple Music (the last is free through Verizon) I have no need for satellite radio. They kept offering lower prices for the same channels and I kept saying no. They finally offered me five months free which I accepted.

With a business plan like that Iím surprised they havenít gone under.

Little Nemo 08-08-2019 07:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 21794929)
It depends entirely on the channel. Particularly the stations like 60s on 6, 70s on 7, and 80s on 8 are actively trying to mimic the feel of a radio station of that era (or, in the case of 80s on 8, MTV), and part of that is the DJ patter.

They're charging people for their service and then intentionally imitating the radio station experience people can get for free? Seems like a bad business model.

People pay to hear music. Nobody pays to hear DJ's.

kayT 08-08-2019 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 21795631)
It certainly depends on the DJ. Earl Bailey, Michael Des Barres, and Meg Griffin are entertaining, and Steve Van Zandt is fascinating, telling obscure stories about the history of rock. For a while, Andrew Loog Oldham had a show that covered a lot about the UK music scene in the 60s.
Tom Petty use to have a pretty good show of his favorites.

On the other side of the coin, Drew Carey is awful. Good song choices, but he rambles as though he never thought of what he was going to say.

You just beat me to it; Earl Bailey ad Meg Griffin are very knowledgeable about the music they play and I enjoy listening to them. Same with all the DJs I have heard on Margaritaville, tho the women all sound similar as do the men so I'm never sure who I'm listening to. I do agree they play all the same songs a lot. However, I love the BB King Bluesville channel as there's lots of stuff that's new to me. Probably it's equally repetitious but since it's new to me I don't mind. So far.

As for the listening-on-the-computer, I need to get that going so I can get some of the Dead shows. (Can you actually listen to all the same channels on line? I got the impression that it was only certain select things.)

seal_cleaner 08-08-2019 07:34 PM

I agree, too much chatter, but my wife and I love classic country. Not many other sources for that.
I listened to Cousin Brucie on WABC in NY in the sixties. He’s become a real bore.

romansperson 08-08-2019 09:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions (Post 21795612)
Ours seems to take many seconds to change channels. It is by no means instantaneous.

In the old days of push button manual mechanical car radios I think they changed faster than that. Why is technology regressing? I guess that's fodder for another thread.

This is probably an issue with your particular setup. I live in the boonies and if I want to change the station, it's pretty much instantaneous. I get the Mostly Music package and am thrilled with the choices.

I've had Sirius (and now SiriusXM) for years, first because it's so much easier for road trips, and second because terrestrial radio in my area is awful. For some reason the few stations that play music that I like here insist on having those moronic morning shows, so I'd get tons of hyuk hyuk drivel and almost no music at all during a 30-40 minute commute into work. I am glad to still have a CD player, but it only plays one disk at a time so I'd rather not fuss with it while driving.

nightshadea 08-08-2019 09:21 PM

heh i listen to 95.5 KLOS in la where you will often get encyclopedic knowledge on a song the album the group who played the album the writer of the song and anything else that the dj might know about it so youd hear a song every 10 minutes or so ... or youd hear an 45-60 minute album and 2 hours of discussion ...


In fact it used to be that if you didn't know anything about what they played you simply didn't get hired ......they wanted people whos knowledge of rock could be on jeopardy ..(even mark and brian have extensive knowledge of rock history)

kenobi 65 08-08-2019 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 21795647)
They're charging people for their service and then intentionally imitating the radio station experience people can get for free? Seems like a bad business model.

To be clear: on a small number of their stations, they are intentionally imitating the experience of listening to a radio station that was contemporary to the music that's being played on that station (though, without the ads).

kenobi 65 08-08-2019 10:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by romansperson (Post 21795804)
This is probably an issue with your particular setup. I live in the boonies and if I want to change the station, it's pretty much instantaneous. I get the Mostly Music package and am thrilled with the choices.

I agree -- it sounds like an issue with Just Asking Questions' radio. I've had SiriusXM in two cars, and in a number of rental cars, and getting a new station's signal has nearly never taken more than a second.

kenobi 65 08-08-2019 10:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayT (Post 21795658)
(Can you actually listen to all the same channels on line? I got the impression that it was only certain select things.)

I think that there may be a small handful of channels, at most, that you can't get via online streaming. OTOH, they also offer a lot of additional channels that you can only get online, so there's that.

Spoons 08-09-2019 12:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 21795886)
To be clear: on a small number of their stations, they are intentionally imitating the experience of listening to a radio station that was contemporary to the music that's being played on that station (though, without the ads).

This, exactly. I love the 60s and 70s channels precisely because the hosts bring back the days of Top 40s radio with their patter. Best of all, there are no ads. The hosts don't go on very long--their airchecks never seem to be over fifteen seconds, tops, and are often shorter; and then we're back to music.

I will agree with the others who feel that Cousin Brucie is well past his Best Before date. When he comes on, I just flip up to the 70s or 80s.

jz78817 08-09-2019 04:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 21795889)
I agree -- it sounds like an issue with Just Asking Questions' radio. I've had SiriusXM in two cars, and in a number of rental cars, and getting a new station's signal has nearly never taken more than a second.


whatever radio JAQ's car has just sounds like the software running on it is garbage. There's no real thing as a "station" for SiriusXM; you're not changing the frequency the tuner is receiving when you select a channel. the signal is just one big encrypted digital stream, and selecting a "channel" is just telling the MCU which bits of the stream to pick out, decode, and play for you.


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