We debate satellite radio -- EW's guide to the pros and cons of XM and other services

Finally ready to leap into satellite? XM and Sirius provide distinct programming, which should make it easy to choose, right? Well…


PROS: Slightly better at covering every conceivable subgenre. Deeper playlists full of newcomers and delightful obscurities. (In the last hour, I discovered Jackie Greene on X Country, Martha Redbone on The Flow, and Ace Frehley’s cover of ”Do Ya” on The Boneyard.) Exclusive sports include baseball and NASCAR. And we love their recordable/ portable handheld units.

CONS: Fewer hard-rock channels. And obscurities aren’t always a good thing (REO Speedwagon rarities, anyone?).


PROS: Arguably, Howard Stern. Pro sports like the NFL and NBA. Beats XM when it comes to eclectic, personality-driven music channels (and star DJs, like Vin Scelsa). Little Steven oversees two rowdy presets we couldn’t live without: Underground Garage (hail the Dictators!) and Outlaw Country (a gamut running from David Allan Coe to Bob Dylan).

CONS: Arguably, Howard Stern. They’re missing a few genres XM covers, including Americana and neo-soul.


Both have brilliant programming, with channels for everything from bluegrass to Broadway to reggaeton. So, sorry?it’s a tie. In a world full of no-win situations, relish one of life’s few can’t-lose conundrums.