Hooniverse Asks: Do You Subscribe to Satellite Radio?

These days when you buy a new car, or sometimes when you rent one, you’re invited to join an exclusive club of Satellite Radio listeners. In the U.S. there’s only one SAT Radio option as Sirius has absorbed its only competitor, XM to create the imaginatively named SiriusXM. The idea behind giving you a free trial when you get a new car, or a small taste in that otherwise unremarkable rental drone, is to whet your appetite for more commercial-free candor. That more however, costs an astounding $14.99-plus per month. 
Now, there’s a lot to like with satellite radio, its lack of commercials, vast niche content and freedom from FCC censorship requirements being among the foremost. Contrastingly, most terrestrial radio in America these days is noteworthy for just how awful it is, a symptom of its present monopolistic nature. That can drive many of us to alternatives for our drive time listening, to Podcasts, streaming services (which also cost plenty) or to satellite.
Our question for you today is in which bucket do you presently fall? Do you tough it out with Clear Channel on good old over the air, or have you taken the financial plunge into the wild world of satellite? If you have gone satellite, what are your favorite stations?
Image: Land Rover USA 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

56 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: Do You Subscribe to Satellite Radio?”

  1. onrails Avatar

    Pandora, podcasts, and the iPod… no need for Sirius/XM.

  2. Jason Mehrvarz Avatar
    Jason Mehrvarz

    Howard Stern. Satellite is a must-have.

    1. Douche_McGee Avatar


    2. Tiberiuswise Avatar

      I do about 20,000 miles a year in the car. After the 6 month subscription runs out in my company car I pop in the Sportster car dock and Hit ’em with the Hein. My only regret is that I didn’t pay the $500 for lifetime service. Hey now.

  3. Mister Sterling Avatar
    Mister Sterling

    Yeah, and I am probably a sucker. But at least I took advantage of a ‘Depression Special’ back in 2009: Sirius XM in my car for as long as the car is on the road for $500. That was a no-brainer. In recent years, my wife prefers podcasts to Sirius. But I am strongly considering paying $13 / month for satellite radio in my next car. It’s a good network. And I don’t even drive every week. I use Google Play Music every day, which is on-demand and has better audio quality. But I can’t get that in my car yet.

  4. Alff Avatar

    Bwahaha. Rob, you slay me.

  5. I_Borgward Avatar

    I already pay $$$ every month for an iPhone with lots of memory, iTunes and a data plan. Why would I pay even more just to be in the SiriusXM walled garden?
    Along the same line, why pay big bux for factory sat nav that will be obsolete in few years when my phone always has the latest info?
    For that matter, why keep a separate alarm clock, land line, calculator, or snapshot camera?
    Clearly, if I ever lose that thing, I’ll be in trouble.

  6. Lokki Avatar

    I have it in my car; BMW includes the first year free. I’ve listened to it off and on. I don’t know where people get the idea that it’s commercial free- a LOT of it isn’t commercial free. It’s not gabby-mouthed DJ free either. Yeah, there’s the Grateful Dead channel, and the Tom Petty channel, and God knows who else’s channel, but I haven’t found a home anywhere yet. Howard Stern ….? Nah.
    My car has AM/FM, CD, Satellite, a built-in 200 GB hard-drive for storing music, an iPod hooked up, Tune-In internet radio, and Pandora. That makes for a lot of entertainment choice.
    I just don’t find anything compelling about Satellite. Internet radio gives me plenty of variety, and the CD/Hard Drive/iPod give me almost endless music without commercial interruption.
    So, I may or may not resubscribe. Not expensive, but not really worth it either.

  7. Douche_McGee Avatar

    I pay because of Howard Stern, but only ever listen through the app
    And NEVER pay their full price – call and threaten to cancel, and they’ll give you a better rate.

    1. Jason Mehrvarz Avatar
      Jason Mehrvarz

      That is exactly what I do except for the threatening to cancel part.

      1. Fred Talmadge Avatar
        Fred Talmadge

        No other service lets you do this. And it’s a pain in the butt so after about 6 months I gave up. Spotify, Soundcloud and more are free. I miss MLB but I could subscribe to that if I had the broadband.

  8. Sjalabais Avatar

    The FM net is going offline in Norway these days and we have invested in two DAB+ radios, the new, antiquated network we’re supposed to use. One of them I have managed to break while cleaning the HVAC system – chlorine water and electric circuits don’t match up well – and the other one works in about half of the tunnels we frequent all the time. I don’t listen to radio because the constant jabbing makes me tired. But I appreciated the wealth of channels the Sirius radio offered in my Canadian rental ten years ago.

  9. TimothyOnline Avatar

    Spa (Ambient / New Age), Watercolors (contemporary jazz), Classic Rewind (70s-80s rock), Classic Vinyl (60s-70s rock) and the dreaded Fox News Channel.

    1. TimothyOnline Avatar

      It’s an expense but music is life. I wouldn’t have discovered half of the artists I know now w/o SiriusXM.

  10. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    I use satellite when I’m having connectivity problems with my toaster.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Brilliant. Just…how did you take this picture with the toaster already occupied?

      1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

        I used my microwave. Duh.

        1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

          All joking aside. If I had $1.00 for every time someone saw I was using my Sportster hardwired into a receiver and said, “Alex, you’re doing it wrong. You need to stream Spotify through your phone and connect to a Bluetooth speaker.” while at a party, only to have poor cell signal / poor audio quality / bluetooth failure / music interrupted when they get a call or text, I could afford better friends.

  11. Mason Avatar


  12. P161911 Avatar

    Used the 3 month free trial when we leased the Leaf and bought the Volt. Not paying for it. I listened to a few of the comedy channels, but they were either too raunchy for my taste or repetitive after a very short while. I currently commute 2-2-1/2 hours a day. I listen to the local news/traffic station and NPR in the mornings and a little bit of the local news or NPR, but mostly Audible in the afternoons. I really like Audible. I used to read 12-15 books a year before I got married. After I got married, that went down to 3-5 books a year. After I had a child that went down to zero. Now I can catch up on my “reading” with Audible.

  13. JayP Avatar

    I got 3 months XM free when I bought the GT.
    Discovered Ozzy’s Boneyard and that summer they were playing Yacht Rock – subscribe.
    I talked them down to $5 which is reasonable but I only drive the car a few times month.

  14. dukeisduke Avatar

    Nope. The only vehicle we have that has SiriusXM capability is the 16yo daughter’s 2010 Kia Forte Koup. If someday she wants to sign up (on her own dime) she can do that. I have flipped across the SiriusXM “bands” and heard the preview stuff.

  15. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    Funny you should ask. I just signed up on Monday so my wife could have it in her new ’16 Sienna. Terrestrial radio in Kansas City is abominable, and it’s more convenient than Pandora. This is the first satellite-capable car she’s had, and she’s quite tickled.
    I had the original XM boombox about 12-15 years ago. I liked it and thought the service was a decent value, but I canceled it because they just couldn’t figure out how to update my credit card’s expiry date. I kept calling to update it and they kept sending me nasty messages that it was no good. I finally said enough.

    1. Alff Avatar

      I applaud her choice of vehicle. You can bring home a lot of project bikes with one of those.

  16. Stephen Hood Avatar
    Stephen Hood

    Yes. I listed to NASCAR radio as well as Finebaum on one of the ESPN channels. I also like their NPR offering and the comedy channels on long road trips. I usually listen to it through the Sirius/XM app on my phone. My current truck is not equipped with a satellite radio, so I installed of the Sirius/XM portable radios. My phone keeps a signal 90% of the time so I rarely use the portable (Siruis/XM is part of the T-Mobile Binge On program). I also use Google Music. I’ve been a customer of Sirius/XM for 10-15 years. I like the service but I hate dealing with their customer service folk and changing over service after trading cars has usually been a comedy of errors.

    1. JayP Avatar

      Not just NASCAR but XM carried Radio LeMans’ coverage of the 24 Hrs of Daytona.
      I think it’s 138?

  17. Maymar Avatar

    I really don’t mind Toronto’s terrestrial stations, I spend less than 45 min per day in the car (I just confirmed, I’ve driven less than 15k kms in the past year), and my car isn’t even satellite radio-compatible anyhow. I’ll usually switch to it in any rental which has it, but I’m perfectly happy to live without it, and if my next car is compatible, I’ll probably only use it during the bi-annual trial periods.

  18. Harry Callahan Avatar
    Harry Callahan

    Iheartradio, Pandora, and Amazon Prime music meet my needs.

  19. mdharrell Avatar

    I don’t need distractions from the constant task of listening for items of vehicular concern.

  20. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    And to clarify, the SiriusXM 84-channel package is $10.99 + $2.53 “royalty fee”, for a total of $12.52 monthly, slightly lower than the $14.99 quoted in the article.

  21. Elliott Avatar

    Initially, I was excited over satellite radio. Then I discovered that it had fallen prey to the same malady that affected FM radio…they started having predictable playlists. My contention was that with the universe of music available, I should NOT hear the same songs, in the same sequence, over the course of sevceral days, while listening in the backwoods of nowhere, usa!

  22. linkpin Avatar

    Every year they bill me, I call them and threaten to cancel and they offer me $89 for a year to stay on. So I stay on.

  23. ptschett Avatar

    I do, though I usually have the radio on local AM if I’m just putzing around town, and I have an iPodPhone full of music and ‘Dinner With Racers’ episodes that I could be listening to.
    I’ve discovered a lot of bands through it, and it’s nice to have when traveling through those parts of the country still unreached by FM radio or cellphone signal.
    Favorites: Lithium, Octane, Underground Garage, Patriot, NASCAR and IndyCar.

  24. Rob Avatar

    The only reason I have it is that the lifetime subscription dropped down to $400 for a short time right before the Sirius/XM merger. I got my money out of it years ago, but these days I probably only have it on about 1-2 hours a week. 90% time I’m listening to podcasts or local sports radio.

  25. Windbüchse Avatar

    We have it in both our cars. Had it in several of our previous cars also. The MR2 was a kludge but worked. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fda360b9d12ecff1ff6ccbc77690e9670771c70bb676a87473a1a31896e8c3ac.jpg Living in the mountains and driving canyons, radio reception is spotty and cell/data signal non-existant. I tend to listen to BBC, Bloomberg and various music stations. If I have the hammer down, the USB drive has the appropriate music – Die Toten Hosen, The Gimmes and Bambi Molesters are good choices….

  26. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    We have really good commercial-free FM radio here in NZ and Satellite is not available yet, or for a long time.

  27. LeaksOil Avatar

    To answer the question directly ,…no.

  28. Kyle Avatar

    I have it and am overall happy with it for the two months I’ve had it. The local radio choices here in eastern CT are terrible if you are a rock and metal fan as most all that is on the air is a bunch of pop and “country” in regards to choices. Satellite has some good hard rock and metal stations and its got an NHL station so its worth it to me. If I was still in my home state, I wouldn’t have it since I would have everything on the over the air stations.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        Link goes 404 not found

%d bloggers like this: