Monday, November 27, 2006



Sometimes our biggest challenge is the rule book. Veterans of radio and music business are especially vulnerable as the rules have been pounded in for years, but newcomers are also susceptible because they tend to assume following the rules is what you "have to do" and this is magnified by the fact that their bosses also pound in these rules. Meanwhile, the audience follows no such rule book. In fact they evolve and most often the radio and music business don't. The result is that record companies, radio stations etc...are often out of sync with the needs of the fans. Nothing keeps the business more out-of-sync and potentially irrelevant that blindly following the rules.

The problem is that these rules WERE valid at one point in time which is why they became rules in the first place. But we're moving SO fast these days that many of the rules are becoming more obsolete by the hour.

One "rule" came up recently. It's where major "heritage" artists release a new CD. There are a few rules and assumptions:

*Their popularity is based on CD Sales.

*You can't play these new releases on the channels that are their natural home because those are classic based channels and this is new material

*No-one cares about their new stuff.

We have to challenge these. First off--it's pure 1980 thinking to base an artists success on CD Sales. Take a guy like Rod Stewart. He probably wont sell that many of his new CD---a big reason is that few stations are playing it--but more importantly, his popularity is bigger than ever, it just appears as concert tickets, NOT CD sales...and it's a different kind of popularity, more of a vintage one than the hottest thing sort of thing...but nonetheless he and others of his ilk ARE popular.

Secondly--I wonder about the rule that you can't play these artists new stuff on classic channels. While there is an expectation that you'll hear Classic Songs on a channel billed as such, I can't see the harm of playing a new song by a key artist of that channel. In fact, I think listeners DESERVE that. It's not very often that a major heritage artist releases a new CD, so almost as a public service, these songs should get played WHERE that artists fan lives on the radio dial. Part of succeeding in the 21st Century of radio is being a "guide" for listeners to walk them through the myriad of media bombarding them. I think every XM channel needs to be a guide for people. There's a possibility to "over-guide" people to where the channel is blurred, but smart 'guidance' even if it means breadking a "rule" is paramount's something we CAN do and need to mobilize.

Finally, No one cares because they often have NO idea these new releases even exist! Granted, many heritage artists simply don't create on the same level as their early days, but if there's ONE new song that has traction, it's worth it. In many respects both the artist and the audience DESERVE to at least be exposed to these new releases...if it sucks--fine--it's really more informational than anything...and we should give listeners an opportunity to voice that. I don't think we should penalize the artists (or the fans) because they made great records many years ago...they may just have that ONE song still in them....maybe more. Let listeners decide--the artist has certainly earned the right for exposure. Again, they may not have another all-time classic to deliver...but it's really more about a service to listeners to display their new work. If it has the goods---great! If not, it is still an important informational thing to display their latest. XM is all about careers..not JUST the hits.

Of course you can't play SO many new songs that a channel loses it's definition, but these are so few and far between that I can't see that being an issue, especially if the DJ "educates" by talking about the new release. Deep Tracks is among several good examples of doing it right. While they are known for late 60s and early 70s Rock, in the style of the free form stations of that era, they will get into a new Robin Trower or Jethro Tull and do a number with it. It works.

The "rule book" fight all of the above mentioned three points...which is why at XM at least, we gotta CHALLENGE the rule book and do what's RIGHT for 2006. We gotta fight the "we cant do that" urge, sit back and think--What do LISTENERS want today?--And give them that. If any XM channel is SO vulnerable that it can't withstand 'breaking the rules' a bit (in fact rule breaking is what makes most XM Channels good), then we have a bigger problem. "Tuneout paranoia" is something that we must avoid at XM. If someone tunes out because there's a song they don't like--great. They'll be back. A huge FM problem is that they areafraid of tune out and as a result limit playlsts to the songs that offer least tune out. Of course that backfires when they become overplayed and become tune outs themselves! The idea is recognizing that tuneout ss a fact of life, don't let it bother you. Create a complete and interesting listening experience, realize people WILL tune out, but at the end of the day, they come back because you are "interesting" (aka entertaining and complete).

A lot of this harkens back to the way it was in 1958 where Pop music was for "teens". Modern day pop music goes back to 1955. It's 51 years old! That James Dean thinking is painfully dated. And SO many people in all aspects of music and radio STILL think 1958 even if they were born in 1978. Some rules are permanent--others need to be redefined and evolved. THAT can be a bigger challenge that you think. Things like:

*The only relevant artists are new artists. (that is a line fed by labels who need to develop new acts for survival...then there's the machine pushing these artists that can convince the unsuspecting that it's real)

*The hippest artists are the emerging ones (there's a trend toward mondo respect for the legends--from Floyd to Dylan to Ray Charles to Johnny Cash that far supersedes anything's more about "forget age--who matters". Wasn't always like that. In the early days of Rock, age was square--you HAD to be young, but now, with the exception of those who view music as fashion, it's all about what you put out.... Of course there ARE emerging artists that mean something long term, but you have to look at the big picture rather than the Industry picture....and the big picture is LESS era focused than it was many years ago. There's more of a "who cares who or when it is, does it turn me on?")-

*A radio station cannot deviate from its format (Is Colonel Clink the PD??...format control was a reaction to the sloppy radio that was happening in the 60's, and the free form guys---People like Bill Drake, Paul Drew and I guess myself a ways back were all about complete discipline and control. That was a long time ago. Discipline is important...but so is the ability to stray from the rules if it makes sense for listeners).

*Rock n Roll is here to stay (Maybe not---There are morphs and new styles that'll likely drive the future. Just like there was a Jazz Age, the was a Rock Age. Jazz still lives as does Rock...but maybe, just maybe, it's peaked and there's something else happening. Actually there IS something else happening and it ain't Rock). This symbolizes how complex things are, meaning--To succeed today you BETTER be in sync with 2006 listeners and not relying on the old rules or living in the last goden era.

*CD sales determine popularity (yeah--in 1975)

...the list goes on. Of course you can't blindly throw out EVERY rule. But EVERY rule has to be examined and possibly thrown out in order to flow in sync with what REALLY counts--turning on an audience. We had a slogan at XM early on---"If you want to do a break in Swahili on an A/C channel....go for it"--The point here is that NO channel should be SO locked into it's rules that you can't do something---because it feels right. One of the reasons Bob Dylan's show is SO successful (and it is) is that he knows no rules. His play list is a traditional programmers' nightmare--And it's pure magic as he goes from an INTERESTING Judy Garland song into Hank Williams into god knows what else---breaks every rule and is brilliant.

I'll be very upfront and say that we almost killed our ETHEL channel. For a brief minute we applied FM rules to it. After an audience revolt--we went back to doing it XM style instead of FM style. I credit Steve Kingston for quickly getting it, bringing in Erik Range--a Pizza delivery guy with a big passion and bringing it back to life. The point is that some of those FM rules are DEADLY...especially on XM. Steve wrongly gets a lot of shit for "bringing FM thinking" to XM--In reality though, he's drunk the kool aid and has thinks about fans and not the FM rulebook. He spent YEARS at K-Rock and Z-100 so you could expect that he'd have a lot engrained in him...and he didn't have the luxury of going through a year of bootcamps to liberate himself from the old school, but he's totally "getting it"...and that's a great thing for him, XM and most importantly the listeners. A lot of guys, in fact MOST guys with long FM histories have trouble understanding what we're trying to do at XM. Steve is not one of them.

It gets down to Listeners give us the directions, but XM Drives the car. Listeners show us where to go but XM drives them there. Things like industry hype, "rules" and playing the self serving industry big shot role are just roadblocks and exits that are barriers to getting to the place listeners want us to go. We all have to fight those urges once we are "in the system".

I went to Chicago for a few days. Flew into Midway airport. Always interesting as you are wedged between two arriving Southwest jets with controllers who talk very fast and have no patience for anything less than complete professionalism. I had to maintain 180 knots on final approach to avoid being swallowed by a 737. Fun stuff. Then, on the ground there was a classic Chicago taxiway traffic jam. The rap was " Cirrus 1XM taxi Foxtrot,follow Southwest 737 hold short of 22 Right. Southwest will turn at Yankee follow Citrus 737 coming off 22 Right, hold short of 22 Left. Follow Learjet coming off Kilo enter Atlantic from north side at Foxtrot 2, hold for King Air coming off the ramp"--all that in about 6 seconds. Easy to get swallowed up in all that, but I find it exciting...really in the flow.

Rented a car--no Satellite radio so I listened to terrestrial. Being from Chicago it was kind of sad as other than WGN, and some of the AM's---you could have been in Seattle. I always get the "But XM isn't local" rap--well, other than the ads, there wasn't anything local about the local stations either. And the SLOGANS! It seems as if practically every station is all about SLOGANS. Song, Song, slogan, ad, ad,ad,ad,ad, slogan, song, song, slogan, song, ad, ad,ad, etc….seemed to be the standard architecture of 99% of the stations.

The one thing that gets me is this addiction to Slogans. Why?? Yep--another "rule" that is so tired, it's helping kill the cred of FM radio. 90% of the stations both on air and on their ubiquitous billboards had these goofy slogans. Again, effective in 1980--now so oversaturated, they mean NOTHING.

Finally--if you want a low price XM Radio--you can use our FRIENDS AND FAMILY program. Send it to everyone you know. Sorry for the hype--gotta do it, but actually it IS an amazing deal. GOTO then type in and you're in. Good for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and Boxing Day gifts, as well as an important thing to have for any music freaks, people who need to be music freaks, people who will never be music freaks, Sports Fans, News Junkies, Baseball maniacs, Oprah worshippers, Hockey fans, and other assorted whack jobs and normal citizens...

Saturday, November 18, 2006



I'm scanning Direct TV the other day and there are five channels covering the Britney Spears divorce. Complete with authoritarian "in the know" attempts at journalism. Does ANYBODY really care? The answer is probably Yes, and that's pretty sick. It's mind candy. Not healthy but a quick cultural sugar fix for those who are addicted to that kinda thing. Maybe the FDA should ban this stuff with the same fervor as banning smoking---it's just as unhealthy. This sort of celebrity driven journalism has always been around. I collect old magazines and the old issues of Photoplay and the like are equally focused on non issues like this, but here in 2006, it's right in front of living color, presented as if it actually mattered. This coverage turns dumbing down into an art form. How spiritually hollow can it get. Some bozo who had a few hits among 11 year olds gets a divorce. Big fucking deal. I suppose it's part of our culture, and pretty well ingrained, but it's pretty sad. I guess the only thing you can do is try to change things. Hopefully there will be enough people who do. But you can't fight the cycles. We're in a cycle where celebrity, as inane as it might be, drives things. BUT---for every celebrity driven cycle there's a more cerebral one. I can only hope to inspire people to be a part of the change that gets us into that more cerebral cycle. It WILL happen. ALWAYS does since the history of entertainment just like Buddy Holly, Elvis and the Crows changed the "Doggy in the Window" era...or Liverpool changed the "Frankie & Annette" era...Hendrix and Pink Floyd changed the Tommy James & The Shondells era...The Police & U2 changed the Captain & Tennille Era...Nirvana changed the Hair Band era, etc...Over simplification of course, but you get the idea. These "cycles" are discussed on some old blog from last Summer. Arguable stuff, but historically every era that's driven by celebrity rather than substance morphs into an era that celebrates substance over celebrity. You just better be ready for the change...and feed it rather than be in cultural denial. I've seen that WAY too many times. One gets SO plugged into a cycle they can't evolve to or feed into the next one. Career wise, it's the cerebral cycles that are all about longevity. Celebrity without substance is fleeting. Substance lasts....

On the flip side, I went to an event at Jazz at Lincoln Center. A tribute to Gershwin. Pretty amazing stuff. A musical education. An 80 or so piece band doing a jazzed up version of "Rhapsody in Blue" was pretty amazing. Rhapsody in Blue was that song that United Airlines uses in their TV ads so effectively, so I guess that qualifies it as timeless. It was a cool night. Kind of an elite tuxedo kind of crowd, though I didn't wear one and haven't since Prom. Ed Bradley was a huge supporter and was in fact supposed to be the MC that night, so there was an air of sadness though in the spirit of Jazz, his passing was turned into more of a celebration. On hand from XM was Nate Davis (with a very cool rock n roll tux thing going on), Hugh Panero, Randy Ezratty, Maxx Myrick, Russ Davis and their respective spouses, as well as a resplendent looking Trinity, Nathaniel Brown , John Kramer and Jon Zellner who was subbing for Eric Logan who got food poisoning in Nashville. Of course Eric would be whistling for a George JONES song instead of George GERSHWIN. After the concert there was one of those banquet things where everybody schmoozes and hangs. Different vibe that a music Industry type dinner because there was no-one from the music Industry there. Mostly well heeled New Yorkers with a passion for Jazz and expensive Midtown social events.

That's what gets me about Britney's Divorce. So mindless at a time when there's so much NOT mindless out there. It's a reach to expect an A.D.D. 14 year old to throw out Ashlee Simpson's posters and discover Gershwin, but that's not the point. The idea is to try to turn around this infatuation with dumbing down. Radio dumbs down better than anyone, though the competition is strong. How about Katie Couric. Adding a pretty face to the news...she knows how to talk to important celebs like Paris Hilton. Gee, that's great. I imagine she's probably pretty smart--she must be to get where she is--but the whole positing of her and the party atmosphere about her taking the reigns at the once credible CBS News was so typical. Of course after a week of good ratings, she's plummeted to third, not that the other Networks are very good. I don't worry about terrorists killing us...I worry about us imploding under the weight of dumbed down media that is more of a cancer than the bad guys. Hell, Al Quida should just buy the new Clear Channel and a TV Network and do NOTHING with it. That oughta do the trick for their agenda to collapse America from within.

Yoko Ono has just produced a three part OFFSTAGE where she is the DJ. Not sure what to expect, but I heard it and it's really amazing. She really took care in putting it together. As a side note, we are involved in an art show she's doing in Miami. So I get to spend a night on South Beach and hopefully hit Joe's Stone Crabs after the event. I just heard from Les Garland who is going to meet me there. Les ran CKLW back in the heyday and was part of the original MTV group. Les is a character. A total original. The most likable guy known to man. Back in 88 when I left Burkhart/Abrams, I joined up with Bob Pittman of Bob Pittman fame and Les at a Company called Quantum Media. It was a venture that would include many multi media projects. They had two TV shows that were WAY ahead of their time. One was Morton Downey and the other one was a Cops type show filmed on the beat in Newark. They were the fore runners of Cops and Jerry Springer. We were going to launch a Satellite Radio station called Radio Lisa which was the prototype for what we did at Z-Rock. Part of the gig was going around the Country with Garland pitching the thing. It was a great sales combination but a deadly party combination. We fed off each other well on the business side, but after the business side was done it was rock n roll hell. A typical trip to Houston started with getting hopelessly lost. Then finding the station we were itching and doing a stellar job. Then Garland HAD to hit golf balls, so off to the driving range...then off to Goode's Barbecue...hen to Ricks, a ridiculous and expensive strip joint favored by Arab Sheiks and Oil Billionaires. They ply you with Champagne and the hopes of "scoring"--but of course you just leave the place drunk broke and fantasized. At 2am back to the hotel...then up at 8 to go to Dallas and repeat the scene. I'm STILL recovering from those trips.

Unfortunately, Quantum lost financing and that was that. Probably a good thing...but a fun 3 months. Pittman has gone on to become a billionaire. He REALLY works it. I gotta hand it to him. Years ago he was a PD of some local stations. He really had a career game plan and executed flawlessly.

Cirrus Flight log: Once again Buffalo was weathered out. My plane can handle just about any kind of weather---except the type that happens in Buffalo during the Winter. So we went to Atlantic City. Ended up at Carmines, a Little Italy type joint at the Tropicana. It was a close call between there or the White House Sub Shop.
The White House is a trip. A real "joint" complete with yellowing 8x10's of guys like Sinatra who allegedly would order 300 of them to be sent to Las Vegas. I love these kind of places. Pure character. Carmines is Disney Italian. The look and feel of the real thing...but it's in a casino that was built a few years ago. Flying to Chicago in a few days..always fun.

Saw Bob Dylan at the Patriot Center in Suburban DC. Always mesmerizing. He could probably go on stage and fart, and it would ring with poetry. Bob doesn't play his hits...he doesn't have to. Hell, he doesn't have to do ANYTHING, he's already done SO much. I was impressed with the complete absolute professionalism of his team, and the melting pot of demographics ranging from inspired teenagers to fans from the early days. This was NOT a "Classic Rock" was a musical crowd where age is irrelevant. The only annoying thing were these attractive girls sitting next to Dan Turner and I. As soon as the music started they went into this spastic dancing routine, punctuated by the kind of "Whoo...yeah...Rock n Roll" screams you'd expect from a drunk Skynyrd fan. They were so STUPID looking. Then they'd get on their cell phones and say "like wow--this is Soooo awesome...". It was part humorous...part disturbing...and very annoying. I'm all for fun, but I was THIS close to telling them to fucking shut up. There are some things you just don't do a bad disco dance to.

Dylan is truly timeless. I sent around the lyrics of "The Times They Are a Changin" to our staff. Just as relevant today as they were when he wrote them. Some might have thought it was odd to send around those lyrics...but then again it only takes a few to take them to heart and get on board the change. They ARE changin'...and it's pretty easy to stay on the old road instead of building the new one.

If you haven't seen the XM DIVERSITY video yet...check it out. It's on the main blog page under XM DIVERSITY.=

Tuesday, November 14, 2006



Back in the late 90's, XM was just an idea. We had a skeleton staff that was growing by the day, but we were not yet on the air. One of the challenges was to tell the story of the programming mission. There was no shortage of those who viewed XM as an "audio service", a generic array of white bread channels that would have all the soul of audio service.

In reality, NOTHING was further from the truth. We envisioned XM to be an organic, living, breathing collection of channels, each with a different identity and culture. The XM "sound" was not something that you would hear on every channel, but the XM SOUND was the aggregate of each channel sounding different with the result being a rainbow of different approaches that as a whole had a unique, revolutionary and distinct "sound". The eccentric Fine Tuning being 180 degrees from the A.D.D. 20 on 20, and that when you put it all together, there was THE XM SOUND. Some channels were to have DJ interacting Nationally with an army of listeners...others DJ free, relying on heady production and non stop music. In previous blog entries I addressed the Bootcamps we had to liberate myself and everyone who touched the programming from clichés and assumptions. At first you'd tend to "assume" that all channels needed DJ's. Wrong. The appeal of some channels is that it's all music without interruptions. On other channels, the DJ is a critical partner to the music offering an intelligent narration....other channels a DJ adds to the authenticity as in the 50's or 60's where we work to re-live the way Top 40 sounded in those eras. The point is that the XM SOUND is based on every channel having it's own Point of View and playbook resulting in a diverse collection of styles, yet all tied together to the platform had a distinct feel and vibe.

Expressing this both internally and externally wasn't easy. There had never been anything like XM before, so we needed to illustrate the plan.

Several months ago, Bob Lefsetz the master of gonzo bloggerism, visited XM. While hanging out in my office he asked what this big chart with circles was all about and I explained it was a way to graphically illustrate the diversity of XM and how channels fit into different cultural zones. He then said "OK, lets hear the rap". So---I pulled out the chart and ran through it. If you read Bob's blogs you'll note that he thinks XM Programming is great but that no-one knows about it, and was adamant that I video the thing and get it out there. SO---I did.

Our staff will probably throw up if they have to see this again as it's become one of MY clichés, but if you would like to see a video of the famous "Circles" presentation, click XM DIVERSITY under Multimedia on this blog site. .

The interesting thing is that while the roots of this presentation are 7 years old, it's still the anchor of what we do on the air. Do we deliver? Not always. Do we try? Yes. Some channels are dead on it...others close...and others, not so, but we have over 160 channels and it's not easy to get ALL of them firing on all cylinders at once...but we will get there as long as we BALANCE XM as a business and XM as an electronic media art form.

We have the talent's all about executing to the high standards we preach, evolving, but staying on plan.

Take a look at the video ..... (Click XM Diversity under Multimedia)

Monday, November 06, 2006



Last month we were on our weekly Conference call with Snoop Dogg's management and decided to do a month long "celebration" supporting Snoop's newest release. Dion Summers who runs our Urban group came up with the name "Dogg-Vember" a play on the incredibly tired 'Rock-Tober'. Dogg-Vember is SO awful, it's brilliant.

It gets back to the idea that AWFUL is great and BRILLIANT is great, it's that stuff in the middle, the 'average' stuff that gets lost to the point where Average simply in unacceptable. There are SO many examples of this, including:

Radio Classics: Those old time radio shows. Some of them are SO dated, they are genius by today's standards.

Special X-Mas: One of our holiday channels and the one that always gets the best response. It plays the worst Holiday music ever recorded. So's brilliant.

Guest DJ's: The old guest DJ routine. The best ones were always the horrible ones. Far more entertaining than someone bordering on "pro"...that's too obvious. get the idea.

XM's new ad campaign is like this. There are those who think it's amazing and others who think it sucks. GREAT! It's "average" ad campaigns that get lost in the muck.

There are some things that are inherently average. Take Adult Contemporary Radio. The challenge is how do you make something NOT average in this environment?

One of the reasons radio in general has lost it's edge is that it's SO average. Even 99% of the "Chuck & Stan In The Morning" shows you hear in every market are designed to be edgy. Guess what--they're average. The best shows are the great ones...AND the truly awful ones. Those average ones are the LEAST entertaining. Nothing bugs me as much as "aveage" morning show stunts, like a prank phone call that any talented 16 year old could make. Then there's those things like Opie & Anthony's Church bit--now that was NOT average.

This "average" thing is important to note. There seems to be this effort across the land to create things that are average. Probably because of the fear of doing something wrong. But it's the extremes that cut through. Average, unless backed by some marketing campaign of biblical proportions or remarkable accessability like Fast Food or FM, will just blend in and not make any significant impact.

When I was a consultant I couldn't stand BORING Program Directors. Better someone completely off the wall than someone "average". There's something special about the extremes. EXTREMELY BAD and EXTREMELY BRILLIANT. That middle ground, aka

Last week was Halloween. Strange holiday. Eric Logan had the idea of having a contest amongst the various clusters here at XM for the most bizarre treatment of their work areas. It turned into a museum of the insane. Te winner was the Rock Cluster. Lou Brutus orchestrated a Disney quality tribute to deceased Rock Stars. Decked out with strobe lights that challenged the Fillmore, the area was sectioned off into exhibits of various dead stars hosted by various XM programmers and DJ's. It was SO sick, it was brilliant...and won the competition. The thing I liked about it is that it COULD have been a real stupid waste-of-time that most "office" Halloween parties turn into. This was FAR from that....NOT average.

One guy who wasn't there was Martin Goldsmith. He's in London working with Paul Mc cartney on some programming to support his Classical CD. A lot of guys doing Classical things. Some fans don't like that but I figure guys like Mc Cartney and Sting have contributed enough to where they can do whatever they want. A more controversial issue is the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame nominees. The RRHOF is one of those things that symbolizes everything wrong with Rock n Roll 2006. A great idea, but it should be the Rock CRITICS Hall of Fame. It's SO bloody biased. There are the obvious entries, then there are those who are in that are Critics friends..but not much else. Then of course there are those who'll probably never make it in--especially the prog rock types like Yes, Rush and The Moody Blues. Critics never liked those bands anyways. But a marginally popular Punk band that could sell out CBGB for five minutes--well of course they're in. ..or some "icon" that was a New York Underground thing but maybe had one or two lasting songs--but was/is a critics darling...they're in. The bias for and against some genres makes the thing a joke. And Cleveland? I can see where Cleveland has merit because of Alan Freed and the whole "Rock n Roll town" thing it had going in the 70's, but after several meetings with the RRHOF it was pretty obvious that it's more about commerce---tourism than anything else, so the idea of having it there is flawed from the beginning.

Flew the Cirrus with Kerry Dunn, our executive assistant in Programming and Jim Sharifi one of our audio animators. Kerry wanted Chicken Wings so I planned for Buffalo. Snowed in. Chuck Dickemann from our Baseball channel suggested a place called Quaker State in State College, PA. Wings were OK, but more impressive was the genuine Batmobile in the lobby of the joint. Needless to say we all got several pictures.

Heard a great band: Pure Reason Revolution. UK Band. You hear pieces of Led Zeppelin, Genesis, and the Beach Boys...but it all fits together and works . Other than XM I doubt if it'll ever get heard here, but it's a very interesting an adventurous sound for those who like a modern take on the Kashmir era. They actually have really good harmonies and aren't locked into a technique arms race as pretty much all of the neo prog bands are. that's what I loved about the early Yes before they flamed out, at least in terms of cohesive recordings. The Yes album, Fragile and Close To The Edge are as clear, powerful and cinematic today as they were in the early 70's. Any musician or non musician that has the patience should listen to these today. Despite Yes' image as pompous and worse, these are remarkable albums that have turned around even the most hardened young music fans who may know only of Yes as a tired "Classic Rock" band that had a hit with 'Owner of a Lonely Heart'. A quick listen to THE YES ALBUM for example will change that. Telepathic arrangements, stunning sound, amazing playing and cohesive, melodic and epic songs. Definitely a love/hate thing. It's not for everyone, but that era for that band generated, in my opinion, some timeless magic that lives on despite the fact that while they are as impressive as ever on stage, never again captured that sound on record .

New Satellite went up. At first it was XM-4. WAIT! Our first two satellites were called ROCK and ROLL. The next two RHYTHM and BLUES. "XM-4" is SO "Boeing"--not exactly edgy. I guess you could say "average". After a volley of emails and pleas, it's now "Blues". Not exactly something that changes the course of our business, but still subtly important as we ARE an entertainment company!

Cingular will carry XM on cellphones. On the positive side that'll increase our audience even more---I understand XM reaches 44 Million if you combine our subscribers with the fact that XM is on AOL, DirecTV, United, Jet Blue and AirTran Airlines. I talk to teens all the time who use Cellphones as a third arm. For me, my Cellphone is for phone calls and email. I can't imagine listening to music on a cellphone. I still go for the music "experience"---big speakers or intimate headphones. But I'm old.

And ..... I continue to be on a mission to support the BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES FILM--Here's the press release in case you missed it:

Bside and XM Join Forces for Innovative Grassroots Launch of
Independent Documentary 'Before The Music Dies'

AUSTIN, Texas and WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Specialty independent film distributor Bside Entertainment and XM, the nation's leading satellite radio service with more than seven million subscribers, today announced the two companies are joining forces to launch the electrifying independent documentary, Before The Music Dies (B4MD). The partnership will include a national grassroots screening week bolstered by XM programming, including the first-ever "radio premiere" of a full-length film.
An unsettling and inspiring exploration of today's popular music industry told from a fan's perspective, B4MD and its message have garnered passionate support from a host of music artists, many of whom were quick to participate in the film. Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton, Erykah Badu, Branford Marsalis, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and Questlove are a few of the artists who contributed to the staggering array of musical performances and interviews featured in the documentary alongside a number of journalists, industry commentators and fans.
With a strong grassroots network supporting the film, Bside has organized a national screening week for B4MD to be held November 12-19, during which any music lover has the opportunity to host their own screening of the film. Events are already scheduled in markets across the US and Canada, to be held in venues ranging from recording studios to public libraries to large music clubs. Details of additional events will be provided regularly on
"We have had such incredible offers from artists and fans wanting to support the B4MD movement," said Chris Hyams, CEO of Bside. "By partnering with XM, we can now give them a way to bring the film to their communities and celebrate with others who live for great music."
XM will kick off the national screening week with an audio broadcast of B4MD -- the first-ever "radio premiere" of a full-length film -- followed by an exclusive half-hour interview hosted by XM's Bob Edwards with the B4MD filmmakers, Andrew Shapter and Joel Rasmussen. The B4MD broadcast and interview special will air November 12 at 9 p.m. ET on XM Public Radio (XM 133). Additionally, XM will provide a 24-hour loop of the documentary audio broadcast and Bob Edwards interview on the XM LIVE channel (XM 200) beginning at 8 a.m. ET on November 19.
"B4MD is an important film for anyone who loves music and we at XM are happy that we can help share this film with our millions of listeners. While this documentary tells a story that may be a shock to many consumers, it speaks directly to the appeal of XM's service -- people who subscribe to XM enjoy a broad universe of music they can't find anywhere else, and artists, regardless of genre, can reach larger audiences and grow their fan base," said Lee Abrams, chief creative officer of programming, XM.
More information on how to host your own B4MD screening or to find screening events scheduled in your area is available online at