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Can’t Live Without My Radio

Every morning when I do my bathroon stuff, I used to turn on the Music Choice radio stations carried on DirecTV and have them play in the background. There was something comforting about this routine, wall to wall music channels tidily lined up in their own genres, seemingly programmed by robots. It had to end, though. On the 15th, DirecTV discontinued Music Choice and instead are simulcasting stations from X-M Satellite Radio. The change got me excited — not only are there more stations with the new setup, there’s more diversity as well. Cursory listens to several of their stations reveals that they live up to the hype, with some disappointments. I was a little bummed that the X-M stations have deejays and annoying promos, but I guess that’s what most satellite radio listeners want — a listening experience that’s exactly like broadcast radio, only without the ads. For me, the ideal radio experience would be an “iPod shuffle” kind of deal, nothing but music programmed in a way that’s full of surprises. But I guess that’s asking for too much, right? I love X-M’s idea of having stations themed around decades from the past, but except for the ’40s one they’re saddled with unimaginative “fun oldies” style playlists. The most promising station might be an uncategorized one called Special X. When I first tuned in, Lorne Greene’s one-shot hit “Ringo” was playing — performed in French. That’s more like it!

PS If you want an interesting online radio experience, try Pandora (thanks Brad!). Simply type in the name of a favorite artist, and Pandora comes up with an eerily accurate playlist of similar yet diverse sounding music. Pretty cool, and it even prompted me to buy a great song off iTunes that I’d never heard before (that would be Marlena Shaw’s dynamite rendition of “California Soul”).

3 Thoughts on “Can’t Live Without My Radio

  1. I’ll check out that station, it sounds cool. I *hate* the promos and DJs; we’re accustomed to leaving the jazz channel on for hours, and I loved the uniterrupted nature of the MusicChoice. Guess we’ll be using iTunes more often…

  2. The ideal radio station you describe has been online for a while at

  3. Yes, Special X is the only redeeming station on XM/Directv. Ya gotta love Lorne Greene en Francais.

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