Headquartered in New York City, with smaller studios in Los Angeles and Memphis, Sirius was officially launched on July 1, 2002 and currently provides 69 streams (channels) of music and 65 streams of sports, news and entertainment to listeners. Music streams on Sirius carry a wide variety of genres, broadcasting 24 hours daily, commercial-free, and uncensored. A subset of Sirius music channels is included as part of the Dish Network satellite television service. Sirius channels are identified by Arbitron with the label "SR" (e.g. "SR120", "SR9", "SR17").
Its business model is to provide pay-for-service radio, analogous to the business model for premium cable television. Music channels are presented without commercials while talk channels, such as Howard Stern's Howard 100 and Howard 101 and The Opie & Anthony Channel, do have regular commercials. At approximately 6 minutes per hour, the number of commercials are still less than the average on terrestrial radio or television. Furthermore, all channels are free from FCC content regulation, thus songs are played unedited for language, and talk programs may feature explicit content if they wish. Subscriptions are prepaid and range in price from US$12.95 monthly (US$8.99 for each additional receiver) to US$499.99 for lifetime (of the receiver equipment) subscription. There is a US$15 activation fee for every radio activated. Sirius announced it had achieved its first positive cash flow quarter for the period ending December 2006.
Sirius was founded in July 1990 by Martine Rothblatt as Satellite CD Radio, Inc.. In that month she also petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create a Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service in an underutilized portion of the 2300 MHz frequency band. Her vision was to adapt GPS patch antennas to a national, digital, radio service, for which she claimed in her Petition for Rulemaking that there was a large, unmet public need. Rothblatt first demonstrated the service via terrestrial emulators of a satellite to FCC officials in 1992 outside the offices of WPFW in Washington, DC. In that she resigned as Chairman & CEO to focus on finding a cure for her daughter's illness. She selected David Margolese to succeed her, and he subsequently venture capitalized US$20 million over the next five years lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to allow satellite radio to be deployed.
In 1999, marketing chief, Ira Bahr, developed and championed the name "Sirius" after convincing Margolese that the current name "CD Radio" did not work well. Margolese wanted to use the name "Orbital" but it was unavailable, and he acceded to Bahr's name.
Sirius launched its radio service in four states on February 14, 2002, expanding service to the rest of the contiguous U.S. by July of that year.
On October 16, 2006, Sirius announced that it would be launching Sirius Internet Radio, with 78 of its 135 channels being available worldwide on the internet to any of its subscribers with a valid user name and password.
On July 29, 2008, Sirius formally completed its merger with former competitor XM Satellite Radio. The combined company began operating under the name Sirius XM Radio. On November 12, 2008, Sirius and XM began broadcasting with their new, combined channel lineups.
As of December 31, 2008, Sirius XM had a total of 19,003,856 subscribers.
Read more about Sirius Satellite Radio: Early Days of Sirius, XM Satellite Merger, Technology, Receivers, Sirius in Canada, Sirius in Puerto Rico, Sirius Internet Radio, Liberty Media Corporation Investment
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