Sirius Satellite Radio is a satellite radio (SDARS) service operating in North America, owned by Sirius XM Holdings.
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 Nielsen Audio 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 Opie Radio do have regular commercials. 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$14.99 monthly (US$9.99 for each additional receiver) to US$699.99 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 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 Q1 2013, Sirius XM has a total of 24.4 million subscribers.〔(Sirius XM Q1 Subscriptions Hit New Record As Jim Meyer Named CEO - Yahoo! TV ). Tv.yahoo.com (2013-04-30). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.〕
==Early days of Sirius==
Sirius was founded by Martine Rothblatt, David Margolese and Robert Briskman.〔Matthew Herper, ("From Satellites to Pharmaceuticals," ) ''Forbes'', April 22, 2010.〕〔Steve Warren, (''Radio: The Book'' ), Focal Press, 2004, p. 166.〕〔Michael Wolff, ("Cruise Control," ) ''New York'', September 25, 2000.〕 In 1990, Martine Rothblatt founded Satellite CD Radio, Inc. in Washington, DC.〔〔Edmund L. Andrews, (“F.C.C. Plan For Radio By Satellite,” ) ''New York Times'', October 8, 1992.〕 The company was the first to petition the FCC to assign unused frequencies for satellite radio broadcast, which “provoked a furor among owners of both large and small () radio stations.”〔 Rothblatt had previously helped create the PanAmSat international satellite television system,〔Mark Lewyn, ("Space Case," ) ''Wired'', April 2009.〕 and helped launch and served as CEO of the Geostar satellite navigation system.〔〔Terry Bivens, ("This Satellite Could Find Needle In Haystack," ) ''Philadelphia Inquirer'', July 27, 1988.〕 In April 1992, she resigned as chairman and CEO of Sirius in order to start a medical research foundation, focused on finding a cure for her daughter's illness.〔 Former NASA engineer Robert Briskman, who designed the company's satellite technology, was then appointed Chairman and CEO.〔("Robert Briskman appointed chairman and CEO," ) ''Satellite News'', June 1, 1992.〕〔Bethany McLean, (“Satellite Killed The Radio Star,” ) ''Fortune'', January 22, 2001, pp. 94-100.〕
Six months later, in November 1992, Rogers Wireless co-founder David Margolese, who had provided financial backing for the venture, acquired control of the company and succeeded Briskman. Margolese renamed the company CD Radio, and spent the next five years lobbying the FCC to allow satellite radio to be deployed, and the following five years raising $1.6 billion, which was used to build and launch three satellites into elliptical orbit from Kazakhstan in July 2000.〔〔Nancy Dillon, (“Beaming Radio Into High-Tech Fast Lane,” ) ''New York Daily News'', June 5, 2000.〕〔Christopher H. Sterling, (''Encyclopedia of Radio, Volume 1'' ), Taylor & Francis, 2003, p. 750.〕〔Simon Romero, (“XM Satellite Radio Completes Its Financing,” ) ''New York Times'', July 10, 2000.〕 The company successfully bid $83.3 million to purchase their satellite radio license.〔(“Revolutions in Radio,” ) PBS, May 4, 2005.〕 In 1997, after Margolese had obtained regulatory clearance and "effectively created the industry," the FCC also sold a license to XM Satellite Radio, which followed Sirius's example.〔Simon Houpt, ("Radio Flyer," ) ''Report on Business'', September 2001, pp. 14-16.〕
In November 1999, Marketing chief Ira Bahr convinced Margolese to again change the name of the company, this time to Sirius Satellite Radio, in order to avoid association with the soon-to-be-outdated CD technology.〔 Having secured installation deals with automakers including Chrysler, Ford and BMW,〔 Sirius launched the initial phase of its service in four cities on February 14, 2002,〔(“Sirius Begins Satellite Service,” ) ''Radio'', February 14, 2002.〕 expanding to the rest of the contiguous United States on July 1, 2002.〔Steve Parker, (“XM plus Sirius = Satellite Radio Monopoly,” ) ''Huffington Post'', July 24, 2008.〕 In 2001 Margolese stepped down as CEO, remaining as chairman until November 2003, with Sirius issuing a statement thanking him "for his great vision, leadership and dedication in creating both Sirius and the satellite radio industry."〔("David Margolese Steps Down as Sirius CEO," ) PRNewswire, October 16, 2001.〕
Joe Clayton, former CEO of Global Crossing, followed as CEO from November 2001 until November 2004. Clayton stayed on as chairman until July 2008.〔Robin Wauters, (“Former Sirius CEO Joseph Clayton Takes Over The Reins From Ergen At DISH,” ) TechCrunch, May 16, 2011.〕 Mel Karmazin, former president of Viacom, became CEO in November 2004, and remained in that position through the merger, until December 2012.〔Tim Arango, (“Satellite Chat – Sirius, XM Are Exploring a Possible Merger,” ) ''New York Post'', January 26, 2005.〕〔Paul Bond, (“Mel Karmazin Leaves Sirius XM Radio,” ) ''Hollywood Reporter'', December 19, 2012.〕
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