Sirius Satellite Radio Expands Market

New York-based Sirius Satellite Radio [SIRI], one of two U.S. satellite radio broadcasters, added seven additional states to its targeted market this week--Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma and Utah.

The moves are part of a stepped up rollout schedule set by Sirius President and CEO Joseph Clayton who joined the company in November, after Sirius failed to meet promised rollout dates several times in the past two years. Sirius announced plans in March to move up its nationwide service availability date by one month to July instead of August, and to add entire states instead of just individual cities. Service already was available in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, aside from Houston and Jackson, Miss., two of the original launch markets.

Guy Johnson, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Sirius, said, "We are right on schedule and very pleased with the progression of our service availability. Later this month, service will officially be available throughout the entire Midwest region and we'll begin to move into the Southeast."

In 2006, consumers can expect to use a handheld, portable device to listen to XM Satellite Radio's music stations, and after Tuesday's announcement, to audio books and other spoken-word tracks courtesy of Audible Inc.

The two aural entertainment providers on Tuesday announced their exclusive partnership, which will bring together XM's 150 music and talk-radio channels and Audible's 70,000 hours of audio content, which includes material from audio-book publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, and magazine and newspaper publishers. Audible's audio content is currently available for download on computers, MP3 players, PDAs and other devices.

"XM is widely recognized for having the best content and the best technology in satellite radio," XM Satellite Radio CEO Hugh Panero said. "Audible and XM are the leaders in our respective businesses, so it's logical for us to work together on content distribution and technology."

"This announcement brings together the best of XM Satellite Radio and the best of the Audible audio experience," Audible CEO Donald Katz added. "Together our respective technologies will enable the consumer to listen to the finest in radio programming and the best of personalized, spoken-word listening on their portable audio devices."

In addition to working together to create a handheld that will play satellite radio and Audible files (downloaded from the Internet and then loaded onto the device), the Audible site will be offering certain XM radio talk shows, starting with "The Opie & Anthony Show" and "The Bob Edwards Show."