XM marks the spot

Published 12:37 am Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Every so often, you receive a gift that you maybe use once or twice and then never use again. Or maybe, you don’t even bother to take it out of the box at all.

That’s certainly not the case with one of the gifts my dad got me for Christmas two years ago. It’s a gift that I use almost every day, and probably use more than any I’ve received in the last two years.

What is that present, you might ask? It’s my XM (now Sirius XM) Satellite Radio.

If you have never experienced satellite radio, it is truly an amazing device. With just the click of a few buttons, I can go from listening to a radio station where every song is from the 1960s, to a radio station where every song is from a Broadway musical.

There are stations where they play nothing but Bruce Springsteen, stations where they play nothing but blues and even multiple stations where all of the songs are in Spanish.

My personal favorites are the Broadway channel, the 80s channel, and the ESPN Sports Radio channel. And if you’re a sports fan, it’s hard to beat the selection that you have on satellite radio.

I personally love the game of hockey, which is probably a surprising thing to hear from someone who grew up in the South. When I was younger, my dad suggested that I watch part of the Stanley Cup Finals on TV, and from that point on I was hooked. Today, I can take a four-hour trip to Atlanta and watch the NHL’s Thrashers play.

Of course, my work schedule does not allow for me to make that eight-hour drive very often, but thanks to my Sirius XM Radio I can listen to most of their games. I also get the opportunity to hear those contests broadcast by a radio station in whatever city where the Thrashers are playing.

Yes, that means if Atlanta is visiting Montreal, Canada, then I’ve got to go back and try and remember what I learned in freshman French class!

Satellite radio also has a variety of MLB games, NBA games, NFL games and even some college games. My dad likes it because he can listen to every football game for his beloved Iowa Hawkeyes.

During the buildup to the election, I spent a lot of time listening to the stations in the 150-180 block of channels, which are primarily news stations or talk radio stations. If you’re Republican leaning, like me, you can listen to the all-conservative radio station. And if you’re Democratic-leaning, there is an all-progressive radio station as well. If Congress ever reinstates the Fairness Doctrine, they won’t have to worry about satellite radio.

I don’t want any of you at local radio stations to think that having Sirius XM Radio means that I never tune into local broadcasts. I certainly do and we have a great selection of channels in this area that offer a variety of musical genres.

But, no offense, there’s not really a station around here that plays much Andrew Lloyd Webber or Steven Sondheim.