Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saved by satellite radio?

Not so fast.

Those of us searching for better radio and a replacement for the degenerating broadcast radio industry have long been intrigued by satellite radio. You subscribe, and there are no ads - not even "sponsors" the way NPR has. Transmitted on much higher frequencies (shorter wavelengths) than broadcast AM and FM, satellite radio has bandwidth to burn and therefore huge potential for variety and satisfying every niche taste. The move towards a single technical standard, with inexpensive receivers installed in new cars, could make satellite, not broadcast, radio the new norm.

But alas, satellite radio has its enemies, in the form of the National Association of Broadcasters, a classic special interest group acting on behalf of existing broadcasters to attempt to squash improved radio via competition. And satellite radio has been hobbled by some of its own self-inflicted wounds. Radley Balko of Reason magazine reports.

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