Satellite Radio: A rant.

So when I got my car I finally succumbed to the allure of Satellite radio, specifically Sirius. My first introduction to the awesome/suck combo of the medium was when, during sign up, they kept talking about "Serious Sirius fans. Seriously!"

Thanks to the net/mp3/ipod epoch, a glorious time in which new stuff appears every day to make our lives amazing and have less money, I’ve not listened to the radio at all. I typically for the past couple of years had a six disc mp3 changer in my car so I usually had like dozens of hours of music available. Oh yeah, and normal radio is awful like the underside of a goat scrotum. And I’m obviously being polite about that description since said scrotum is very close to a particular orifice I could have described.


So why did I get satellite radio if I already had the music angle covered? The sweet sweet nectar, the unadulterated high fructose corn syrup of human discourse, that paragon of all that is high calorie with no nutritional value at all: 24 hour cable news networks. That’s right! CNN Headline news, CNN, MSNBC, Fox audio feeds from their TV broadcasts! It was all here, 24/7, in my car! And besides that, more nutritional content was available such as Sirius World News and BBC.

Had to have it. Had to.

I fooled around with the music stations a bit (There’s a 24/7 all Sinatra channel. I mean, how fucking cool is that?) but really all I got it for was the news stuff. That’s when I discovered the bait and switch of satellite. They say no commercials (commercial free Sirius Radio! Seriously! Seriously Sirius!) but that really only refers to the music channels. All the news and talk radio networks have commercials. And not just commercials from the TV broadcast feed either. I could maybe live with that. Oh no, this is the worst of the worst of radio advertising spliced into the feed. A morass of suck so deep and so wide as to be almost Windows ME-ian in its scope.

It basically breaks down into three groups:

The Conversation

This one is by far the most common commercial type. It consists of two men, or a man and a woman, having a conversation about a topic that there just happens to be a good or a service that addresses it! Weirdly, it’s never two woman or on a topic that might be interesting to women. Instead it’s truck insurance, erectile dysfunction, truck insurance, erectile dysfunction, truck insurance dysfunction, fast acting tablets to correct erectile dysfunction, and truck insurance. Oh and I think there is one on breast enlargement. Call me Sherlock if you will but I’m guessing the satellite radio demographic is probably 99% 60+ year
old male truckers. The worst one, by far, is for the tablets of fast acting Viagra. Here’s a brief snippet, verbatim:

Older sounding guy: Hey, have you ever tried Viagra?

Guy who sounds like he’s 20 (!): Yup! Miracle of modern medicine!

Older Sounding guy: What about Levitra or Cialis?

Guy who sounds like he’s 20 (!): Uhhhhhh never got around to those.

Older Sounding Guy: Ever wonder if Levitra or Cialis would work too?

Guy who sounds like he’s 20 (!): hrmmm. Now that you mention it!

Older Sounding Guy: Well, then you should head on over to [insert website for pills]

This is disturbing on a couple of levels. I know it’s hip with the kids these days to use Viagra or other "Male Performance Enhancers" but to have such an obvious young voice in this conversation means that some old guy and some young guy are casually talking about their lack of erectile acumen. Now, maybe such a casual conversation is occurring between two guys who are lovers, or maybe they are just that free and open about flaccidity as a matter of daily discourse. I have no problem with the former, and in fact that would make me feel a ton better about the commercial. The latter makes me shudder a little bit.

The Idiotic Slogan

This one is less common but centers around repeating the slogan several times during the commercial. Two of my favorites, and no I am not making these up:

"It’s the biggest no brainer in the history of the planet Earth"

"It’s time to get rich, eventually"

Scripted Spontaneity

This one can only be truly appreciated for its idiocy through transcript:

Announcer: "Term life insurance script in 3…2…1."

Announcer: "[insert 5 second term life insurance pitch]"

Announcer: "Wait wait wait I don’t need a script [tearing paper sounds] there’s the script it’s gone. Let me speak from my heart…"

Announcer: "[insert same pitch that he started with]"

Despite this, I’ve conditioned my brain to glaze over during these moments, since the audio feeds from news stations all take commercial break at exactly the same time since they are TV. It’s not unlike what I forced myself to do during the Vista SP1 Bruce Springsteen video. Or any given Tim Russert interview.

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