Defending the Sirius XM iPhone App

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sirius_iphone_app.jpgThe much-buzzed Sirius XM iPhone app received a critical bitch slap from geek-chic basement bloggers and high-tech webzines when it was made available to the public last week.

The complaints included the fact that much of the premium branded content, like Howard Stern and NFL Play-by-Play, isn’t available for streaming through the app. Additionally, there are already a bunch of music apps that let you listen to a D.I.Y playlist sans fees. (While the app itself is free, Sirius XM charges $12.95 a month for its basic services, plus another $3 a month to stream online.)

My counter argument to refute both of these reactionary criticisms – clearly penned by writers who don’t listen to Sirius XM – is that you still get the best stations with the app.

Let’s start with the Virus, which is branded as an extreme talk radio channel and includes shock jock stalwarts Opie & Anthony, as well as the underappreciated Ron & Fez. While Stern prefers to talk about how he’s revolutionized the medium and how his listeners can never bed the D-list skanks he brings on the show, O&A combine hilarious obscenity-littered rants with cutting insights. Possibly even more entertaining is their regular practice of mocking the traditional FM morning zoo format. No personalities make the huge entertainment rift between terrestrial and satellite radio as clear as these Long Island wiseacres.

Meanwhile, Ron & Fez boasts a loyal army of odd listeners and callers that nicely complements the O&A train wreck. Former stand-up comic and professional cokehead Ron Bennington is the best interviewer I’ve ever heard on any medium, and Fez Whately is a neurotic puppy dog who likes to wear women’s clothing.

And that’s the Virus channel alone. Guilty please music channels include Lithium’s eclectic ‘90s playlist, a unique movie score station in Cinemagic, and you can also get the sports scores you’re looking at with ESPN and Fox Sports channels. Stations are up in playing in about three seconds, and the signal quality is better than expected.

The Sirius XM iPhone app may not perform its primary duty: Attract new listeners/iPhone users to the satellite radio platform. But it will perform an important function in any recession: Retention marketing. If I can listen to Opie and Anthony’s third-chair comedian Jim Norton wax philosophically on tranny love and golden showers secretly from the workplace, then I’ve got one more reason to keep paying my monthly fees.


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