At SFFaudio.com we always try to keep up with the latest technology delivering Science Ficion and Fantasy content to your ears. And the time has finally come to talk about a new kind of delivery mechanism, Satellite Radio. Satellite radio differs from conventional ground based radio primarily due to the range of coverage. Ground based radio is transmitted from a tower and has a very limited geographical range. Satellite radio is transmitted from Satellites to the ground, giving listeners the ability to hear a radio station anywhere in the United States and Canada.
For North America, the equipment can be purchased either online or now at nearly every major consumer electronics retailer. This will probably be the first holiday shopping season that makes Satellite Radio really take off.
The service is relatively in expensive. For about $49 USD you can get the XM “Radio”. XM is the largest Satellite Radio network in the U.S. with more than five million listeners. It can be used in your car, home, boom box, computer or virtually anywhere. Apparently the monthly subscription fee of $12.95 USD for XM. There are different model recievers avilable – some portable, some component. XM Radio features hundreds of digital channels, mostly music but some with more relevant content for our purposes. All the channels originate from XM Radio’s broadcast center, a massive all-digital studio complex in Washington, DC. From there it is uplinked to their two Boeing 702 satellites nicknamed “Rock” and “Roll” respecitvely. Locked in geo-synchronous orbit over North America each satellite provides 18kw of power, making them the most powerful commercial satellites launched. Additionally, ground based repeaters supplement the satellite signal coverage for hard to reach topographic locations.
I’ve been hearing a number of readers interested in particular programs they heard on satellite Radio, and now we’ve finally found a channel that seems right up our alley:
Sonic Theater, Channel 163 on XM Radio has content both old and new.
One of the cool new programmers for Channel 163 is the Wolcott Sheridan Aural Performance Library which has content in the form of what they call SonicMovies™ (what we call Audio Drama). For instance, producer Kevin Yancy has 1 H.P. Lovecraft story completed, Dagon, a half dozen or more being edited and a plan for many more!
Other Sonic Theater channel producing partners can be found HERE.
And the channel schedule can be found HERE.
And by the by, we’d also be interested in hearing from North American Sirius listeners.The Sirius Satellite Radio network has approximately one million listeners. Are any of them getting Science Fiction or Fantasy content? And what about other English speaking countries? Do you have Satellite Radio in New Zealand? Is DAB radio in the UK the European equivilent of Satellite Radio? I want some Belizean Science Ficion audio – does it exist? Help us out folks.