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How satellite radio enriched my life on a rainy day

I've been with Crutchfield since 1999, where I began as one our advisors, helping our customers choose new gear. After a couple of years, I moved to the writing team where I spent a decade researching new products and getting hands on with car stereos, amplifiers, speakers, and subs. Yeah, I've been doing this for a while.

For the past few years, I've been the managing editor of Crutchfield's Car A/V web article content. I couldn't ask for a better job — we get to play with car audio gear every day! I'm a Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Outside of work, I love listening to music, playing board games, and installing new audio systems for my friends.

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Yesterday's late lunch took an unexpected turn, and along with giving me a rock-solid excuse for hanging around in my car listening to music, it was also the perfect demonstration of why XM satellite radio's massive variety is so cool.

I'd headed to a nearby grocery store to pick up some lunch, but on the way back to work, I saw a thick, dark storm-front unfolding in the sky. Between the amazing display of jagged lightning, the powerful winds, and the torrential rain, it definitely wasn't safe to drive. And I really like thunderstorms — I'd happily sit outside in the pouring rain, if not for my mother's voice in the back of my head nagging me about not having the sense God gave a turnip. So I parked in a vacant area of the shopping center's parking lot and just watched.

Now, if all I'd had to listen to at the time were the CDs I had in the car or a few local radio stations, nothing would've come close to providing an acceptable soundtrack. But this is where XM's wide variety of options made things even better. I'd been listening to Cross Country, XM's alt-country station. But those twangy tunes about love, life, and discovery weren't going to cut it. I considered switching to Sonic Theater, another favorite of mine, but an audio book would just be distracting. I started scanning my channel presets by artist and found something called, enticingly, "Gojira." I selected the channel and found myself assaulted by the thrashing of industrial speed metal. Channel 42: Liquid Metal. Perfect! The unbridled energy of Gojira and the bands that followed were an ideal match for the storm.

So for the next twenty minutes, I ate my lunch and watched as the storm rained down furiously, lightning arced across the sky, and the small sapling trees in the parking lot were bent almost 90-degrees by the wind. After a particularly loud crack of thunder, I saw the stores in the shopping center snap into darkness as the electricity went out.

And I was in heaven.

Most of the time, my satellite radio just provides entertainment, but yesterday, it provided enrichment to an already exciting experience. And there's good news ahead — today's forecast is calling for thunderstorms.

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