XM Satellite Radio
I've been a huge fan of car audio ever since I tried (semi-successfully) to build my own custom truck speaker enclosures as a 16-year-old. I joined the Crutchfield car writing team way back in February of the year 2000, and proceeded over the years to write about nearly every product category we carry. In 2007, I assumed my current role of Car A/V Editor for our catalog, a position that helps me channel my passions for both music and driving.
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Heads up!Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.
Check out the SiriusXM channel guide
Why go through another day with "heard-that-already" local radio? America's most popular satellite radio service lets you choose what you want to hear — when you want to hear it. XM Satellite Radio delivers great programming, incredible personalities, the latest in sports, news, and entertainment, all in crystal-clear, coast-to-coast coverage of the lower 48 states.
Discover the future of radio — endless variety
XM offers a Select plan for $12.95 a month plus a $1.40 music royalty fee, for a total of $14.35 (plus a $14.99 activation fee).* You'll get 71 channels of commercial-free rock, country, blues, jazz, classical, and Latin; 44 channels of news, talk, sports, and entertainment; over 30 channels of special programming, including exclusive concert events and play-by-play broadcasts of Major League Baseball®, the NHL® and the PGA®, plus ACC, PAC-10, and Big 10 football and basketball; and 21 channels of XM Instant Traffic and Weather for major metropolitan areas around the U.S.
The Premier plan adds popular Sirius channels, including NFL broadcasts. Check out the full channel lineup.
Subscribers can also pay an additional $2.99 a month (or $12.95 as a standalone plan) for online access to over 75 channels, including all music content and comedy.
Canadian listeners get 130 channels, more than a dozen of which are produced in Canada. As XM Canada grows, they will be able to add more channels and content. Service is $14.99 a month, plus an initial activation fee.
This isn't glorified cable radio — XM has assembled an awesome array of innovative DJs, compelling hosts, and experts in dozens of specialized areas to bring the passion and personality back to radio. Imagine comedy from National Lampoon, jazz and blues from legendary radio personality Jonathan Schwartz, new music programming from The Smithereens' Pat DiNizio, and reggae from Junior Marvin, former guitarist for Bob Marley and the Wailers. Get the idea?
From XM to you
XM Radio's headquarters, production studios, and high-end concert/recording studio are located in Washington D.C. Two communications satellites (appropriately nicknamed "Rock" and "Roll") are located in geostationary orbit over the U.S., beaming XM's signal down to your car or home antenna. Terrestrial repeaters in large cities will ensure coverage in urban canyons. (Note: Satellite radio service is available only within the lower 48 states and parts of Canada — not available in Hawaii, Alaska, or U.S. territories.)
To enjoy XM's incredible programming variety, you'll need an XM-compatible tuner to receive the satellite signal.** You can connect an XM tuner module directly into your XM-ready in-dash receiver, connect it to other receivers with an FM modulator, or plug it into your home or car receiver's auxiliary input, depending on the model you choose. You can also purchase an in-dash receiver with a built-in XM tuner. Either way you go, just add an antenna and a subscription, and you'll be dialed in to nonstop, over-the-top digital programming. See the What Do I Need To Get Satellite Radio? article for more information on your product options.
Back in the glory days of FM, you could listen to deep album cuts, 20-minute live jams, and cosmic raps from the DJ while cruising the endless highway. The days of 75-cent gas may be gone, but great tunes and stimulating entertainment are back on XM Satellite Radio.
What's on the horizon — the XM and SIRIUS merger
The merger is complete. The new company is called SiriusXM. However, for the time being, things remain more or less the same — you still subscribe to one service or the other. You can expect new offerings as time goes on, until the point when the companies are truly one. XM has stated that current hardware will be carried over, and you will continue receiving service on your current radio.
A note to Canadian satellite radio users: there have been no plans announced for a merger between SIRIUS' and XM's respective Canadian divisions.
Learn more about the offerings from XM and SIRIUS in our article Everything You Need to Know About Satellite Radio.
*All fees and programming are subject to change. XM is not available in Hawaii, Alaska, or U.S. Territories. Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. — visit the official website at MLB.com.
**Hardware and subscription sold separately.