Friday, November 21, 2008

XM Radio officially sucks frog innards

Until Tuesday morning, I loved XM Radio. Unconditionally. While I only listened to a handful of stations, I loved them. Unconditionally.

Wait, I loved one of them unconditionally. The others had too many commercials, and they annoyed the hell out of me. If we have to pay for radio, then I don't want 5 minutes of commercials every 10 minutes.

XCountry, channel 12, was my channel, our channel. Tom and I ran across it three and a half years ago on the way to Myrtle Beach for Kara's wedding. We'd just gotten XM and hadn't learned our way around it yet, but that day we discovered XCountry. We were in love immediately.

I think that the first song to which we really paid attention was "The Boys from Oklahoma (Roll Their Joints All Wrong)" by Cross Canadian Ragweed. Hilarious, and wow, commercial radio (by which I mean those sucky local stations we have) doesn't play anything like that. Then there was "Choctaw Bingo" by James McMurtry and also by, I think, Ray Wilie Hubbard. It starts, "Strap them kids in, give 'em a little bit of benedryl and some cherry coke". We were hooked. We've discovered Last Train Home, Peter Cooper, Robert Earl Keen, Corb Lund, Todd Snider ("B double E double R U N, beer run") and hundreds of others that we never would have heard of if not for XCountry.

And now it's "Outlaw Country", taken over by stinking Sirius radio which bought XM, and I knew there would be trouble, playing Roger Miller (oh come on, he's an outlaw???) and other old crap that could be found on other channels or, even better, on those local stations that play the same shit day in, day out, same time each day.

Examples of shit Outlaw Country plays: "Hammer Down Radio with DJ Rig Rocker 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM". Great, while I'm driving home, just what I want to hear. I loves me some big rig trucking songs. NOT. "Elizabeth Cook's Apron Strings 7:00 AM - 11:00 AM Sassy country singer Elizabeth Cook kicks off your morning from Music City, where she cooks up a scintillating mix of music, recipes and household cleaning tips." I've always wanted recipes and household cleaning tips mixed in with my music. This is considered outlaw??

And this--"Meredith Ochs in Outlaw Country 8:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Smart, sassy siren-voiced Meredith Ochs brings over a decade of music journalism and radio commentary to your nights in Outlaw Country!" How many sassy singers do we need? And commentary? No thank you.

One thing that we really really liked about XCountry was that there were NO commercials, no commentary, no shit that we used to hear on regular radio between songs or instead of songs. XCountry focused on music. After a set of songs, the dj would say what songs they were, by whom, and that was it. On to more music.

Doesn't this one sound like fun? "Johnny Knoxville & Roger Alan Wade
A hell-raisin' hour of hot pickin', finger sniffin' frog stickin' Outlaw mayhem with "Jackass" star Johnny Knoxville and his cousin - musical misfit Roger Alan Wade." Finger sniffin' frog stickin'? Eeeewwwwwww. That pretty much sums up my feelings about Outlaw Country.

The XM Channel Linup (yeah, they can spell) FAQs state that XCountry is now Outlaw Country with the same music as before. So far, all I've heard is Roger Miller and other shit that I wouldn't listen to if all other music had vanished from the face of the earth.

Can you tell that I'm not happy? I'm so upset that I'm considering cancelling our subscriptions to XM (the fact that we can no longer afford to pay for the family's subscriptions does not come into play here. I mean our personal two subscriptions.) Why pay for that shit when I can listen to the sound of my own ears ringing for free?

I don't want classic country. The stations in my area play that ad nauseum. I don't want truckin' country. I don't want Outlaw Country.

I want my XCountry back. And I want it now.


Anonymous said...

Betty said...

Yep, the XM station changes threw me a bit, too. The one I listened to most of the time disappeared, or was renamed. I've found a few new ones that I like and am giving them a try, but I am also considering getting rid of XM.

Did you know that channel 55 is Margaritaville? They play a lot of Jimmy Buffett, but they also play some other stuff on there that they think goes with the theme.

You should let XM know how you feel...if enough people let them know they aren't happy, maybe they will make some changes.

rita said...

We've both signed a petition asking that XCountry be brought back, and I left a message on the XM site today, too.

I knew about Margaritaville, but I haven't listened to it. Maybe someday, but now I'm too angry.

Nothing else plays alternative country music, so I'm lost.

Leetie said...

The new djs are talking over the freaking music now, right up until the lyrics start. XM was supposed to be better than FM. Now it's no better. I'd rather fill up an ipod.

Bismuth said...

I'm still deciding whether I like the changes or not. The stations I usually listen to (43, 47, 54) are more or less the same as they were before, so no big deal. There's also now the Catholic Channel (which is not as boring as it sounds... apparently Sirius knew how to find Catholic radio personalities with actual personalities!), so that's a plus. On the downside, they seem to have dropped the Classical Christmas station, and moved the Verge far away from the other rock stations, so you can't easily mosey on over to it.

I'm not really a country fan, but the way you describe Xcountry and Outlaw Country... I can't blame you for being angry.

John said...

You said it so well. I find nothing "outlaw" about XM 12 now.....Johnny Knoxville? Really? Johnny freakin' Knoxville is now selecting/commenting on the music on XM 12?

I listened to X Country because I knew the artists and songs there would never be heard on commercial radio, and that I wouldn't be subjected to the babble of a self-important DJ.

This homogenized "mush" is the result of a monopoly / lack of competition. I'll keep my subscription since it is barely better than straight commercial radio or no radio at all (and because I paid for 3 years before word of this merger came out). I hope for a another sat radio or other alternative in the future, but I'll get an iPOD and "fire" Sirius if it doesn't get any better.

rita said...

Right, Leetie, that's one of the things that I hate so much. If they HAVE to talk, then shut up when the music starts. I always hated that on AM and FM radio.

I don't want cutesy--or crude--talk with my music. Just play the damn stuff. That's what we've been paying XM for all these years.

John, you said it so well. Do you have a blog? The more we express our displeasure as publicly as possible, the better we'll be heard. Maybe.

I don't even know who Johnny Knoxville is, but from what I hear, he's totally obnoxious.

Bis, I'm glad that there's still stuff you like. My sister's favorite channels changed very little, too.

Anonymous said...

I woke up that terrible morning of the merger to hear John Anderson's Swingin'. Things have not got any better. The other day I was watching the play list on Outhouse country as I listened to music downloaded from Rhapsody on to my shiny new mp3 player. Anyway, it was the trailer park bash show and they played Reba, Alan Jackson, Montgomery Gentry,and Clay Walker--all Christmas songs. I am now considering dropping xm radio. I like some of the other channels but, Cross Country was so damn good and I just cannot stand how awful Outhouse Country is. Cancelling my subscription over 1 channel may sound dumb to some. It will be my way of thanking Jessie Scott and all the other good people at X Country for all the great music and shows.

treedude said...

Oh man!! I cannot believe this!!

X-country was a great channel, giving me the opportunity to hear new performers as well as established artist with new music. And . . . yah . . . it’s fun to listen to Zeppelin, AC/DC, and etc., (on their own channels) but gee whiz. . . give me a break, I think there’s some room for Alt. Country somewhere in the lineup.

And those DJs!! What little bit I’ve listened to on Outhouse Country made me realize that I was going to wear out the mute button NOT listening to the Mojo Weenie!!

But . . . I think they might have actually done me a favor (spoken with an Irish lent), there seem to be some other alternatives out there, like Slacker Radio. I just found it today . . . so this isn’t like a testimonial . . . but I think it might work for me.

Anyone have other suggestions?

Oh yah, today I signed the before mentioned petition, approximately # 39,000. Wow, that's a bunch of pissed off people!

KamDog said...

XM 12 used to be the best thing on radio. Creative, original, and a showcase for new bands. Now it is dull, unoriginal and full of boring crap like Fed Imus, Hillbilly Jim and, worst of all, the execrable Mojo Nixon. I plan to cancel my subscription if something isn't done.

Brian said...

I still get mad when I think about how they took my beloved xcountry... like a thief in the night! Waking up to Outlaw Country was like waking up from a bad dream. Unlike xcountry programming, the country pop dribble found on OC is far from unique... in fact I find it irritating. I cancelled my longtime XM subscription that day, but still hold out hope that the morons running Sirius XM will either be fired or that they suddenly come to their senses! I can't think of another business that takes a successful product away from the consumer and still survives. Maybe those geniuses know something that the rest of us don't... maybe they think we will eventually wear down and fall in love with their pathetic programming... I would rather listen to a jack hammer!

rita said...

Brian, my husband and I are still mourning the loss of XCountry. We cancelled ours, and though Sirius sent us some good offers to return, it just wasn't worth it. Instead, I bought a BlackBerry and, when I'm in a 3G network, we listen to Slacker, which is so cool because you program what you want to hear. I also put most of our favorite music on the thing, so we can listen to what we want when we want it. And it doesn't cost any more than the phone plan would anyway.

We weren't happy that we'd miss new singers/groups because Americana just doesn't have a presence in our area, but with Slacker, we're hearing new ones and enjoying them. Better than OC, which is a total joke. They play pretty much the same crap on our local country stations, so why pay to listen to it?

Anonymous said...

I have told severaal XM phone reps my disappointment over loss of XCountry and got no satisfaction. The current offerings range "not irritating to disgustingly assinine (RogerallenWade)".I am not an elitist, I work in the state prison system. Why remove/replace programming so many liked to expose the rear end of the bastard child of XMsirious' union? Yes, I still check in on channel 12 to see if the bad dream is over. XCountry was the reason I bought XM, my wife paid for a year subscription w/o asking, I may not renew. Hello, XM can you hear us?

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