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Anti-Satellite Radio ads are full of distortions

I hate lies. And “distortions” are a nice way of saying “lies.”

It seems to me if you have a product to sell and it’s worth buying, folks will buy it. Likewise, if a product sucks, they won’t. It won’t be necessary, for example, for the Radio industry to air a series of attack ads against the looming threat of Satellite Radio if, in fact, Satellite Radio is really as bad as terrestrial Radio says it is.

So what do we make of these Radio spots that illustrate dozens of obviously fake testimonials by obviously in-over-their-head voice talent.

Every argument is a stretch. Especially arguments along the lines of “when Satellite Radio goes out of business, what am I gonna do with all my equipment?” Please.

Here’s what really burns me: Each spot ends the same way, “every month tens of thousands of people cancel their Satellite Radio service.” If it’s bad enough for them, it’s too bad for you too, right?

Wait a minute.

In the cable and satellite business, this kind of termination of service is called “churn,” and it exists in ALL areas: Satellite TV, Satellite Radio, Cable TV, Digital Cable, etc. It also, by the way, exists in terrestrial Radio – whenever listeners decide to stop listening to your station.

The Satellite Radio churn facts are these: Subscribers for both XM and Sirius are growing by leaps and bounds. Churn is on the order of 1% to 2% – which is virtually nothing. Compare that to the churn for digital cable, which is close to 5% and you get the idea. Compare this to the ratings for the average radio station which fluctuates by 10% or 20% or more every MONTH (if you believe what Arbitron tells you).

If you run these spots you are lying to your listeners. They will know it, because they will talk to their friends who actually have Satellite Radio and hear what is likely to be a very different story.

Will Satellite Radio make it in the long run. Who knows? But in the marketplace for listener attention, the quarter-hours will go to the most entertaining medium – and the one with integrity.

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