Edition #25: The latest news from SiriusXM.
Job cuts are coming, new satellites are being built, SXM is being sued and audited, events to speak of, and more.
Friday, December 2nd, 2022
Hello once again! It is the weekly SeriousXM newsletter. If you are unfamiliar with this newsletter, I cover the latest weekly news, notes, events, and more inside the SiriusXM Satellite Radio service.
There’s too much to cover this week so I’ll leave my usual weekly links here and get right to this week’s news.
The Latest News
Job cuts are coming to SiriusXM.
I was going to provide a different first story as my lead story this week, but this particular story really overshadows it. Therefore, its being mentioned now.
Just like any other technology or media company, job cuts have been spreading across the board, and across the country lately. Unfortunately for SiriusXM, that is no exception.
Bloomberg is reporting that SiriusXM is planning to fire staff in the coming weeks, as a result of faltering and awful sales growth for the company. CEO Jennifer Witz is looking to reduce costs to get ahead of any potential economic slowdown. At last check, according to filings, SXM had almost 5,600 employees at the end of last year. How much is expected to go down from that number is currently unclear as of this point.
Unfortunately, slowing sales, concerns about a recession, and worrying signs about our economy had led big tech and media companies, such as Amazon, Meta (parent company of Facebook), Spotify, and Netflix, among other companies, to make huge layoffs in recent weeks. Soon, SiriusXM will join them.
Sales are slowing down, from those free trials in new cars, as a result of weaker auto sales in the third quarter, to purchasing its products overall.
While shares are up this year for the company, its not enough to avoid job cuts that the company will now have to face in the coming week. The company’s purchase of Pandora back in 2019, and its investments in podcasting, don’t help either.
While it did so initially, unfortunately, Pandora has lost users since the purchase, and podcast advertising is suffering since major sponsors are pulling back on spending, leading to current pitfalls within the company.
Two new satellites are coming to SiriusXM.
The news of job cuts overshadows the news from earlier in the week that SiriusXM has commissioned Maxar Technologies to build two new satellites for the company to help add more new programming and services, but more importantly, expand its coverage area to more areas of Alaska and Canada.
Maxar and SiriusXM have announced a new agreement this week to commission Maxar to build SXM-11 and SXM-12, adding to the two other spacecraft SXM commissioned Maxar to build with SXM-9 and SXM-10 back in 2021.
Both satellites will be twin high-powered digital audio radio satellites. Maxar has been building satellites for SiriusXM since before its launch under Sirius. This includes their first-generation satellites launched in 2000 all the way up to the company’s current third-generation satellites, which were launched last year.
All in all, by the time this is finished, the delivery of Maxar-built spacecraft for SXM over the years will be 13, with SXM-11 and SXM-12 included in the count.
The new pair of satellites are slated to launch around 2026-2027 and by then, its expected to have more powerful antennas which will help expand coverage in Canada and Southern Alaska. In the meantime, the only third-generation satellite SXM has up in space in use for its services is SXM-8.
A SiriusXM Vulnerability you need to know about.
In addition to delivering radio programming and entertainment to you, its satellites also deliver connected vehicle services for your car, including automatic crash notifications and stolen vehicle recovery assistance.
That all sounds good and helpful… until its not. 2022 bruh… technology can be used for bad too, not just for good.
Just recently, security researchers like Yuga Labs' Sam Curry have a particular interest in these connected cars and want to hack them before bad actors find their way in so they can fix these vulnerabilities and security patches before its too late.
So its a concern to know that there is one in connected Honda, Acura, Nissan, and Infinity vehicles, thanks to a shared telematics platform offered by SiriusXM themselves. All they provided was the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) to authorize commands and voila. From there, if an attacker was to strike, it could then deliver a myriad of different commands, such as unlocking the door, honking the horn, flashing the lights, or even starting the vehicle, all without a potential victim even knowing it.
What’s even scarier, according to this story in The Drive, is that the same VIN number could also be used to retrieve other, more personal details, such as a customer’s home address and contact information.
While Curry was only able to confirm that the vulnerability existed for Honda, Acura, Nissan, and Infiniti, SiriusXM provides more than just those brands. It also provides connected services to Acura, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota models.
Thankfully, Curry reported this problem to SXM to immediately patch the vulnerability before it was made aware to the general public.
SXM is being sued and audited.
Two vastly different things are happening involving SiriusXM.
First, its being sued by four individuals who allege that SiriusXM has been making telemarketing calls to them for years, despite the fact that their numbers are on the national Do-Not-Call Registry list or have told the company that they don’t want to receive the calls to sign up for their services. The suit says that despite these pleas, SiriusXM has made many dozens of calls to them still.
If so, that could be a potential violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act plus state telemarketing laws.
In the past decade, SXM has settled class action lawsuits twice and has paid $60 million total over the past five years to class members in those cases, but says that they have continued their illegal practices involving these Robocalls and hundreds have complained to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) about it.
Next, SXM is being audited by SoundExchange for three years’ worth of account statements, specifically 2019, 2020, and 2021 statements submitted by SiriusXM Radio, Inc., involving their streaming, satellite radio, new subscriptions, and business establishment services, and is all about royalty payments made pursuant to two statutory licenses. However, this will NOT include its subsidiary Pandora Media, LLC, or its predecessor company.
In plain English, is SXM paying exactly for what it owes in royalty payments to musicians and artists?
This could be SoundExchange‘s one and only chance to find out.
These aren’t new permanent ones, but these are ones that are coming in and out this week that you should be aware of.
Starting next Wednesday, December 7th, Holiday Soul (Soul, Motown, and R&B Holiday hits) and Christmas Spirit (The True Reason of the Season) will finally take over channels 49 and 63 respectively. While they have been streaming on the SXM app (Channels 612 and 610 respectively) since the beginning of November, traditional car plans will finally be able to access those stations for a limited time.
Holiday Soul will air on Channel 49 until December 28th while Christmas Spirit will air on Channel 63 until December 27th. This means that Soul Town, the normal home of Channel 49, will temporarily move to stream only on Channel 292 during this time. The same can be said for The Message, the normal home of Channel 63, which will temporarily move to stream only as well on Channel 295 during that time.
Everything will revert back to normal by December 28th.
I also want to let you know that today is also the final day for Selena Gomez Radio on the SXM app. Having been streaming since November 10th, the station will go away after today.
Time to get to this week’s events. I won’t keep you waiting this week. First…
This week’s Hallmark Channel Radio (SXM 105 during the holidays) special:
Brooke D’Orsay’s Countdown to Christmas Countdown
Brooke D’Orsay from Hallmark Channel’s all-new original holiday movie A Fabled Holiday hosts her first Countdown to Christmas Countdown, sharing her personal memories and favorite songs. Plus, she’ll talk all about her new movie.
Tomorrow, Saturday, December 3rd at 12 Noon ET (9:00am PT)
Sunday, December 4th at 9:00am ET (6:00am PT)
Tuesday, December 6th at 3:00pm ET (12 Noon PT)
Christine McVie passed away at the age of 79.
DISCLAIMER: Yours truly is only 27 but has loved Fleetwood Mac since… forever. Its really one of America’s best-ever rock and roll groups. Without a question, full stop.
Having said that, its sad to report that this week, we lost Christine McVie this week after a short illness. She was 79.
She was a legendary singer and keyboardist for Fleetwood Mac, which also included her husband John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, and Mick Fleetwood.
She was the voice behind so many legendary hits, such as You Making Loving Fun, Over My Head, Don’t Stop, Say You Love Me, and Songbird, among others, and was one part of the band inducted with the rest into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 1998.
As a result of this news in remembrance, SiriusXM is playing some of her most well-known Fleetwood Mac songs on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Radio (SXM 310), Classic Rewind (SXM 25), Deep Tracks (SXM 27), and ’70s on 7. Check it out. It would be a remembrance to remember.
R.I.P. to Mrs. McVie.
CMA Country Christmas on SiriusXM.
If Country music is more your thing mixed in with Christmas music, then good news.
Next week on Thursday, December 8th at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT), ABC will have the annual CMA Country Christmas special, hosted this year by Carly Pearce, who’ll also perform alongside Dan + Shat, Scotty McCreery, Maren Morris, Old Dominion, and much more.
Its a night full of festive classics and one-of-a-kind performances from Nashville. However, if you want a commercial-free audio simulcast, then SiriusXM has you covered as it will air on… Country Christmas (SXM 55). No, you can’t make this up. CMA Country Christmas on… Country Christmas. If you are interested, tune in next Thursday.
Time for my favorite part of the newsletter… sports! As a huge sports fan, I can provide some context in a way I might not have if I wasn’t a huge sports fan.
In addition to the NBA, NHL, and Men’s and Women’s College Basketball regular seasons, we also have the following to check out and enjoy...
⚽: FIFA World Cup is getting close to the Round of 16.
We are getting close to the Round of 16 in the FIFA World Cup - Qatar 2022. The rest will be determined later today but one thing is for sure…
The United States of America is still in it! We’re in the Round of 16 and tomorrow morning, Saturday, December 3rd at 10:00am ET (7:00am PT), FOX Sports (SXM 83) will have live coverage of the USMNT’s next game in the World Cup vs. The Netherlands. Now, its a do-or-die situation since its win-or-go-home from here on out so the United States MUST win if they want to advance further into the tournament.
The only other game SXM has announced to carry thus far on FOX Sports in the Round of 16 will be Senegal vs. England on Sunday, December 4th at 2:00pm ET (11:00am PT). Check back here for further updates as SXM continues to make changes to its schedule to accommodate all the games.
🏈: NFL Week 13’s Weekly Audio Guide.
The NFL regular season is still going strong, but a handy list of where and when to find these games on SiriusXM are always welcome. And, as always, Matthew Keys of The Desk does an amazing job compiling this list every week.
You can check it out here.
🏈: College Football Conference Championship Weekend.
The College Football season is winding down but before that happens, several Conference Championship games are in play this weekend.
These games will have significant importance since they will help determine the final College Football Playoff rankings of the season on Sunday. Here are those games and where to find them on SiriusXM…
Friday, December 2nd
7:30pm ET (4:30pm PT): C-USA Championship Game
North Texas vs. UTSA
North Texas Hometown Broadcast: SXM 386 or online only 976.
UTSA Hometown Broadcast: SXM 387 or online only 977.
8:00pm ET (5:00pm PT): PAC-12 Championship Game
No. 12 Utah vs. No. 4 USC
Utah Hometown Broadcast: FOX Sports on SXM 83.
USC Hometown Broadcast: ESPN-U Radio on SXM 84.
National feed: ESPN Radio on SXM 80.
Saturday, December 3rd
12 Noon ET (9:00am PT): BIG 12 Championship
No. 13 Kansas State vs. No. 3 TCU
Kansas State Hometown Broadcast: ESPN Xtra on SXM 81.
TCU Hometown Broadcast: ESPN-U Radio on SXM 84.
National feed: ESPN Radio on SXM 80.
12 Noon ET (9:00am PT): MAC Championship
Toledo vs. Ohio
Toledo Hometown Broadcast: SXM 386 or online only 976.
Ohio Hometown Broadcast: SXM 387 or online only 977.
4:00pm ET (1:00pm PT): SEC Championship
No. 11 LSU vs. No. 1 Georgia
LSU Hometown Broadcast: SXM 191 or online only 962.
Georgia Hometown Broadcast: ESPN-U Radio on SXM 84.
National feed: SXM 190 or online only 961.
4:00pm ET (1:00pm PT): American Athletic Championship
No. 22 UCF vs. No. 18 Tulane
UCF Hometown Broadcast: N/A
Tulane Hometown Broadcast: ESPN Xtra on SXM 81.
4:00pm ET (1:00pm PT): SWAC Championship
Southern vs. Jackson State
Southern Hometown Broadcast: N/A
Jackson State Hometown Broadcast: SXM 203 or online only 966.
4:00pm ET (1:00pm PT): Mountain West Championship
Fresno State vs. Boise State
Fresno State Hometown Broadcast: SXM 204 or online only 967.
Boise State Hometown Broadcast: FOX Sports on SXM 83.
8:00pm ET (5:00pm PT): BIG Ten Championship
Purdue vs. No. 2 Michigan
Purdue Hometown Broadcast: FOX Sports on SXM 83.
Michigan Hometown Broadcast: ESPN-U Radio on SXM 84.
8:00pm ET (5:00pm PT): ACC Championship
No. 10 Clemson vs. No. 24 North Carolina
Clemson Hometown Broadcast: SXM 193 or online only 955.
North Carolina Hometown Broadcast: ESPN Xtra on SXM 81.
National feed: ESPN Radio on SXM 80.
🏒: College… Hockey?! Yep. I’ll mention that too.
While doing research for schedules from other sports, I so happen to stumble upon this one and I’m like… REALLY?!?! But yeah, its happening, and SiriusXM will have it.
Its a College Hockey game between Ohio State and Penn State. Considering SiriusXM actually doesn’t carry college hockey must say something about this one that SXM is willing to carry.
It’ll take place later tonight, Friday, December 2nd, between these two teams at 7:00pm ET (4:00pm PT) with the Penn State Hometown Broadcast ONLY available on SXM 372.
One more note before I go…
This weekend is your final chance to check out SiriusXM’s Free Listen Event where more than 100+ channels have been activated to try out for FREE on streaming and inactive car radios to give the service a try. However, the channels will stop working after Monday so give it a shot and check it out this weekend because it may be your last chance to do so for a while.
And that’s it for this week’s edition of the newsletter.
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Considering that I mainly curate these newsletters during the overnight hours on any given day, with the main edition being curated on very early Friday mornings, yours truly is feeling tired so I’m off to bed.
Until next week, have a great and fantastic weekend. Stay safe out there and enjoy the upcoming week ahead.