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Edition #34: A special edition.
Looking back at the news from two weeks ago.
Monday, March 27th, 2023
Hello there… Surprise!!! You didn’t think I’d come in with another edition, did ya? Well, I am now! I am here with a special edition of the SeriousXM newsletter to help you catch up with what happened two weeks ago. As I’ve said, my schedule to post this has been off lately but I’m doing my best to get back on track.
I will take you back to the week of March 13th which later that week on Friday was St. Patrick’s Day! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to post on time that week as I was hit and served on jury duty, and later even served on a jury for a civil case, not a criminal one. I won’t talk about it further because it was a huge inconvenience for me so I’m just moving on.
Let’s talk about what happened that particular week inside SXM. In the meantime, do me a favor here, would ya?
Let’s catch you up right now…
March 13th News
SiriusXM wants to focus more on streaming.
It seems like SiriusXM wants to slowing get more into streaming and less into over-the-air. At least that’s what EVP and CFO Sean Sullivan said at Deutsche Bank’s Annual Media Conference.
According to Cord Cutters News, SXM plans to revamp its online streaming apps and put streaming as its focus going forward as its main platform. This is nothing new though as you may have likely seen its build-up over the years with SXM putting its radio product online over the years, buying up Pandora in 2019, and introducing new Xtra channels that are only available via its app.
However, it will be a very long time before this happens as nothing will change immediately, meaning that traditional satellite radio will still be around for quite some time.
But it does point out four things according to Cord Cutters News that are all agreeable. One, you can put more channels on streaming compared to satellite because of bandwidth limitations on the latter. Two, its streaming packages are at a lower cost compared to the in-car ones. Three, building a satellite is more expensive than just upgrading a server to handle more channels. And four, many cars, especially newer ones, now come with built-in audio apps for SiriusXM and others, which would make the switch to streaming much easier.
Mr. Sullivan did say that this push will not be affected by this change or the recent 8% layoffs SiriusXM just went through.
Steve Cohen leaves the company.
A couple of weeks ago, SiriusXM did lose what some would say is a valuable member of the team as Steve Cohen, SiriusXM’s Senior Vice President of Sports Programming, has decided to leave the platform.
After a nearly two-decade run with the company, having first joined in 2004, he will now move into a consultant role while Vice President of Sports Programming Eric Spitz essentially takes over his job. Cohen will probably jump on the air now and host some programs after stepping away from his managerial duties. A report from The New York Post claims it was Cohen’s, not SiriusXM’s, decision to step aside.
The Desk reports that Cohen was instrumental in building SiriusXM’s dominance as the leading platform for live sports radio, where it has made deals with pretty much everyone in sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, Premier League, Formula 1, NASCAR, PGA Tour, IndyCar, the list goes on and on and on.
Meanwhile, Cohen will now focus on a charity called Shaina’s Wish which he started with his wife, Eileen, after their daughter, Shaina, died in 2017. The charity works with people who are afflicted with mental health disorders, alcohol dependency, and substance abuse problems.
Nik Carter has also left the company.
Another on-air talent leaves the company, but it seems like on his own terms this time as Nik Carter has decided to leave. He was previously an evening show host on Faction Talk (SXM 103; xL).
He’s been with the company since 2016, first hosting Feedback on Volume (now online-only on SXM 780) before moving to Faction Talk when Volume became online-only. He was also the voiceover for Classic Rewind (SXM 25).
Johnny Chiang now looks at Country for SXM too.
Radio Insight reported two weeks ago that Johnny Chiang is now overseeing Country music-related programming on SiriusXM too. He is Pandora’s Senior Director of Country Programming and now adds the same duties for SiriusXM as well.
He takes over from J.R. Schumann who left the company last summer. In the meantime, SXM’s V.P. of Programming Darrin Smith was filling in before Chaing took over. Chaing now gets to oversee SXM’s eleven Country music channels, including The Highway (SXM 56), Prime Country (SXM 58), and Y2Kountry (SXM 61) among others.
Kevin Hart re-ups with SXM.
It looks like you’ll be hearing Kevin Hart on SiriusXM for a little while longer. Two weeks ago, SXM and Kevin Hart’s company Hartbeat re-upped to a multi-year deal that’ll keep Hart on SiriusXM for years to come. This means that Kevin Hart’s LOL Radio will continue to be heard on SXM 96. It also means that his podcast now rebranded as Gold Minds with Kevin Hart, will continue.
Comedians will still be around, but now he’ll have actors, actresses, journalists, filmmakers, and more alongside him in his weekly podcast that’s available on the SXM app (with exclusive content for SXM subscribers only) and on all podcast platforms the next day.
According to the Associated Press, Hart said he felt compelled to rebrand “Gold Minds” because he wanted to expand beyond comedy to a “larger pool of individuals with interesting stories.”
Not only that, his company will produce new programs for the platform including Love Thang with Punkie Johnson and One Song with Diallo and LUXXURY. Not only that, comedian Nathaniel Earthquake Stroman will return to Hart’s channel for a fifth season of Quake’s House (live at 4:00pm ET - 1:00pm PT) and he’ll continue to host Straight From The Hart with his group of friends known as The Plastic Cup Boyz (Joey Wells, Will “Spank” Horton, Harry Ratchford, Wayne Brown, and Na’im Lynn) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00-9:00pm ET (4:00-6:00pm PT).
But, what’s exciting about all of this is the announcement that his channel will be the EXCLUSIVE home… for late comedian Bernie Mac’s first-ever solo standup special.
That’s right. For the first time ever, a never-before-heard full-length stand-up album will be aired on LOL Radio coming up soon. Bernie Mac: Tapes From A King will be out soon as a remastered collection, produced by Hartbeat in collaboration with NBW Films and Rhonda R. McCullough, the widow of Bernie Mac with whom she was married for 31 years. It will be aired first on LOL Radio for one month before it will then be released across all streaming platforms.
Exciting new shows and announcements from Mr. Hart who first signed a deal with SXM back in 2018 and it has been growing ever since.
ESPN and SXM team up for UFC audio coverage.
Considering that I will NOT be mentioning any events here since most have already taken place, I thought I’d mention this news here.
ESPN and SiriusXM are teaming up to deliver select UFC events on the radio. These events will be covered with UFC audio from the ESPN networks over on SiriusXM Fight Nation (SXM 156). It will air English-language live UFC audio broadcasts of all Fight Night events from start to finish. This includes the non-PPV Early Prelims, Prelims, and events from Dana White’s Contender Series.
However, those will NOT include the main fights which will still be put up behind the PPV wall and still only available on ESPN+ or on PPV on a traditional cable and satellite provider.
All of Mike Wallace’s interviews are in one place.
A new pop-up channel came up earlier this month that’ll run until next Monday so you’re not too late.
Over on Channel 109, SXM is airing episodes of The Mike Wallace Interview (1957-1960) which haven’t been aired in over 50+ years. From now until April 3rd, over 100 of Wallace’s interviews are being played on one of SXM’s limited-run channels. You’ll hear the most famous people and influential newsmakers during that late ‘50s era, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Lloyd Wright, Sammy Davis Jr., Henry Kissinger, and Oscar Hammerstein II, among others.
They’ll also be available via the SXM app during the channel’s run. SXM was able to obtain these interviews from Wallace’s personal library of 16mm prints. Wallace was one of America’s foremost and sometimes intimidating journalists of his time. He was one of the original correspondents of CBS’ 60 Minutes when it started in 1968, and continued until he semi-retired in 2006, then retiring for good in 2008. He died from natural causes back on April 7th, 2012. He was 93.
Getting into a List of music and pop culture.
There’s a new podcast out there from SiriusXM as if there isn’t a new one announced every week now these days.
The new program is called The List, a new weekly short-form program that’s exclusively available on the SXM app. Its hosted by pop culture experts, authors, and BuzzFeed alums Matt Bellassai and Nichole Perkins who’ll break down weird and wild lyrics, some of the biggest songs of all time, and much more.
As a matter of fact, the first episode dives into iconic legendary songs that were originally meant for other artists. For example, did you know that Toxic by Britney Spears was originally meant for Janet Jackson or Kylie Minogue? How about Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing? That was originally meant for Celine Dion. And what about Chandelier by Sia? Rihanna or Beyoncé was supposed to take it instead.
If this is something that interests you, then check out the podcast on the SXM app.
And that’s it for this special edition of this newsletter. There will be another one coming out soon that’ll recap what happened back in February.
For now, in the meantime, go right ahead and subscribe for FREE, share with your family, friends, and loved ones, and hopefully donate to support this newsletter and my work.
I will be back on Friday with a regular weekly edition of the newsletter. Hopefully, I won’t be derived on time that’ll make me do this week’s edition a day later as I’ve done before. Hopefully not anymore. I will talk to you all on Friday, but until then, barring any major news… have a great week!