Howard Kurtz of the WaPo asks the right questions about Satellite Radio in the wake of the XM/Sirius merger: why does Satellite Radio exist in the first place?
The reason these two companies have 13 million subscribers willing to cough up $12.95 a month for something we all grew up thinking should be free is that commercial radio has self-destructed.
All these folks (including me) are paying for satellite because they're tired of cookie-cutter radio formats stuffed to the gills with commercials. They're also fed up with focus-grouped music stations that play the same 60 songs until you start hearing the chords in your sleep.
There's no good reason that the FM dial had to go to heck. When I travel now, I carry my iPod, and listen to that in the car - and the iPod is the only real competition for XM/Sirius. I grew up listening to radio, and - back when it didn't stink - the ads didn't bother me that much.