Sirius XM Prepares for Possible Bankruptcy

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Sirius XM, the satellite broadcaster who only recently combined their previously-competitive channel offerings and cut a whole bunch of the popular stations, suddenly has an even more uncertain future. The company is preparing for a possible bankrupty filing, which “could come within days,” according to the New York Times. However, this may just be a crazy high-stakes cat-and-mouse game with EchoStar/Dish Network bigwig Charles Ergen, who controls a whole bunch of Sirius’ bulging debt. Ergen would apparently have to make a formal offer to purchase the company sooner than later if he wanted to avoid the bankruptcy mess, so it’s kind of like Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin (formerly in charge of former Party Ben employer CBS awesome radio!) is saying pony up or watch us go bye-bye. Gutsy!Sirius is of course home to Howard Stern, whom I listened to quite a bit last weekend in a Sirius-equipped rental car. Stern continues to be pretty hilarious, although it still startles me to hear people swear on the radio. Flipping through the various Sirius XM channels, I discovered an ironic situation: the only stations I wanted to listen to for more than a few minutes were rebroadcasts of real live radio and TV stations: BBC Radio 1, NPR, CNN. Even the Sirius dance station, BPM, only seemed to get interesting when it switched over to BBC-produced mixes. God bless Sirius for trying, but I’ve always maintained that a satellite radio “network” that produces all its own content is like a cable TV company that offers 100 channels of, say, “Comcast Local Spotlight” or school lunch menus. Full disclosure: I do production and programming work for an internet radio company, and sure, it could be considered in competition with Sirius. But the satcaster has blown through so much money, it almost seemed designed to fail, although if it does, you can bet Karmazin won’t go hungry. I just hope Howard lands on his feet; say what you will, but he’s always entertaining, and is one of the few things Sirius does itself that’s worth listening to.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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