Sirius and Fox News

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In October 2004, I bought (actually leased) a new BMW. One of the attractions was that it was wired for Sirius satellite radio. Ever since, I have enjoyed listening to the satellite radio very much, particularly the classical music channels and the audio from Fox News Channel.

No more. On January 1, Sirius stopped carrying Fox News Channel. Evidently Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin would not pay Fox News CEO Roger Ailes's price for the rights to carry the channel.

Why did Sirius drop Fox? The Hollywood Reporter writes, "Observers speculated Wednesday that Sirius might have balked at a price hike from Fox News in order to conserve cash after signing Howard Stern to an exclusive deal for $500 million over five years." Well, if that's its decision, my decision is to stop subscribing to Sirius. I'm not interested in listening to Howard Stern, and I'm not interested in listening to CNN, which now comes on the channel number on which Sirius used to carry Fox. I suppose I can get XM installed on my car—though an extra receiver will be clumsier than the current one, which is part of the installed car radio—and the next time I lease a new car I can choose one that comes wired for XM. And I suspect I'm not alone: The same Hollywood Reporter article says that Fox News is the third-most-listened-to channel on XM. Memo to BMW: You might want to wire your cars for a satellite radio network that delivers all the cable news channels, not one that doesn't deliver the cable news channel that has the most viewers, sometimes more than all the other cable news channels combined. Mel Karmazin used to be with CBS, and perhaps he thinks listeners are content to receive only left-leaning newscasts. If so, he should take a look at the cable news ratings.

Many, probably most, readers of this blog know that I am a Fox News contributor. Now you all do. (The title is misleading: I do not contribute my commentary, I sell it.) The only people at Fox to whom I've talked about this were some of the bookers at the Washington bureau; I brought up the subject because I was miffed that I couldn't get Fox as I was driving in to appear on the network. They told me there was some kind of contract dispute. I did my research on it on the Web. Nobody at Fox asked me to write about this; it was my own idea entirely. Because I'm steamed. I love my BMW, and I've loved my Sirius satellite radio. Now I feel cheated.