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Satellite radio gets a warm reception
by David Bray

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Satellite TV
TORONTO - You might say satellite radio received a warm reception at the September 8th bash held at Toronto's Mod Club. A star-studded crowd attended the early evening affair hosted by two of the subscription radio applicants slated to appear at the CRTC hearing beginning on November 1st.

The Sirius/Standard/CBC team joined forces with the Canadian Satellite Radio/XM group to espouse the benefits of satellite radio in Canada for listeners, artists, and members of the retail and music industries. The prevailing sentiment appeared to be "license us both and let listeners decide".

The show started out with a song from promising newcomer Kathleen Edwards who, before performing "a song they won't play on the radio", commented "if they don't play me on satellite radio�.then I'm f****d". Following her came a rousing endorsement for satellite radio in general from well-known American journalist Bob Lefsetz.

Next up, members of CSR/XM (Bob Mackowycz, Stephen Tapp, John Bitove) and the Sirius/Standard/CBC (Gary Slaight, Michele Tremblay, Kevin Shea, Jane Chalmers) teams spoke to the industry crowd and answered questions. The theme was "Satellite Radio: The Next Step in the Evolution of Radio". Speakers touted the fact that satellite radio in the U.S., with approx. three million subscribers, has experienced quicker adoption rates from consumers than any other media product (e.g. cable TV, satellite TV, MP3 players, VCR's, etc.).

More importantly, the speakers answered potential critics with the arguments that Canadian "artists and niche formats that wouldn't normally receive airplay on traditional stations will be heard by a much wider audience, both across Canada and in the sizeable U.S. market," they collectively said.

The executives pointed to new revenue streams for Canadian artists as well as the $40 million in Canadian talent development funding. Lastly came the discussion of avoiding the "grey market" problems encountered by satellite television. Party goers left with kits from each group and requests to provide letters of support.

Where we all go from here is up to the CRTC. But it was clear from the line of empty martini glasses that radio fans are having a good time getting there.

David Bray is senior vice-president of Hennessy & Bray Communications. Feel free to forward questions and inquiries:

Kathleen Edwards performed.

David Basskin of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (left) and Brian Chater of the Canadian Independent Record Production Association. Photos by David Bray.

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When it comes to the three subscription radio applications to be heard by the CRTC November (see this site for stories explaining it), should the Commission:
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Approve none?