Five days a week, I drive less than a mile per day – to and from the train station. The other days, I don’t drive a whole lot more; I run errands, visit friends and occasionally take the trip to my parents’ house. I could not live without my XM Radio, though.

When satellite radio first came out, I knew that I had to have it. Anyone who has ridden in the car with me can vouch that I am completely ADD when it comes to the radio. I will flip through my 30 preset stations in search of the perfect song and then do it all over again when the song ends. I love that satellite radio has very little talk, great variety of genres and often plays songs that you wouldn’t otherwise hear. Satellite radio also keeps you from being punished by “whatever the local flavor is” – i.e. country and Christian rock in the south, Spanish music in Arizona … I’ve been subjected to it all on road trips.

For the past year or so, there were rumblings of a Sirius/XM merger. Anyone who pays for each service adamantly believes s/he has the better satellite radio offering. Months rolled on and everyone wondered how the merger would take place – would one company overtake the other? I was happy with XM the way it was.

Then one morning a few weeks ago, I turned on my car to find that “Ethel” had been replaced with “Alt Nation.” “Lucy” had been overtaken by “Lithium” and I suddenly had an entire station dedicated to the Grateful Dead. The companies silently merged the two station offerings, leaving the listener with Sirius/XM – a cornucopia of radio stations.

Presets were supposed to remain the same genre – in other words, Lucy played “alt-90s rock.” Sirius’ version, Lithium, theoretically plays the same thing. However, I’ve noticed one thing thus far – Sirius repeats songs. A lot. I didn’t notice this as much with XM (with the exception of “Into the Night” by Benny Mendones, “Danny’s Song” by Loggins & Messina and “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire). I feel as though I have heard “Wrong Way” by Sublime about 140 times in the last week.

Don’t get me wrong – XM is not without its own share of problems. I was highly disappointed when, last month, they pre-empted the ska/hardcore/punk station with a 24-7 AC/DC station. Um, seriously? I didn’t even think AC/DC had enough songs to fill a day’s worth of programming, let alone an entire permanent station. Ew.

Another issue is in the XM hardware. I think I have one of the oldest radios that XM sold – it runs through the cassette deck in my car. When I inquired about putting in a new radio, they told me that the entire system would have to be rewired – you couldn’t simply plug and play.

As of this morning, I think my XM has become possessed. I pressed the “memory” button and it started flipping through stations and refusing to stop on one to listen. Then, after I unplugged it in a moment of fury, it got stuck on Lithium and played the same song by Garbage three times in a row.

Siriusly – what gives?

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