Satellite radio top Christmas seller

Local electronics retailers got a big Christmas present from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) over the holidays.

The hottest items on the shelves in December were satellite radios. None of the retailers contacted by The Interior News were able to estimate how many of the devices they sold but they all said they were virtually flying off the shelves.

Glynn Sayeau, store manager at Canadian Tire said his store could barely keep them in stock.

“We did our best to keep up with demand,” he said.

“I think there were only a couple of days that we were sold out.”

The owner of Totem Audio Video Binh Tran agreed.

“It was definitely one of our top sellers,” he said.

Don Malkow of The Source by Circuit City was very happy but understated about their sales results saying simply: “We sold a lot.”

Tran attributed the rush directly to the CRTC’s July decision to allow the service in Canada.

“It’s been in the U.S. for three years now, but they just started to do that in Canada around the beginning of December,” he said.

“Now you can get Canadian programming, so I think that’s why [the radios were so popular.]”

Sayeau thinks customers in the Northwest region are particularly attracted to the new service because of remote conditions.

“There are really only two [radio] stations and the roads are pretty bumpy so people are getting away from their CD players,” he said.

He cited flexibility as the greatest attribute of the new service including the ability to program the receiver to scan for songs or artists you want to hear and alert you when they are being played on other stations.

Malkow said the lack of commercials was also a huge selling feature.

Satellite radio is actually a bit of a misnomer because not all the programming is broadcast by satellite. It’s more appropriately called subscription radio and that’s how broadcasters are able to provide commercial-free service.

Calling the device a radio is also a bit of a misnomer. The receiver you purchase works in conjunction with your existing radio in much the same way a digital receiver works in conjunction with your TV. There are models available for both in-car and home use and you can use it on either the FM or AM band.

The technology is being lauded as the biggest advance in broadcasting since FM. It’s all-digital, providing CD-quality sound and works from coast to coast without having to switch frequencies between towns.

There are two providers of the service in Canada, Sirius Canada and XM Satellite Radio.

Sirius offers 100 channels, 60 of which are commercial-free music stations, for $14.99 per month. Six of its ten Canadian offerings are produced by the CBC.

For $12.99 per month XM features over 80 channels in 17 programming categories, eight of which are Canadian.

CHUM, the Toronto-based media conglomerate, also proposed and was approved for an all-Canadian service but is undecided yet whether they will exercise it because of a dispute with the broadcasting regulator over the competitive advantage of the U.S.-based Sirius and XM who are only required to provide ten per cent Canadian content.

Local electronics retailers got a big Christmas present from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) over the holidays.

The hottest items on the shelves in December were satellite radios. None of the retailers contacted by The Interior News were able to estimate how many of the devices they sold but they all said they were virtually flying off the shelves.

Glynn Sayeau, store manager at Canadian Tire said his store could barely keep them in stock.

“We did our best to keep up with demand,” he said.

“I think there were only a couple of days that we were sold out.”

The owner of Totem Audio Video Binh Tran agreed.

“It was definitely one of our top sellers,” he said.

Don Malkow of The Source by Circuit City was very happy but understated about their sales results saying simply: “We sold a lot.”

Tran attributed the rush directly to the CRTC’s July decision to allow the service in Canada.

“It’s been in the U.S. for three years now, but they just started to do that in Canada around the beginning of December,” he said.

“Now you can get Canadian programming, so I think that’s why [the radios were so popular.]”

Sayeau thinks customers in the Northwest region are particularly attracted to the new service because of remote conditions.

“There are really only two [radio] stations and the roads are pretty bumpy so people are getting away from their CD players,” he said.

He cited flexibility as the greatest attribute of the new service including the ability to program the receiver to scan for songs or artists you want to hear and alert you when they are being played on other stations.

Malkow said the lack of commercials was also a huge selling feature.

Satellite radio is actually a bit of a misnomer because not all the programming is broadcast by satellite. It’s more appropriately called subscription radio and that’s how broadcasters are able to provide commercial-free service.

Calling the device a radio is also a bit of a misnomer. The receiver you purchase works in conjunction with your existing radio in much the same way a digital receiver works in conjunction with your TV. There are models available for both in-car and home use and you can use it on either the FM or AM band.

The technology is being lauded as the biggest advance in broadcasting since FM. It’s all-digital, providing CD-quality sound and works from coast to coast without having to switch frequencies between towns.

There are two providers of the service in Canada, Sirius Canada and XM Satellite Radio.

Sirius offers 100 channels, 60 of which are commercial-free music stations, for $14.99 per month. Six of its ten Canadian offerings are produced by the CBC.

For $12.99 per month XM features over 80 channels in 17 programming categories, eight of which are Canadian.

CHUM, the Toronto-based media conglomerate, also proposed and was approved for an all-Canadian service but is undecided yet whether they will exercise it because of a dispute with the broadcasting regulator over the competitive advantage of the U.S.-based Sirius and XM who are only required to provide ten per cent Canadian content.

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