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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Sirius problems abound

Scott Jagow Feb 11, 2009

Things do not look good for satellite radio company, Sirius XM. The New York Times reports that Sirius XM is considering bankruptcy. The company has a debt payment due this month that it probably can’t pay. What could happen is that EchoStar, the TV satellite company, might take over. It’s been buying up Sirius XM debt. Sirius XM shares are worthless.

The stock closed at 11 cents a share yesterday. Obviously, this company has to change the way it’s doing business. For one thing, stop paying celebrities ridiculous salaries. If Howard Stern walks, so be it. Yes, I know many people signed up for Sirius to hear Stern, but his deal is worth at least $500 million. Martha Stewart’s getting $30 million. Oprah’s getting $55 million. Do these people really need more exposure? There are plenty of talented personalities who would cost much less and don’t already have their own shows all over the TV networks.

Something has to change. Like, do you really believe satellite broadcasting is the future? Web and wireless radio is clearly where Sirius XM should turn its attention. And it may have to change its fee structure and many other things in an economic climate where people aren’t buying cars let alone car radios.

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