Monday, January 19, 2009

An Open Letter to Mel Karmazin...



Re: The State of Satellite Radio

Dear Mr. Karmazin (and Mr. Scott Greenstein if your viewing this letter),

I write to you because I have watched with great fanfare both as a supporter of your platform and as a former investor (Sirius) and I am quite dismayed at the lost opportunity that your company has missed.

I have sat back and watched programming mistakes and launching of product mistake time after time and have sat back passively as it just seems no one at the top seems to understand what it takes to turn sideline listeners into engaged listeners and supporters of the platform.

With new competition coming along (Apple Iphone, Pandora, CBS Last.FM, AOL Music, Sansa and others) I am watching with amazement how the opportunity with the merger of Sirius and XM should be a slam dunk. But somebody is asleep at the wheel, in doing some basic research to get my facts straight, XM’s webpage still list outdated information on the fast facts link and other areas, I mean come on Mel, can I call you Mel. The technology application’s that you and the staff at Sirius XM must have must be staggering compared to the HP computer that I am pecking away on. Can somebody anybody change the webpages to update anything about the new and improved Sirius XM merger and just general information. But the engaged public is still subjected to last year’s web info, this is just sad Mel, did you say it was ok to call you Mel?

Now I am no radio industry executive or veteran, I am just a guy in the automotive industry that has sold the virtues of satellite radio for a few years now that gets feedback from customers. Mel have you listened to your customers recently, I mean have you talked to them personally, not your buddies you go to lunch with, I am talking about the ladies and gentlemen who drive Chevrolets and Fords to work and the young professionals and college students I would throw in some High School kids to round out who you should be targeting next since these folks set trends. I recommend you do it for a number of reasons of which I will state. These people are quite different from your generation and mine for that reason, however engaging them in some real dialogue about what they are interested in may provide you and your staff some insight into what they are looking for and trust me you have the ability to make it happen. You have at your disposal probably one of the greatest products ever invented yet it will get fretted away as a wasted exercise in modern media history if you and your staff do not do something and fast.

You see a lot of people don’t think that Satellite Radio is where they need to tune in to get there music or information and your companies don’t seem to understand that. Sure, it is a repository of Music, News, Weather, Comedy, Sports and any other channel that you have thrown together but it is not THE PLACE where folks want or must tune in too to get this vast array of programming. We know that it is a great place to tune in to catch the Basketball game and to hear some comedy or touch base with Martha Stewart and so on. And I no you are probably saying you can’t be all things to all people, but let me let you in on something that is not really a secret, people want fresh they want current they want exciting they want LOCAL.

Did I just say local, one of the loudest complaints that I hear is that your customers feel tuned out of the local happenings in there respective communities, which is why local radio is still a vital part of the media landscape. Here is a suggestion, why not create local channels or how about relevant programming that people feel engaged wherever they may live, why because your programming feels like it comes out of a New York Studio. Oh it does come out of a New York Studio, do you realize there is a large segment of the population that doesn’t really care about New York and Mel you have to reach these folks the folks that are driving mostly Chevrolet’s and Ford’s the folks by and large who are your largest audience for your product since most of the units that you sell are in these vehicles. Did someone think about that? Did someone step back and say how can we scale this thing so that we do not leave a huge chunk of Americana out, I really don’t think someone living in the Midwest or down south wants to feel like they are living on the outside of Gotham City.

Speaking of programming whose idea was it to put a Bubba the Love Sponge on after his show has already aired (Cox Radio Stations)), I mean come on. Get a personality that can provide fresh content daily, where people who are paying a premium to have your service feel that they are getting there monies worth, herein lies the problem, Sirius XM does not feel special, it doesn’t feel like it is the must have media in someone’s media arsenal and this is where Sirius XM will meet the Grim Reaper.

Make Sirius XM relevant, make it, must have, make it special, you have the capability, you have the greatest tool invented, I mean its Satellite for goodness sake, you guys can do just about anything you want. If you need a special application, invent it, if you need to regionalize the programming regionalize it, but do something and do it quick.

Have you looked at your programming, I did and it is not good, a whole lot of duplication, but where there is dysfunction and duplication there is hope and I have confidence that you can get it done.

I recognize that you have probably been distracted with the looming $1Billion Dollars that you have due on some debt coming up, but put your boys and girls on it and fast, revamp, revise and get into the 21st Century get in tuned with what folks want from Satellite radio and make it relevant otherwise you will be a distant memory of what could have been, real fast. And get Gary Parsons name off of your website, that is a shame that a large media company like yours doesn’t have someone scouring the pages and freshening up things, there is a word, freshen up Sirius XM!

That is the new mantra, lets make Sirius XM funky fresh.

Enjoy Today!

That Car Guy

Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ummm ... Gary Parsons is teh chairman of the board.