Monday, October 6, 2003

Satellite Signals Stay With Truckers: "XM and Sirius managed to tap into the niche market partly because they are selling a modern spin on the citizens band radios that truckers have used for decades to warn each other about police, make restaurant recommendations and ham it up. XM encourages truckers to view satellite radio as a way to communicate with other drivers.

"It seems to be working. More listeners call in to Open Road than any other channel, the company said. In September, Open Road received 22,137 calls, or 1 of every 5 calls placed to any of XM's 100 channels. ...

"Truckers' families use the service to send out messages to dads and moms. 'I can't count how many times the wife of a trucker called me and said, "Tell Joe it's a boy" or "Tell Joe it's a girl,"' said Mack, nicknamed the 'Midnight Cowboy.' ...

"XM and Sirius, both still unprofitable, already have proven there is a niche audience for satellite radio. But whether it will become as ubiquitous as cable TV or DVDs may depend, in part, on how much the typical driver has in common with truckers. According to XM, 94 million people spend an average of 35 minutes driving to work, three-quarters of them alone. With a market that size, XM figures there is only open road ahead."

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