One Singular Sensation

By on May 1, 2008
RoadKing Mag

Have you ever loved an album so much that you listened to nothing but that for days? Or gone through a phase where you listened to only one artist for weeks? Satellite radio, with its unique approach to programming, is increasingly tapping into that idea with dedicated artist stations.

For the months of April and May, XM Radio Channel 17 has played nothing but George Strait, in conjunction with the release of the country music star’s 37th album, Troubadour. The channel mixes in interviews with the artist’s longtime friends and collaborators with tunes from Strait’s impressive body of work, which reaches back to 1981. Snippets from the new album are sprinkled into the mix every hour.

Meanwhile, on Sirius Channel 12, Rolling Stones Radio returns for a limited time to promote Shine a Light, the Martin Scorsese-directed documentary about the band’s 2006 concert tour. The band itself helped choose the playlist, which includes live performances, rare tracks and new songs.

Strait and the Stones are not the first artists to earn their own satellite station. Both Sirius and XM also feature permanent dedicated artist channels. On Sirius, you can hear nothing but Elvis Presley 24 hours a day on Channel 13, Deadheads groove to the Grateful Dead round the clock on Channel 32, and music and interviews from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band make up the programming on Channel 10.

XM has temporarily suspended its all-Led Zeppelin station but promises it will return later this year.

Other artist-inspired stations offer more variety but still take their programming cues from one musician’s sensibility. Siriusly Sinatra, Channel 75, isn’t exclusively Ol’ Blue Eyes, but most of the tunes you’ll hear — from Tony Bennett to Michael Bublé — bear the crooner’s influence. Sirius Channel 31 is known as Radio Margaritaville and features live Jimmy Buffett concerts alongside like-minded artists such as the Beach Boys, Van Morrison and Bob Marley. And on XM, the traditional country channel is named Willie’s Place — a nod to country legend and station part-owner Willie Nelson.

Be sure to check XM and Sirius’ websites regularly for the latest programming information.

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