In Face Of Criticism, XM Launches More Local Traffic, Weather
Even though it has been openly criticized for offering local weather and traffic reports, XM Satellite Radio [XMSR] is expanding this service by adding 24-hour weather and traffic channels for Atlanta, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego and Seattle. Local traffic and weather had been the main differentiation point between traditional AM and FM terrestrial radio stations and their satellite competitor, which offers its stations to a nationwide audience. But with the availability of local weather and traffic over satellite, the reasons to turn on a terrestrial radio to hear generic playlists dictated by a few companies that control the terrestrial airwaves continue to diminish in favor of digital-quality audio that is more targeted to individual listening niches and typically has a much deeper catalog of music. However, critics say that by offering such local services, XM oversteps it’s the strictures of its licenses, which were intended for nationwide, and not local, coverage.