XM Launches Public-Safety Channel
In the latest blurring of the lines between local terrestrial broadcast radio and subscription-based satellite radio, XM Satellite Radio today launched XM Emergency Alert on XM channel 247. The station is dedicated to providing critical, updated information before, during and after natural disasters, weather emergencies and other hazardous incidents. For those of you in Florida, the information provided by the channel includes evacuation routes, shelter locations and updated weather emergency information culled form such sources as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American Red Cross, local police and fire departments, and eye-witness reports.
Once again, satellite radio is encroaching on an area that would typically belong exclusively to local radio. With the offering of local traffic, weather and, now, emergency updates, satellite radio has become a bit more of a compelling purchasing decision. Once these carriers add local news channels, the need for terrestrial radio all but disappears – but only to those willing to pay.