Satellite radio extends reach into Canada

| 11/30/2005

XM, meet Canada. Canada, meet XM.

On Wednesday, Nov. 23, XM Satellite launched XM Canada, the first satellite radio service available in the country.

“XM Canada is on the air and signing up subscribers,” Stephen Tapp, president and COO of XM Canada, said in a press release. “XM Canada has delivered on its promise to be the first to bring Canada the greatest technological evolution in radio in the past 60 years.”

More than 4,500 Canadians pre-registered for XM during the past month, according to a press release.

XM Canada’s channel line-up will include many of the same music, entertainment and talk channels offered in the United States – including Open Road Channel 171 which carries OOIDA’s “Land Line Now” program. XM officials also anticipate the Canadian audience be pleased with the coverage of the National Hockey League, which will include about 1,000 games per season.

On June 16, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission – the government organization in charge of approving Canadian media content – gave final approval to three subscription radio services for licensing in the country: Sirius Canada Inc.; Canadian Satellite Radio Inc., which signed a deal with the U.S.-headquartered XM; and CHUM Limited, which will promote a Canadian-only music lineup.

Under Canadian law, all media must meet certain requirements to support the country’s French-speaking population and original musicians. As part of the approval, each of the satellite services must meet the following requirements:

  • At least eight original channels must be produced in Canada;
  • At least 85 percent of the musical selection and spoken-word programming must be Canadian;
  • At least 25 percent of the Canadian channels must be in French;
  • At least 25 percent of the music on the Canadian channels must be new Canadian music; and
  • An additional 25 percent of the music on the Canadian channels must be from emerging Canadian artists.

However, at least three groups – the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, Friends of Canadian Radio and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema – protested the approval, saying the rules are not strict enough to comply with the Canadian Broadcasting Act, which applies to all forms of media in the country.