Tuesday, June 21, 2005


We were wondering when something like this would happen: BBC Radio 1 is going to be carried on the Sirius satellite radio network in the US. Here's a brief Wall Street Journal report (subs. req'd) and here's the Radio 1 story. It will be almost, but not quite, la vrai chose:

Sirius plans to broadcast [BBC] Radio 1, which has a weekly audience of more than 12 million in the U.K., in a time-shifted format, so that U.S. listeners will hear programs at the same time of day they are broadcast in the U.K.

Having just gone to Radio 1's garish website in a rather sleepy state, we understand the thinking behind this decision. The obvious question for many expats will be whether other channels might be similarly available. Of course they are often available now via the Internets but having all that in a more mobile format is an appealing prospect.

On the other hand, there is the fear that the BBC be tempted to shift all their overseas Internet streaming to a subscription-based model. Digital radio is being pursued in different ways in the UK and US: in the US, the main delivery is through satellite radio with competing groups selling subscription channels received on proprietary equipment; in the UK it's done through generic equipment and free terrestrial broadcast. The US is also planning terrestrial digital but it's going to take years to be widely available. But there's clearly a logic to the BBC wondering why UK licence-payers should finance Internet streaming for overseas users. We'll still be pissed off if they go that route, though. Being a blogger means that our positions don't have to make sense!

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