XM Responds to ‘Free’ Radio Campaign

NEW YORK A week after terrestrial radio broadcasting groups unveiled a campaign to tout the advantages of free, over-the-air radio, XM Satellite Radio has mounted a parallel publicity push on its Web site (www.xmradio.com).

XM’s response is to the radio industry’s launch of a series of radio ads featuring artists such as Nelly, Ludacris, Avril Lavigne and Hoobastank who declare, “Radio: You hear it here first.”

XM’s campaign retorts, “Hear it here best: 100 percent commercial free!” XM’s Web site further tosses mud in AM/FM’s eye by featuring pictures of the very artists featured in the terrestrial campaign whooping it up in the XM studios. Quotes are also offered from the likes of Alicia Keys, Willie Nelson, Moby and Melissa Etheridge declaring XM “a revolution.” XM’s web site also promises to air “obscure recordings, lost tracks,” and the industry’s “deepest playlists.”

Virtually every major radio group including ABC Radio, Beasley Broadcast Group, Bonneville International, Buckley Broadcasting, Clear Channel, Cumulus Media, Emmis Communications, Entercom Communications, Greater Media, Viacom’s Infinity Broadcasting, Jefferson Pilot, Journal Broadcast Group, Radio One, Regent Communications and Susquehanna Radio have stepped forward to voluntarily donate $28 million in air time to broadcast an aggressive schedule of spots.

As a kick-off to the program, these groups will air the spots several times per day, every day between now and the end of February.

XM claims to have 3.2 million subscribers.