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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Big Sigh.

While I find it interesting that the first four (of five currently) comments on the Wired Music blog entry Sirius, XM Set Date for Station Merger are all about kids' music (who knew?), I'm sorry that these folks feel so strongly about the change.

Of course, if I were in their shoes and XMKiDS programming was replaced with the programming from Sirius Kids Stuff (based on what I've heard about it), I too would have considered giving up my XM subscription.

I do understand that perhaps the XMKiDS target audience was slightly older than that of the Sirius one, but my kids love the XMKiDs, now KiDS Place LiVE, programming. Yes, Mindy does childrens' book author interviews (and we and so many callers love them). Maybe today she should have stuck to music to help the new listeners get acclimated to the station. Or maybe not. Who knows if that would have helped ease the transition.

Change is hard, especially for kids. But they can get used to change, especially when it leads to something as wonderful as getting to know the amazing people that are Mindy, Robbie and Kenny.

If you don't like the author interviews or the musician interviews or the frequency of the animal farm bits or the fact that Robbie is stuck in the tree, let them know, but not in an absolute way. I know, it is easy for me, an XMKiDS fan to say this, but don't give up on the programming after one day. Give everyone time to adjust to the new blended family of listeners. Ultimatums won't work here; compromise is the solution.

And people, be nice. The DJs are there doing their jobs. They work hard. They bend over to try to make everyone happy. If you are unhappy with the change, keep in mind that they are humans, doing their best to deal with a change over which they had, from my understanding, little input.

I have a feeling from what I've read that a few complaint mails are trickling in to Sirius/XM/Kids Place Live. If you are a KPL fan, email to let them know! I'd recommend both xmkids AT xmradio DOT com and at the XM Comments Site. Here's my comment (no surprise here):
Thank you so much for keeping the XM Kids programming the high caliber that it has been in the past. We were concerned that with the merger we would lose our favorites and are so glad to see that XM Kids is alive and well on Kids Place Live.

16 comments:

Mark Uhde said...

I think in order for us to understand this phenomena, we must appreciate just how terrible Kid Stuff was. It wasn't kids radio like XM Kids/KPL/the old and much missed Radio AAHS. It was a preschool music loop. A mostly quit boring, plain, preschool music loop. Anyone who liked that wouldn't like XMK - more parents than kids tho who wouldn't like XMK. Anyways, I think those parents will discover an iPod gives them what they want and a whole bunch of other Sirius people will discover KPL and become fans. If Sirius lets it live to see that day. I am quite worried Sirius is going to kill KPL and go to Kid Stuff or a reduced version with maybe only one live show. It'd be way cheaper... And the only good kids radio still in existance would be dead :(

Amy said...

First of all... thanks for taking the adult aproach and SLAMMING Sirius' KidStuff! I came here as a Sirius subscriber to find out more info on KPL. I was not prepared for an overnight change to my son's favorite station. Let me explain a little, my son is 7 years old and has autism. He is high functioning, but changes are hardly tolerated. I found the new line up distracting. There is A LOT of talking, which if you don't have the best reception is garbled. And if you have an autistic or ADHD child the talking puts them over the edge, it's too much for them to process.
As for KidsStuff, it was geared for smaller kids as the older ones should be in school, if there were particular songs you wanted they had the request line also. But at night there was "Big KidStuff" which my husband and I enjoyed listening to with my son, recalling our younger days. And if your kids thought that their music was too babyish then there was always Radio Disney.
Basically, my only real beef with the new station is too much talk! Play music... that's why we got the satellite, fewer interuptions.

Mark Uhde said...

There's no other live *kids* radio in existance. Radio Disney is not live and is not kids music and is totally inappropriate. With no offense, if you just want preschool music, why not buy an ipod? Preschool music is pretty cheap and it'll end up cheaper in the long run. Satellite radio is really for those of us who want radio.

As to the issue of both, the numbers are virtual numbers not physical channels. Everything is crushed into a compressed digital multiplex that is beyond overloaded now. The only way to get more bandwidth would be to end either the Sirius or XM signal and use the bandwidth for the other service, but the FCC won't let them - one merger condition was that both have to work for, I beleve, 3 years.

James said...

Preschoolers like repetition. That's why when you're teaching children to read or literacy comprehension you read the same story to them over and again for around a week. My son loved being able to hear his music and sing along to it.

Like Amy said, I discovered this blog site by googling Kids Place Live to learn more about it. I wasn't expecting to get slammed for liking a pre-school station!

Sirius's customer service is getting slammed from all the parents calling about Kids Stuff. I'm more upset that we got an email ON the day of the switch instead of before. I could have had time to prepare my young listener to the changes.

As for the bandwidth issue, I'm sure there are a few channels available they could re-introduce Kids Stuff on. Or there's surely a channel that is duplicated somewhere else in the line-up and dumped (like what happened to 119 Discovery Channel a few years ago).

I can see how KPL is a good channel for the older kids and I it'd be great for my little one a few years down the road. But for the moment, I'd like to have my other station back please. Keep them both that way Sirius XM will keep growing subscribers. Because if it keeps up in this either/or situation, both sides are going to lose subscribers and then we can count on the "Best Radio on Radio" to fail. Which I don't want to see!! Once you're used to sattelite, you can NEVER go back!

Here's an idea, get rid of Shady 45 or Foxhole. Last Arbitron rating I saw, neither one was anywhere near a popular station!

(I agree Mark, Radio Disney is pretty much garbage.)

Mark Uhde said...

Amy, you're taking my comments way too personally. It's a *radio station* and one way or another life goes on. I do appreciate the autistic issue, I truly do. I know kids with autism. That's why I suggested an ipod - 100% predictable, music only, and cheaper than sat radio every month!

XMK/KPL is live children's radio like I grew up with that my older cousins (7, 10, and 11) absolutely LOVE. It's not preschool music.

But it's the whole Sirius vs. XM philosophy. I had Sirius, and it was terrible. It was nothing an iPod can't do better.

XM has always been about radio, and ironically, you should look at the XM fan sites - on many stations they kept the Sirius (popular music repetition) station, and there are people whining all over the place.

It's just radio, life goes on. Would I be a little annoyed if kids music was a station where they had kept the Sirius version? Yes. Would I feel sorry for the wonderful hosts that are Mindy, Robbie, and Kenny? Yes. Would I tell whoever was new in charge that they were ruining lives and I was ENTITLED to something else? Absolutely not.

It'd be sad. There's other sources for music. There is no other live kids radio, as Radio AAHS died in 1998 and XM Kids basically came in a few years later to fill that gap.

But live would go on. Besides, you might not have to worry much longer, Sirius is worth 26 cents/share today and unless things turn around rapidly, I can see the XMK/KPL crew getting fired in an attempt to cut costs shortly before the whole thing goes out of business...

Mark Uhde said...

P.S. James - the ONLY way they can add a station at this point is to take one off. And it'd have to be a music station or SEVERAL talk stations - the talk stations are much more compressed and music would sound terrible on them.

There simply is no more available bandwidth as long as the encoding stays as it is (which it has to to maintain compatibility with current radios - a legal requirement for the next 3 years)

Mark Uhde said...

One more thing, they didn't tell anyone about any changes, presumably to try to reduce the number of people canceling before they heard the new stuff. TONS of people are mad about every station - if the XM one stayed, like with kids, the Sirius fans are mad. If the Sirius one stayed, the XM fans are mad. And if they merged the two (in a few cases), no one is happy...

Obake said...

I came from the announcement from Absolutely Mindy about this site, which I was actually looking for a fansite about this station.

To sum it up, Kids Stuff has a very narrow audience, and XMKids has a broad one.

I understand your problems with the DJs. However, quite honestly they are the best DJs on XM, period, you won't get better original programming anywhere on the spectrum.

To be completely frank, I don't have kids, and I am not a kid either, yet this station, if they changed the content of it would be the end of my subscription, and I let XM know just that.

We have always had problems with bandwidth and lineup on XM. I was there when they got rid of Special X (a pity), but we got back the Jam band station with the merger too. Unfortunately, some stations they *can't* change because of contract, like the French content stations (by Canadian law), and the WorldSpace programming (which nobody listens to, but they're bound by contract to keep).

I agree that Radio Disney is not appropriate for kids in any way, and if they were going to replace a station, it could be that one potentially to bring back the Kids Stuff content for Sirius subscribers. But I'm going to say right now that the chances of that happening are slim to none, given the previous reactions to other lineup changes on XM's side of things.

All of that said...as for *time* to adjust, you all have known about this merger for MONTHS, and the potential possibility for a channel lineup change. It was there and everyone chose to ignore it, nobody should be remotely surprised that this has happened.

James said...

obake, we've known about the merger for a long time, yes. But we haven't known what channels would be changed. Had they released that information early then I'm sure there would be an outpouring like there is now. Only maybe then, a few of the channels could have been better aligned.

I'm more disappointed that Boombox 39 is gone. Now there is NO WHERE on either radio to listen to mix-ups, mash-ups, and break beats. There's another pop station instead! Like we need a 100th station of pop!!

I understand across XM the hatchet fell pretty hard. A long time ago I made the decision to go with Sirius over XM because of Sirius's playlist over XM's massive back catalogue of B-sides and stuff.

I can tell on KPL that they're cranking back the amount of DJ talk and I've heard a few more songs today that were on Kids Stuff.

All this bandwidth issue aside, Sirius XM made a LOT of people upset with the under our nose format switch they did. Their customer service is swamped and the "24 Hour Customer Care" email system is bogged down since SXM made the switch. Sirius is struggling and according to several business reports they need to shore up nearly $1 billion in debt. Online petitions are already forming and Sirius must do something to survive and compete with the Free Internet Radio devices coming down the pike.

I'm seriously concerned about Sirius, especially given the uproar about the channel changes! This is the time they should be eliminated the rudandent channels and cross the best of both. Why charge people $4 extra for the "Best of" package if both are the same already?

Bright side to this would be, SIRI is trading around $.25/share. 4 for $1 might not be too bad if Mel can pull it around. I really feel this will be the first of many flip-flops and changes.

(I learned about this site because of the channel line-up. It's very nicely done and I appreciate the work put into it....it's even already bookmarked!)

Mark Uhde said...

"I can tell on KPL that they're cranking back the amount of DJ talk and I've heard a few more songs today that were on Kids Stuff. "

Sadly, I think you're right James, while not nearly as terrible as Kid Stuff, it sure did seem to me that KPL today was rather lifeless... time will tell if I keep my subscription. If it stays as it is now, I'll stay. But if it keeps getting worse, I'm gone...

James said...

Mark - if it stays like it is, or even adds a few more songs during the afternoon time by Barenaked Ladies, They Might Be Giants (always one of my faves!!!), and Berkner I'll be a happy camper. I don't want to hear all the DJ stuff. The kids calling in is cool but I don't want to hear all the (for lack of better word) "talk".

It seems that because of the shear volume of concern Sirius is being the better company by trying to blend both channels together.

I'm hoping for a seperate one but time will tell......

I couldn't tell it getting worse but I haven't been listening through the day. I'm sure I can give you a different opinion over the weekend tho!

Maybe we should both stick around and keep enjoying it. It's still better than Radio Disney/Commercial for whatever swill Disney is selling this week channel 115!

Mark Uhde said...

James, I've heard almost none of Robbie all of tonight in the real tall tree (I'm listening more than normal obviously just to see but still), basically I'm giving them one week. If this is what it's going to be like - no DJ interaction, not really radio but just a music stream - I'm canceling next week. Not worth $10/month - that's what iPods are for (just like how I canceled Sirius and was iPod only for a long time until I realized XM was real radio)

Mark Uhde said...

I was thinking, if there are any XM people reading this (which I'm pretty sure there are).

I think if you read everything, we all agree Radio Disney is really bad and totally inappropriate for kids. Anyone in favor of ditching Radio Disney and replacing it with a preschool station for those who miss the preschool station? And letting us keep our XMKids/KPL in all it's greatness?

Just an idea Sirius XM...

the weirdo said...

so far mindy has not let me talk about calaflorida much witch is the main reason i listen and call in.My only other compint is that the name is much longer so every time I want to shearch for this blog I have to type kids place live.

Mark Uhde said...

Yay, it's the weirdo!!! Had Judy G. been heard from yet by you? What's going on in the great state of Coliflordia???

Agreed, this is getting terrible already... I hope it'll just take a few days for things to settle out back to what they are normally. Here's what you need to do though to try and save XM Kids as we know it, email them, keep calling in, and tell them you love it!

the weirdo said...

mark no I have not heard from judy in a while. yeah when i called yesterday mindy told me that we should not talk about caloflirda maybe on monday she will let me.

Disclaimer

We are a regular family who are fans of KiDS Place LiVE (was XMKiDS). We have no business or family relation to XM, except that according to my daughter, she and Mindy are BFFs. XM/Sirius Satellite Radio is in No Way Responsible for the Content Within This Fan Site