Goodbye Static!

I drive an old pick-up truck most of the time– a rock-bottom barebones 1996 Mazda B2300 with something like 135,000 miles on it– and when it comes to listening to music I have only three options: AM, FM, or trying once again to dislodge the copy of The Cure’s Disintegration, which has been stuck in the casette player since about 2003.

To put satellite radio or an MP3 player in the poor beleagured truck would be like dressing up a pig in pearls. Why bother?

But for those who drive newer vehicles, an iPod- and satellite-connected vehicle will soon be de rigeur

In the latest boost to its dominance in portable music players, Apple Computer Inc. is teaming with General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. to integrate the iPod into car audio systems.

GM and Ford are the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 automakers, and the new alliances mean the iconic audio gadget will now be compatible with more than 70 percent of the new 2007 model vehicles sold in the United States, Apple said Thursday….

Demand for built-in satellite radio features has also prompted Ford to expand its relationship with Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. VanDagens said more than 90 percent of Ford and Lincoln Mercury cars will offer satellite radio by the 2008 model year.

What will be truly interesting is the impact that standardized satellite radio availability will do to the market share of local radio stations. They don’t call the peak listening hours "drive time" without reason. As more drivers tune out the radio and tune in their favorite satellite station or MP3 playlist, the over-the-air radio industry will be forced to undergo transformative change– or face the same decline that cable brought to the Big 3 Networks.



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