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AUDIOPHILE AUDITION - web magazine for music, audio & home theater

August 25, 2004

Ted Turner Decries FCC Deregulation - In an article this week at CNN’s founder says the small entrepreneur can’t get a break in today’s media world with the top 20 Internet news sites owned by the same media conglomerates who control the majority of broadcast and cable networks. “Washington has changed the rules of the game,” says Turner, who claims he could never build Turner Broadcasting today from nothing as he did 35 years ago. He pointed out that the major broadcast networks used to own just 12.5% of the TV shows they aired; today the figure is 77.5%. His solution: “Bust up the big conglomerates.”

Satellite Radio Comes Home - Two competing broadcast outlets are offering a variety of news and music without strict conglomerate ownership. They are XM and Sirius Satellite Radio, which each now provide over 120 channels of offerings coast to coast to their subscribers at $10 to $13 a month. Their business plan originally focused strictly on mobile use of the services, figuring that people with long commutes and drive times were tired of commercials, multipath distortion, and the conglomerate-controlled music playlists which have most stations playing the same tunes. Now the satellite firms have learned that 80% of their subscribers are using their services in their home as well as their car, so new products for home reception are coming out. For example, XM has introduced the Skybox - the first integrated boom box combining XM satellite reception with FM & AM plus a CD/MP3 disc player. The unit will be in stores this fall. Sirius Radio has introduced the Triple Play feature in some of their receivers. It allows subscribers to play three different channel’s programs in three different rooms of their home simultaneously. [But I must point out the gross exaggeration of both services in calling their transmissions “CD-quality.” Their codecs reduce the CD datastream to about 1/20 of the original, definitely not “CD quality.”..Ed.]

More New SACD Releases - From Sony Music: John Mayer - “Heavier Things’ in surround; from Universal Music: Five Elton John albums in surround, also John Fogerty, Nine Inch Nails and Keane; from Cavi Records, Brazil: pianist Andre Mehmari - “Lachrimae;” From Fantasy Records: new stereo reissues from Jerry Garcia & Merle Saunders, Sonny Rollins, Wes Montgomery, Thelonious Monk Septet, Chet Baker, Bill Evans, Vince Guaraldi, and the classic 1955 Prestige mono outing by the Modern Jazz Quartet - “Django.”

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