Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Before moving aboard Sea Gem, radio was never part of our routine.  I'd usually rotate through maybe five or six stations--none of which I liked more than 10% of the time and all of which seemed to be 90% commericals--on my way to and from work, but only because there was nothing better to do or listen to, and that was about it. 

Sea Gem came with a Sirius satellite radio.  When we moved aboard, we figured that we'd give it a try, look into the monthly rates, and then decide if we'd want to keep it.  The only thing I knew about Sirius is that it had Howard Stern (who, in the abstract, I think is funny, yet I never want to actually listen to him), and that it did not have commercials.  I liked the idea of not having commercials, as that is the primary source of my frustration with broadcast radio, but I didn't expect there to be any real differences in the substance of what is  out there to be listened to.

When I was growing up, we never had cable television.  I knew that there were certain shows out there that my peers liked (e.g. Beevis and Butthead) that were only available on cable, but other than that, I didn't think there was much of a difference between the 4 broadcast channels we got at home (if we desired, we could move the "router" in another direction--cardinal directions--to pick up one or two fuzzy channels out of Detroit) and cable television.  As I discovered when I went to college, however, cable television was a world apart from those 4 network channels. 

The difference between Sirius radio and broadcast radio is even greater.  Whereas cable tv has 100 extra channels, only a few are any good and they all have the same number of commercials, if not more, as broadcast tv channels.  Sirius, on the other hand, has over 100 extra channels and most of them are great.  We listen to several on a regular basis--the Jimmy Buffet channel, the reggae channel, the 90s channel, the grunge channel, blues, jazz, Sinatra, standup comedy, etc., etc.  We also get to listen to all the cable news channels, which gives us all the substantive news we can handle without having to look at the ridiculous graphics or Anderson Cooper's take-me-seriously-I'm-a-real-journalist expressions.  We also get up-to-date traffic and weather for Miami every ten minutes, and the radio can be set to automatically switch to the traffic/weather when it comes on so that we don't have to suffer through the Tampa and Orlando forecasts for 7 minutes.  And, consistent with my initial feelings on the matter, having no commercials makes a tremendous difference in the basic utility of radio. 

It gets better.  Because we live on a boat, sometimes our house moves out of range of our local broadcast radio stations.  Normally, just as is the case with a road trip, that would mean losing reception, finding new stations, or not picking up any stations at all.  But, because it is satellite radio, Sirius of course comes with us.  The channels don't change, the reception stays strong, and we have all the Jimmy Buffet in the world at our disposal. 

So, we unsurprisingly decided to get our own subscription for the Sirius radio that came with Sea Gem.  We listen to it all the time and we love that it keeps working while we are at sea.  For the $10 a month or so that Sirius charges, for us, it was an easy choice.

It gets better.  As it turns out, Sea Gem's previous owners purchased a lifetime subscription for the boat's Sirius radio so that they would not have to pay the monthly fees.  When we bought the boat, they signed the subscription over to us.  So, not only do we have and enjoy Sirius on Sea Gem, but it feels like we are getting free money each month--that fact makes me honestly happy each time I wake up and turn on the radio. 

1 comment:

  1. as I was reading this, I was going to comment on the fact that Sirius was going to raise their rates this Jan. but if you have a lifetime subscription...enjoy.