Sirius XM SkyDock Brings Full Satellite Radio to iPhone

Jalopy-bound Sirius XM devotees don’t have to spring for a full sat-radio upgrade to listen to Howard Stern in their hoopties anymore. Today Sirius XM intro’ed the XM SkyDock, a device that turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a car satellite radio, letting subscribers kick finicky streaming apps to the curb
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The dock itself has Sirius XM’s own radio receiver chip on the inside, so it provides full access to their entire lineup. It does need to connect to the car’s cigarette power adapter to run, but it will also charge your iPhone at the same time. Radio gets to your stereo system via an aux output or built-in FM transmitter. And you, naturally, need to set up a sat-radio antenna to catch the signal.

The companion iPhone app, which requires OS version 3.0, is free in the iTunes store and works in both portrait and landscape modes. From the app, you get full access to all Sirius XM channels and a couple other goodies. First, if you hear a song you like, you can tag it, then review your tagged items, and jump to the iTunes store to buy them with a single click. There’s also a built-in local weather widget, which is nice, since you can’t exit the Sirius XM app to check the weather elsewhere without interrupting playback.

But how is this better than the existing streaming app you can already get, you ask? Two reasons: it gives you access to the whole sat-radio catalog; and it’s a real consistent radio signal, not a Web stream. Sirius XM reps aren’t commenting about whether or not SkyDocks for other devices will be available in the future, but I guess we’ll see how this one goes to get started.

The SkyDock ($120) and its accompanying app (free) will both be available this fall.

Howard Stern to make big bucks when contract expires

Okay, so what’s Howard Stern going to do 15 months from now, when his five-year megadeal with Sirius (now Sirius XM) Radio expires?

Stern may know. He may not. If he does, he’s not sharing yet. What Stern doesn’t have to worry about, says Michael Harrison, editor of the trade magazine Talkers, is that he won’t be in demand. He may have millions fewer listeners than he had when he was syndicated from WXRK (92.3 FM). He may not be the presence he was in the water cooler or Twitter loop.

But besides declaring himself far happier without the stress of FCC-regulated radio, he also remains a premium brand. “Stern has left the ‘relevance’ question behind,” says Harrison. “He’s a broadcast legend and a cultural icon. Even his absence is a story. He has nothing to prove. He has total freedom. The only question is what he does with it.”

In fact, says Harrison, he could do something almost no one else could do: He could become his own medium.
“He could start his own radio station – on the Internet, with multiple platforms,” says Harrison. “He could have total control, total freedom and keep all the money.” Harrison acknowledges few Internet broadcasters make any money, never mind Stern-level money. He says Stern could change that.

“The problem with ‘monetizing’ the Internet,” says Harrison, “is that almost everything there is available somewhere free. Stern would be selling something not available anywhere else – himself. “And as more and more people get their radio through the Internet, he would become more and more valuable.” Kurt Hanson, editor of the Radio And Internet Newsletter, says a Stern Internet show could work and would have a big audience upside.

“He could do a podcast [show] that people could buy or subscribe to,” says Hanson. “Then they could listen any time they wanted. With the new phone technology, it’s ridiculously easy. “Right now about 10% of the country has some device that makes receiving podcasts simple. A year from now, that number will double. If a Stern got into it, that would speed acceptance further.” Then, too, Stern could get a pile of money from satellite or free radio without taking on any management headaches.

Or none of the above. “It’s also possible he could just leave,” says Taylor. “Whatever he decides, he won’t be worried about the rent.”

via daily news