XM Satellite Radio will add advertising to four of its music channels as of this spring.
An arbitration panel recently ruled that radio giant Clear Channel Communications, which provides programming for four of XM's music stations, has the right to include commercials on that music programming, said an XM spokesman, confirming recent published reports.
XM said Clear Channel made an “early investment” in XM and provides programming for the KISS, MIX, Nashville and Sunny channels as well as a fifth music channel in development, in addition to content for select talk channels.
To counter, XM is adding new commercial-free music channels of its own, “so that subscribers will see no reduction in the total number of commercial-free music channels,” noted Eric Logan, programming executive VP. XM said it currently has 69 commercial-free music channels and that number will not change, even after this spring. This will presumably afford XM the ability to claim it offers more commercial-free music channels than Sirius Satellite Radio, despite the Clear Channel ruling.
Logan stated, “In just the last year, XM added over 15 channels for a total of more than 160 channels. Soon we will increase that number to more than 170 channels of programming — the most in satellite radio.”
Sirius has 68 music channels and over 125 channels. “We plan to continue to be commercial-free on the music channels,” said a spokesman.