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XM Satellite Radio to lose Clear Channel stations

Several satellite radio channels operated by Clear Channel will soon disappear from Sirius XM after the broadcaster sold its stake in the company.

The Sirius Satellite Radio dog Mongo and the former logo of XM Satellite Radio.
The Sirius Satellite Radio dog Mongo and the former logo of XM Satellite Radio.

According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 1, Clear Channel sold its shares of Sirius XM for $135.5 million last quarter.

Clear Channel and Sirius XM declined to comment on the sale.

Clear Channel made a $83.1 million investment in XM Satellite Radio in 1999, which gave the company partial control of XM’s satellite bandwidth. Clear Channel used its bandwidth to program commercially-supported radio stations when XM launched in 2001.

Clear Channel continued to operate stations on the XM service when XM merged with Sirius in 2008. Clear Channel stations were never offered on the Sirius platform, and the company decided to stop programming satellite-specific channels in 2011, opting to simulcast several over-the-air stations instead.

Clear Channel’s sale of its shares of Sirius XM brings in a $52.4 million return on investment over 14 years.

Several stations programmed by Clear Channel are expected to be removed from the XM platform soon, according to reports. XM customers will no longer be able to hear simulcasts of WLTW New York, WSIX Nashville and WGCI Chicago. Customers will also lose Sixx Sense, FOX Sports Radio, Talk Radio and Extreme Talk, which will result in the removal of Glenn Beck and Dave Ramsay’s radio shows from the satellite service. XM is expected to continue simulcasts of WHTZ New York and KIIS Los Angeles, though it’s unclear how long those will continue to be available.

It is also unclear if Sirius XM will use the relinquished bandwidth to increase the bitrate of existing channels to give existing channels better audio quality, or if Sirius XM will launch new channels.

Most of the stations expected to be removed from the XM platform can be heard nationally on Clear Channel’s streaming radio service iHeartRadio.

Radio Insight: Clear Channel sells investment in Sirius XM

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).