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post #1 of 128 Old 07-07-2006, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Is the self-appointed "King of All Media" also the king of all markets? Terrestrial-radio deserter and wickedly popular morning-show radio host Howard Stern helped Sirius (Nasdaq: SIRI) close the subscriber gap with market-leader XM (Nasdaq: XMSR) for the third quarter in a row. In the second quarter, which ended last week, Sirius claims that it landed 600,460 new subscribers, while XM generated just 398,000 net additions.

XM can't sugarcoat the disparity. It's true that XM still commands the larger audience. The company closed out the quarter with 6.9 million subscribers, while Sirius totalled 4.7 million. Even if XM's subscriber count remains stagnant over the next few periods -- highly unlikely, of course -- Sirius wouldn't catch up until the first half of 2007.

The problem is that this is a momentum game, and at the moment, Sirius is the one behind the wheel. It was able to land 64% more net new subscribers during the period than it did a year earlier. Over at XM, the company suffered a 38% slide in net new additions, after claiming 640,000 new sets of ears in the June quarter of 2005.

XM is still growing -- reporting net new additions, not subtractions. That doesn't take away from the one thing that's now becoming painfully -- or gloriously -- obvious: Howard Stern is bigger than even he thinks he is.

Hugh blew it
When Sirius agreed to a five-year deal with Stern, a stock-and-cash pact valued at $500 million at the time, XM CEO Hugh Panero was critical of the amounts being bandied about for the sometimes-controversial host. David Gardner interviewed Panero last year, and this is what he had to say:

I don't know if it is a good move for Sirius. It is clearly a very good move for Howard Stern. He is a smart guy, and he has obviously done a deal that is very good for him. I think that there will be a number of his hardcore fans who will subscribe to listen to him in that environment.

Whether it is a good business deal, I think time is going to tell. It is a lot, a lot of money. I had also spoken to Howard and some of his people, and there was some interest in us doing some sort of a deal with him, but I never, ever contemplated a deal of that magnitude. That is more money than people like Oprah Winfrey make. That is more money than some of the biggest stars that exist. It is quite a gamble, but it was clearly a very good business deal for Howard Stern.

In retrospect, Panero was wrong. Since the day the deal was announced, shares of Sirius are only trading marginally higher; that still tops XM, which has seen its shares nearly halved in the same period. It's interesting to note how Panero singled out Oprah, a broadcasting celebrity with whom XM eventually teamed up to create a new XM channel debuting this fall.

Along the way, we've had downward subscriber revisions, troublesome product rollouts, and a defecting Chicken Little board member. Investors keep waiting for the other shoe to drop at XM, only to realize that XM is really Imelda Marcos in disguise. Boy, Stern would have been really convenient about now. Would we even still be in a duopoly if Sirius had let Stern slip through its fingers and into XM's hands?

We can argue about Stern's merits until we're blue in the face -- and I don't mean the FCC's definition of "blue" here. Whether you think he's brilliant or a potty-mouth, the numbers don't lie. Consumers have been choosing Sirius over XM since Stern made his media blitz over the 2005 holiday season.

Stern is the not-so-secret ingredient behind Sirius' killer recipe. I subscribe to both XM and Sirius. I love both. XM has more channels, with a lot of content overlap. You'll get a wide range of opinion on who has the best music channels, but both services are excellent substitutes to old-school radio. One can argue that XM's deal with Major League Baseball and Sirius' pact with the National Football League make each offering distinctive, but that's also what makes Sirius clobbering XM here so Stern-driven. We're waist-deep into the baseball season and a couple of months away from the start of the NFL games. All things being equal, XM should have smoked Sirius this quarter.

Eighteen months ago, I made a pretty ridiculous prediction. XM was trouncing Sirius, yet I proclaimed that Sirius would land more net new subscribers by the fourth quarter of 2005. It seemed outlandish at the time, but I was spot-on accurate. I'm off to hock my crystal ball, though. A year later, I predicted that XM would regain the new-listener lead in the second and third quarters. Not even close.

Another shoe tumbles
This doesn't end here, of course. Anyone with a calculator and a penchant for train wrecks can see that XM may let us down one more time. Back in May, XM announced that it intended to close out the year with 8.5 million subscribers. It had originally planned to end 2006 by lapping the nine-million mark.

On the other hand, Sirius expects to wrap up the year with 6.2 million subs. In other words, over the next six months, XM expects to land 1.6 million more net new users, with Sirius projecting just 1.5 million net new subscribers.

How? If the baseball-charged second quarter didn't do it, how will XM outmuscle Sirius when the playing fields of choice go from diamonds to gridirons? XM will have "its Oprah moment" in a few months, but that's a wildcard, since Oprah's emphasis will remain with her syndicated television show.

What would it take for XM to avoid another heartbreak? Will next month's earnings report bring that 8.5 million year-end target to a round 8 million, or will announcement come in early October instead?

Things don't have to be that bleak. As logic goes, the more time that Stern spends entrenched in satellite radio and away from the mainstream spotlight, the less of a factor he becomes in moving new receivers. True Stern fans would have made the migration already. But the strong second quarter, months after Stern's first show for Sirius, throws that theory into the wood-chipper.

Maybe the thinking is that XM stars Opie & Anthony, pioneers in taking their controversial morning show to satellite radio, will be successful ambassadors. XM began syndicating part of the show to Stern's former haunt at CBS (NYSE: CBS). If lightning can be caught in a bottled-up radio show twice, XM may be on to something. But the early XM migration numbers don't seem to have panned out that way.

I still believe in XM. I even recommended the stock to Rule Breakers subscribers last year. I'm realistic, though. A year ago, I was wondering why XM had a lower market cap than Sirius. Now I understand. Still, XM's attractive valuation, and the upside potential of the niche, keep me glued to the possibilities.

Stop dropping shoes, XM. And if you've got platform shoes in there, try them on. We can all use the lift.

Rick recommended XM to Rule Breakers subscribers last year. The stock is currently in the red, though the average newsletter service pick is currently beating the market. See David Gardner's full list of growth-focused picks with a free 30-day guest pass.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a Sirius and XM subscriber, but he does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

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post #2 of 128 Old 07-07-2006, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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post #3 of 128 Old 07-07-2006, 01:18 PM
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Yeah this sub war is fun to watch and read about.. Article after article,paragraph after paragraph..Yet nothing on when these 2 companies are going to FINALLY make a buck..

All hail the red ink...
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post #4 of 128 Old 07-07-2006, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by barbie845 View Post

Yeah this sub war is fun to watch and read about.. Article after article,paragraph after paragraph..Yet nothing on when these 2 companies are going to FINALLY make a buck..

All hail the red ink...



i guess you know nothing about business and/or wall street.

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post #5 of 128 Old 07-07-2006, 06:56 PM
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i guess you know nothing about business and/or wall street.

I know this much..To stay in business you have to turn a profit..Unless of course your company's name is Enron..
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post #6 of 128 Old 07-07-2006, 08:12 PM
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I wonder when Sirius is going to buyout XM?
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post #7 of 128 Old 07-07-2006, 08:23 PM
 
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I wonder when Sirius is going to buyout XM?

soon
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post #8 of 128 Old 07-08-2006, 01:49 AM
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Yeah,both companies have billions just lying around.....Maybe they both can pool their profits and give GM a hand!!!
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post #9 of 128 Old 07-08-2006, 04:17 PM
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I'm amazed how Stern or many other DJ's can actually get people to do their marketing for them for free.

If you want me to help sell your product, you'd better give me some cash.



I do hope that they don't merge. That would lead to constant price increases ala cable TV. The threat of competition does wonders for keeping prices under control.

In the interest of honesty, I have to admit I don't like Stern. I didn't like his show when he first started simulcasting on WYSP in Philly, and I still didn't like it when left for Sirius. I would find it difficult after a merger to continue buying satellite radio since I'd be lining his pockets with my subscription money (obviously, no matter who acquired who, he'd be part of the merged company).
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post #10 of 128 Old 07-08-2006, 06:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by barbie845 View Post

Yeah,both companies have billions just lying around.....Maybe they both can pool their profits and give GM a hand!!!

Um if these companies are so broke how is Sirius buying a new satellite for 225 million dollars huh? Also I'm doing any marketing I just love the service and therefore they get good word of mouth from me just as if it sucked I would let everyone know that.
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post #11 of 128 Old 07-08-2006, 07:35 PM
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Um if these companies are so broke how is Sirius buying a new satellite for 225 million dollars huh? Also I'm doing any marketing I just love the service and therefore they get good word of mouth from me just as if it sucked I would let everyone know that.

There's a great idea...Sirius can use their invisible profits to buy XM..Then they won't need to buy a new sat,they can use XM's.. JH you could have just saved Sirius 225 mil, good work!!

I hate to keep being a sarcastic SOB..But all you fanboys got to get a grip with this sub war between XM and Sirius.. They're businesses,they have to start making a profit and stop worrying about who's got,or going to have more subs..I'd feel much better about XM's future if they'd NOW had just 4 million subs and were breaking even,like they were suppose to,then be at 7 million subs and still bleeding red ink...
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post #12 of 128 Old 07-08-2006, 08:00 PM
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They will both start turning an annual profit within the next 2 or 3 years. However, it will still be a few years more years before they are completely in the black.

As far as either of the two companies acquiring the other is concerned, unless a third satellite radio company comes along, it just won't happen. Just like when DirecTV tried to buy Dish Network, the FTC is not about to allow a monopoly in satellite broadcasting


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Um if these companies are so broke how is Sirius buying a new satellite for 225 million dollars huh?

Um... they're dipping further into the money that investors have spent on Sirius stock in order to pay for the new satellite. They're certainly not paying for it with the money that they are taking in by selling radios and subscriptions. At least not yet.

I'm not saying that buying a new satellite is a bad thing. From what I understand, any technical infrastructure improvements that Sirius can make is a good idea. But don't get the idea that they are paying for this by reinvesting profits. Because that just isn't the case.

Don't get "profit" confused with "cash on hand" or the ability to borrow. They aren't the same thing. Right now, Sirius is using the second and/or third to pay for their new satellite.
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post #13 of 128 Old 07-08-2006, 10:43 PM
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In the last 6 months siri stock has gone from $6.57 a share to $4.41 a share. Howard was going make this stock rocket into the double digits, what happen. Can't the king of all media, help the doggy company. Also I know XM stock isn't doing great now but, they have less share outstanding.
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post #14 of 128 Old 07-09-2006, 03:52 AM
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They will both start turning an annual profit within the next 2 or 3 years. However, it will still be a few years more years before they are completely in the black.

If you're right and it takes 2-3 years to turn a profit I doubt either company will be around in their present form(maybe merged,bought out by someone else,etc.)....I think the next 6-12 months will be make or break for both companies..
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First of all I never said I wanted Sirius to buy XM in my opinion that would be a bad deal for Sirius. Sirius is kicking XMs ass right now in new subs and buzz. No need to buy a loser when you can just out right kill them off by yourself. Sirius isn't going anywhere in the next few years that much I know. There are many,many businesses that lose money for years on end untill they finally turn a profit. This is no different.
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post #16 of 128 Old 07-09-2006, 07:00 AM
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First of all I never said I wanted Sirius to buy XM in my opinion that would be a bad deal for Sirius. Sirius is kicking XMs ass right now in new subs and buzz. No need to buy a loser when you can just out right kill them off by yourself.

Actually, if it were possible for Sirius to buy XM, it would be a good thing for them. XM is years ahead of Sirius when it comes to technology. One and a half years after XM has released a truly portable receiver that also records (the Myfi), Sirius has nothing even close. Xm is now on their second generation of this technology. It would be a lot easier for Sirius to buy this capability instead of having to engineer it themselves.

I think that Sirius would also like to have the satellite locations that XM has so that people can put an antenna in a window in their home or office and be able to listen to Sirius without having to move the antenna every few hours.
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post #17 of 128 Old 07-09-2006, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by J.H. View Post

First of all I never said I wanted Sirius to buy XM in my opinion that would be a bad deal for Sirius. Sirius is kicking XMs ass right now in new subs and buzz. No need to buy a loser when you can just out right kill them off by yourself. Sirius isn't going anywhere in the next few years that much I know. There are many,many businesses that lose money for years on end untill they finally turn a profit. This is no different.

Open a spread sheet and plot the numbers from Mercury's post above. It hardly looks like Sirius is going to kill XM. You can definitely see the affect of Stern, but you can also see that the affect is now trailing off and both XM and Sirius will soon be back to the pre Stern growth rates.

Barbie is right, all of the subs in the world are no good unless you are making a profit on them.
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post #18 of 128 Old 07-09-2006, 11:17 AM
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I think that Sirius would also like to have the satellite locations that XM has so that people can put an antenna in a window in their home or office and be able to listen to Sirius without having to move the antenna every few hours.

Actually, this is what the third satellite is supposed to do.

Unlike the current two, which are in a elliptical(did I spell that right?) orbit above the U.S., this 3rd one is going to be in a GEOSTATIONARY orbit.

I think it is going to be in the Southern Sky, just like XM's, but I may be wrong about it's placement.

But it is definitely going to be geostationary like XM's birds.

Hopefully this is because Sirius has finally begun to listen to their customer base(myself included) that the indoor reception for Sirius is PITIFUL compared to XM's.

Sirius' Car reception is better. At least that has been the case with me. Going on a long trip my XM, with the antenna on the roof just like my Sirius now, would crap out more than Sirius.

Sirius' moving birds often better reception when on the go, while XM's would have the more occasional dropout because they are stationary and would occasionally be blocked out by the side of hill/mountain/whatever. Not for long, but it did happen more.

THE FOLLOWING RANT IS BEING BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LETTER "R":

Now, I have made no bones that I am definitely in the Stern camp, but this constant bickering between Stern fans and O&A fans is becoming ASSININE. Give it up.

J.H.,

Do you HONESTLY feel that the satellite radio world would be better off with just ONE dominating company? Do you honestly believe that? If you do, you are crazy.

It may be great for Mel Karmizan and stockholders, but would for everybody, including you, when the rate increase explodes.

Why? Because there would be no competition to keep prices down, which would suck for every consumer out there.

And this all got started becasue Karmizan was asked in an interview if he would like to by XM, and he said, "Absolutely." It seems like alot people, including Stern, took this too mean that he will.

Come on! Of course he would like too, but it will never happen, and never be approved for that matter. When he said it, he meant it. But even he knows that it is impossible, especially at this stage. I think he said it more tounge-in-cheek than anything else. But the interviewer asked a question, and he gave them an answer.

Ask XM's top executive the same question with regards to Sirius, and you would get the same answer. Who doesn't want to be the "Master of the Universe" in regards to their product? If you don't, then the guy/girl in charge doesn't have the guts to be the best out there.

Here is one person hoping this will never happen.

So Sirius and XM will continue to grow. Stern will begin a new round of TV interviews before the end of summer to promote the product heavily again(this is just guesswork on my part, but it would be smart since the NFL would be starting up again) along with himself(which is the main reason).

But this will not stop the "My Dad can beat up your Dad" posts between O&A Blowhards, and Stern Blowhards.
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Ok guys how many more times do I have to say thid before you get it through your thick skulls! I think it would be a BAD idea for sirius to buy XM when they can kill them on thier own. I don't care if there were 8 satellite companies. The only one that counts is sirius anyway.
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post #20 of 128 Old 07-09-2006, 05:45 PM
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Steelers...Very good,well said...BTW I took Mels comment about buying XM as a little shot at XM because of their recent troubles..

JH...Sirius is the only one that counts huh? Damn you either brainwashed or 8 years old...
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post #21 of 128 Old 07-09-2006, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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JH...Sirius is the only one that counts huh? Damn you either brainwashed or 8 years old...


barb you cant let anything go can you.

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post #22 of 128 Old 07-09-2006, 05:50 PM
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Actually, this is what the third satellite is supposed to do.

Unlike the current two, which are in a elliptical(did I spell that right?) orbit above the U.S., this 3rd one is going to be in a GEOSTATIONARY orbit.

I think it is going to be in the Southern Sky, just like XM's, but I may be wrong about it's placement.

If it's going to be put into a geostationary orbit, it would have to be in the southern sky (at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere). In order for the orbit to be geostationary, the satellite must be directly above the equator.

The only variable would be the longitude of the new satellite. In a perfect world, they would want the satellite to be south of Texas, right around 100 degrees west longitude (essentially the middle of the US).

Also, it's going to be Sirius' fourth satellite. In order to have coverage over the US at all times with an elliptical path, Sirius initially had to put 3 satellites into orbit, not 2.

The Orbitcast article on this satellite doesn't indicate where it will be located.
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post #23 of 128 Old 07-09-2006, 06:34 PM
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Yes, but if your information is correct about it having to be the Southern Sky for Geostationary orbit for the Northern Hemisphere, then that is where it is going to be.

Unless of course they are trying to make deals with Mexico/Central/South America to provide a pure Latino program lineup, plus other things.

But I HIGHLY DOUBT THAT, as it would involve to many goverments/red tape to do. Just not feasible.

The old thread, and your article, makes it perfectly clear that it will be Geostationary.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=686098
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post #24 of 128 Old 07-09-2006, 07:02 PM
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barb you cant let anything go can you.

Come on Merc. When I see you come down on JH for the tons of crap he posts here then I'll lay off..Sirius is a radio company,it's not life or death..Stern and O&A are radio personalities,thats all.. None of them will formulate a cure for cancer or create world peace.

You guys take all this waaaay too serious(pun intended)..
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post #25 of 128 Old 07-09-2006, 07:26 PM
 
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Steelers...Very good,well said...BTW I took Mels comment about buying XM as a little shot at XM because of their recent troubles..

JH...Sirius is the only one that counts huh? Damn you either brainwashed or 8 years old...

I'm not brainwashed nor 8 years old. XM sucks and Sirius doesn't thats why its the only one that counts. To me its the only one that counts. Do you have problem with opinions? The buzz is clearly with Sirius that cannot be denied. I don't see how XM will or can regain the buzz factor. I don't post "tons of crap" I post opinions and my opinion is that O&A are wannabe losers and XM sucks both valid points. I've been able to get those two losers for free for months now in NY and havent had the urge to even turn the dial thier way. To be fair though I don't listen to regular radio anymore at all except at work when I can't listen to sirius and that is strictly music listening. Actually I will amend that I listen to 660AM can't give up Mike and the Maddog.
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post #26 of 128 Old 01-07-2007, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Pat6366 View Post

Open a spread sheet and plot the numbers from Mercury's post above. It hardly looks like Sirius is going to kill XM. You can definitely see the affect of Stern, but you can also see that the affect is now trailing off and both XM and Sirius will soon be back to the pre Stern growth rates.

Barbie is right, all of the subs in the world are no good unless you are making a profit on them.



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post #27 of 128 Old 01-08-2007, 09:30 AM
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Wow, you waited six months to plot the numbers?
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post #28 of 128 Old 01-08-2007, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Pat6366 View Post

Wow, you waited six months to plot the numbers?


No,just needed the time to prove you wrong,again!

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post #29 of 128 Old 01-09-2007, 05:02 PM
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again????????? yeah right!
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post #30 of 128 Old 01-09-2007, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
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this is being reported over at NYRMB...

the Fall book for O&A

(12+) 1.6 - down from a 2.2 in the summer.

(persons 25-54) 2.4 - down from 3.1 in the summer.

(18-34) 3.1 - down from 4.1 in the summer.

(men 25-54) 3.9 - down from 5.0 in the summer.


waddle doodle!

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Closed Thread XM and Sirius Satellite Radio

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