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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently got Sirius earlier this month and now I wish I never had it with their BS censorship policy they recently introduced. Here is my email to customer service following a verbal complaint made to a customer service tech last week when I was explained that the censorship is being made by Sprint in partnership with Sirius as Sprint took over several stations.


Hello,


I recently subscribed to Sirius Satellite radio as of August 4th and was billed both for an activation fee and a monthly fee for a total of $26.xx. My main reasoning behind spending $300 on hardware (Kenwood car radio with built in tuner) for your service was your advertising of offering uncensored music. The main type of music I am interested in is Hip Hop/Rap music. Recently your company created a partnership with Sprint (according to your customer service rep who took my initial complaint) with which created censorship on several of your Rap music stations. It is also useful to note that this censorship is only being incorperated into your Rap music stations.


I realize that its ridiculous for me to hire an attorney and create a class-action lawsuit for false advertising claiming uncensored radio so I mention it only as a possibiliy that others with more time than myself have. I also realize that it would be ridiculous to claim racism against Black musicians since the newly instituted censorship only is only occuring on rap stations predominated by Black artists (and for the record I am white). However in good faith, your company should refund my entire $26.xx and cancel my account. I will take the loss of the $300 hardware and hope that XM radio will allow me to transfer service on that hardware or your company will reconsider its anti-First Amendment policy and I may rejoin your service in the future.


I would also like to list some personal information for demographics purposes so you, the management can have a better idea of the audience you are alienating with this poilcy. I am a 23 y/o male college graduate earning $50k/year. I was seriously considering purchasing your $500 lifetime subscription however now I would just like to cancel my account and obtain a refund for my activation fee. I can listen to censored hip-hop music on my local FM radio stations with a higher quality for free.


I wish your business model luck in a future where free-speech is no longer valued.


Thank you for your time,
 

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I can understand why you’re upset. What Sirius is doing is an affront to their customers and a clear demonstration that their priorities are *not* in making customers happy. But there are a few things you missed the mark on that you should know about.


1. Sirius is not just censoring rap and hip-hop music stations in conjunction with their deal with Sprint. From what I’ve been told, the “Alt Nation†and “First Wave†stations are also being censored. Both of these stations predominantly feature rock music, which in turn is mainly produced by white artists. While I think what they’re doing is an insult to their customers, it has nothing whatsoever to do with race.


2. This has absolutely nothing to do with the 1st amendment. It’s a common myth that the 1st amendment is a blanket protection against all censorship. This is completely untrue. The constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech deals exclusively with the government’s capacity to limit free speech. In this case, the government isn’t involved at all. This is a case of self-censorship, which is perfectly acceptable and constitutional. Remember, freedom of speech works both ways; just as Sirius has the freedom of playing obscenities on their privately owned service, they have the freedom of *not* playing obscenities.


3. XM and Sirius hardware is not directly compatible. While there are some companies that provide controllers in head units which can talk with both XM and Sirius tuners, you’ll still have to purchase a new receiver if you want to switch to XM. If your Kenwood head unit is anything like my Kenwood, you’re going to have to buy a new deck if you want XM. (You can always keep the Kenwood and get a controller which broadcasts over FM modulation, but you’ll probably lose a lot in sound quality, as well as the ability to use the controls on your Kenwood to change channels).


As for the class action suit:. I don’t have any Sirius ads which exclusively promise uncensored music, and my guess is there’s something in the standard agreement which grants Sirius the right to make changes in programming along the lines with censorship without breaking the contract.


In other words, I can’t see any patently illegal actions on Sirius’ part. However, Sirius’ policy here is ethically questionable. They have clearly violated any good faith, and have demonstrated that their customer’s wishes are secondary to the demands of external companies.



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Quote:
which created censorship on several of your Rap music stations


Which Rap channels are you seeing that are censored now? Hot jamz is the only one they told me would be censored. Have they added more to the list?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by weren1
Which Rap channels are you seeing that are censored now? Hot jamz is the only one they told me would be censored. Have they added more to the list?
I have only had the service for a couple weeks now and dont really know the names of the channels, but do a category search for Hip Hop and have noticed 3 channels censoring lyrics, I believe 42 and 43 along with 50.


Go to the Sirius.com website. A Huge flash image of "UNCENSORED MUSIC" comes up along with "COMMERCIAL FREE".
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pathighgate
2. This has absolutely nothing to do with the 1st amendment. It’s a common myth that the 1st amendment is a blanket protection against all censorship. This is completely untrue. The constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech deals exclusively with the government’s capacity to limit free speech. In this case, the government isn’t involved at all. This is a case of self-censorship, which is perfectly acceptable and constitutional. Remember, freedom of speech works both ways; just as Sirius has the freedom of playing obscenities on their privately owned service, they have the freedom of *not* playing obscenities.


[/url]
pathighgate,


You are correct in your statement above.


But what troubles me, and others, is the government CAN and DOES limit free speech in this country. Albeit in a "round about" way, with not one idiot stupid enough in gov't to directly say this is what they are doing.(And by the way this goes for Republicans, Democrats, Liberal, and Conservative. They all do it, and/or want to do it)


The FCC controls the liscences for companies like Sirius to operate(along with cable/satellite tv/etc..) and they could(and have threatened) not to extened a company's operating liscense unless they clean up their acts(like you state, SELF-CENSORSHIP). The government is involved, and does threaten these companies. Don't want to cut back and censor certain material, then when your liscense is up for renewal, we won't vote for it. You will be forced to sell out, and you, company A/person A will be out, and company B/person B who bought the stations, is willing to do it, and we will deal with them now. THIS IS SCARY.


But you are right about self-censorship, nothing against the law about that. But it just kinda sucks, and is disheartening if this is the direction that Sirius is heading. I wonder if XM has struck a similiar deal(or soon), and will have to do the same thing to some of there channels. I hope not.


In the end, I guess if they move into that direction to much, I would just give up on Sirius and either spend my money on XM, or just give it up all together some day. Hopefully not.
 

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How well thought out is this? You think that XM will work on Sirius hardware. Kenwood is Sirius specific, as is Alpine with XM. Get it.


By the way on the homepage of Sirius it doesn't say "UNCENSORED MUSIC", it says "UNCENSORED RADIO".."talk and comedy the way it should be" and it has a big picture of Howard.


It does say 100% commercial free music. Perhaps you are confused. Thinking about it now, I don't ever remember seeing Sirius promote their music stations as ALL uncesored. So this whole situation shouldn't be a shocker.


Shade45 is billed as uncensored, so you can get your rap music there.
 

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I understand this isn't a 1st amendment issue and there's no violation of the user agreement, but I think the point here is that this is a real disappointment. When we signed up we all thought it was going to be uncensored and for a lot of people that was part of the buying decision. If Sprint wants special uncensored channels they should have paid to get those set-up. I don't know if I'll switch or not, all other things equal, I want to subscribe to Sirius. This is just a major disappointment and it inspires feelings of betrayal. We all made financial investments to get this service and we had expectations going in that are being let down. Adding insult to injury, the changes were implemented without concern for our prefrences or opportunity for input, that I am aware of. If I don't cancel, I will still be reluctant to recomend this service to my friends and family. I hope people at Sirius are getting this feedback and taking it seriously.

http://www.siriusbackstage.com/images/censor2.gif
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StentorianVoices
the homepage of Sirius it doesn't say "UNCENSORED MUSIC", it says "UNCENSORED RADIO".


sheesh. talk about splitting hairs.
 

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I have yet to see someone prove that Sirius said ALL their stations would be uncensored. There are various stations that are billed as uncensored and they remain that way.


That little flash ad doesn't say 65 uncensored channels, it says censorship off, which is apparent on the comedy, talk stations. It's also evident on Shade 45 and most of the rock stations.


Mountains out of mohills, get off your soapboxes.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StentorianVoices
That little flash ad doesn't say 65 uncensored channels, it says censorship off, which is apparent on the comedy, talk stations. It's also evident on Shade 45 and most of the rock stations.


Mountains out of mohills, get off your soapboxes.
They already have plenty of "family friendly" channels to choose from. Why add "Faction" and others to the list just to satisfy Sprint? It's a dumb move and one that should be nipped in the bud. I enjoy the service as it is, playing mostly uncensored music. I'm paying for the service and have a right to complain. If your're not troubled by any of this fine. But I do feel like sharing my opinions and encouraging other who feel the same to take some action.
 

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More and more, I think Sirius is dropping the ball on this one. I sent an email complaining about the censorship on alt nation, and their reply essentially said "If you like uncensored music check out Shade 45â€. I'm sure this was a mass generated email, but I have to admit I'm a little peeved that, in their minds, a rap station (I'm not much of a rap fan) is a perfectly good substitution for rock.


Since my contract is up for renewal, I phoned up Sirius and told them to change to a month-to-month. The reason, I explained to him, was that while this censorship thing isn't quite enough to get me to cancel, it suggests the company might be going in a bad direction, and if they continue to let business partners dictate their programming decisions, (as I've said before, I'm not upset that the channels are censored, I'm upset over the reason why the channels are censored) I want to be able to cancel right away.


The guy on the phone was pretty cool about all of this. He told me that he himself is a rap fan and is really upset about the censorship thing, and that he plans on canceling his own subscription the next time it’s up. When your own employees start badmouthing the policy of the company, that suggests something’s up.


He gave me the number for the administrative offices and suggested I call them to complain, because essentially complaints at the normal “customer care†line generally fall on deaf ears. It’s a 212 number (not toll free), but I’m going to give it a shot tomorrow.


“I'm paying for the service and have a right to complain. If your're not troubled by any of this fine.â€


That’s exactly right. If it doesn’t upset you, then it’s no big deal. For me, I paid a good chunk of change for equipment that is useless if I don’t have the service. I have a vested interest in seeing that this service doesn’t go to seed. I don’t “hate†Sirius, I really love their programming, and a lot of what makes it good is that they aren’t in a situation where they have to make concessions to third parties. This censorship situation is basically saying, quite loudly, that “We will let other businesses make decisions regarding our programming†I don’t pay Sirius to take direction from Sprint; I pay them to take direction from their listeners.



***

HT: Yamaha RX-V800, Paradigm Reference Studio 80, Paradigm Reference Studio 20, Paradigm Reference Studio CC-470, Panasonic DVD-F85, RCA DVR40, BenQ 46-W1


BR: Yamaha RXV-592, Klipsch KSF 10.5, Klipsch KSW 100, Phillips DVD 711, Samsung SIR-TS360, Denon DCD 425, Phillips 30PW850H, Radio Shack 15-2133 Kameleon


Mokemobile: Kenwood Excelon HDC-X679, MB Quart Premium PCE 213, MB Quart Discus DKE 169, (2) JL 10W0, Kenwood Excelon KAC-X541, Kenwood Excelon KAC-X621, Kenwood KTC-SR902
 

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What Sirius has done is bait-and-switch. They offer a service with a specific value that is attractive to customers then provide a lesser service.


Peace,
 

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I like the letter you wrote as well. Excellent. Sprint is much more under scrutiny than Sirius and is more sensitive to FCC controls. The real issue to me is that Sirius made a deal with Sprint, most probably due to growing financial concerns. Its an interesting partial solution for a potentially ongoing problem. I doubt we will see any such deals from XM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rÿche 1
snickers, that's a great e-mail you sent to them...Did you get your money back?
No I got the same form email telling me to check out Shade45.


Whats the 212 customer service number?
 

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212-584-5100


Use the dial-by-name directory and get Scott Greenstein. He's one of the head honcho's there. Leave him a message stating your dipleasure. I'm sure enough messages will elicit a public response from him.
 

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Makes me glad I went with the more financially stable, better technology, just flat out bigger better XM :)


None the less it sucks that Sirius is choosing another very bad business move, but at the rate they've been going in the bad business decision road they've been traveling I guess it should really come as no surprise.
 

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Whats everyone's thoughts on why Maxim Radio has toned down most of what they say and how they say it to please there program manager's since they launched
 
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