Just before the 2006-2007 season started, I purchased myself an XM radio for the sole purpose of listening to Home Ice, XM204. And every day was great radio. Lots of hockey talk, hockey highlights, and hockey guests -- including our favorite anonymous hockey blogger. Great radio for the hockey fan.
And then..... the season ended.
And apparently, so did XM204.
We all know here that there is ALWAYS a lot to talk about this time of year. The UFA free-agent frenzy has been incredible. Arbitration hearings are coming up. Lots of live press conferences announcing HHOF inductees, free agent signings, hirings, firings, ticket drives, and one designed specifically to declare a blood oath of revenge at Kevin Lowe...
And where is XM, the EXCLUSIVE home of the NHL? Good question.....
Here's a run-down of what the daytime programming at the station is like these days.
- a two-hour morning show, half of which is spent rehashing the previous days' afternoon show.
- the same morning show repeated two more times. So if something breaks in the morning, you may have to wait 4 hours to hear it mentioned.
- a two-hour afternoon show, half of which is rehashing the one hour of original material in the previous 2-hour morning show, which you may have already heard three times.
- No live coverage of any press conferences -- not even the Hockey Hall of Fame inductee announcement, which was in Toronto. (By the way, the show originates in Toronto.) Only (perhaps) sound bites afterwards... and only after waiting for their afternoon show.
- The kicker, this morning, on the morning of a trade between Ottawa and Boston there was a 15-minute discussion on....... the Def Leppard Concert the previous evening. Nothing against Def Leppard.... but this is a hockey channel, guys?
I realize that this is the off-season, but it strikes me that as good as XM204 is, there is so much more they could be doing to make it even better.... but choose not to do so. One would think it would be in XM and the NHL's best interests to try a little harder to generate some interest....
It's just another example of why the NHL gets buried beneath a million sports in the US. I am baffled by why hockey marketing has been this bad for this long and no one has lost their job over it.
XM204 has done a really piss poor job of covering this off season. Send them your opinion, if you subscribe to [email protected] Joe Thistle runs the station. BF, you are well aware of my agreement with your points.
The NHL will continue to be a second rate sport in the minds of many American fans until and unless the NHL, at it's highest levels, makes a concerted effort to market this great game in a professional and business-like manner. Look at what the NFL, NBA (ban) and even MLB do when they go about marketing. They find young, marketable stars (sid, ao , malkin, staal, etc...), great rivalries (hockey has some of the best) and make them accessible to the average fan - that is why so many basketball fans feel they "know" LeBron James...when all they really know is a great marketing campaign by the NBA and the Cavs.What makes this worse, is that this is NOT an NHL property so it would be easy and convenient to blame it as just another Bettman-ism. XM-204 is an independant mouthpiece for the game of hockey and it is NOT holding up its end of the bargin. It ought to be out there leading the parade doing all the things that the NHL is unwilling or unable to do...sadly...it is not. The off season is when the NHL needs to be pushing harder than ever to gain the attention of the casual fan who could be hooked for life. There are so many media outlets, so many X-box type distractions out there that only the best marketing is going to get the attention of that fan. XM-204 might as well be another Bettman-ism during this off season...put the foil back on boys.
I'm with you, BF. My only solace is believing that someone is actually looking at the real time listenership numbers and sees a dramatic drop when they talk about Def Leppard, pro wrestling, the Sopranos, etc. If I was interested in listening to any of that I'd go to one of their entertainment talk channels. It's hockey, boys - stick with the program; there's plenty to talk about if you'd put some thought into it!
I was hoping I wasn't the only one to notice that XM seems to have given up on hockey fans during the summer. There are plenty of other things they can do besides rebroadcasting old games. The station is great during the season, but what is the point of listening to 10 year old games??
I concur with all the posters. Especially painful in light of the fact that XM is a Canadian operation and the leading light in XM's Canadian portfolio.
Makes me glad I haven't signed up with XM yet... actually the ONLY thing that makes me glad I haven't.
I agree 100%, man, it was ridiculous that they spent...actually more than 15 minutes talking about Def Leppard...however funny, it wasn't at all needed. Seems it really only talks about hockey in general, not neccessarily up-to-date and current though...BTW i called in today about the Miracle on Manchester :D
This afternoon they did some good stuff with Boomer Gordon and Dan Blakely on the arbitration cases, but that is far too little a crumb for me. They even had Our Fearless Leader on for almost a half hour for a good interview-Jesus, Ek, Make Briere buy YOU the chesesteak-but it's the other BS that makes me switch to 150 or pop in the Pearl Jam CD
You should definitely send them an email. I have done that on other occasions over other matters and while they may not change things right away, at least they know people are unhappy with their services (which can lead to changes in the future).
Yes -- I have sent a link to Mr. Thistle (sp?) at XM. Please keep in mind that my concern is not with any of the people at XM204 -- just with decisions that are being made.
My morning commute during the season involved listening to XM204 and Hockey This Morning. Now, the morning show starts when I am already at work. This move has irritated me the most. My morning commute currently consists of listening to XM 42: Liquid Metal.