Now Political Junkies Can Literally Get Their Fix Anywhere; New Channel Available To All -- Public Service and Marketing Gimmick Rolled Into One
XM Radio put the word out today that it'll launch a channel devoted exclusively to the 2008 presidential election called POTUS '08 on XM Channel 130.
XM will do a soft launch next month, with the channel kicking into full-time gear in September.
The effort's a joint venture with C-Span and other unspecified media outlets to provide politically neutral coverage complete with speeches, interviews, debate coverage and call-in shows, for starters.
While conceptually the channel is intriguing, what's equally notable is that it'll be "free to air." That means not only will XM's 8 million-plus subscribers be able to tune in, but so will the millions more who have XM in the car or via a portable device, but have declined to activate the service.
So while the effort can be justifiably lauded as a public service, it's also a way to nudge drivers to click on not only channel 130, but the other 160 or so channels on offer. The channel can also only help XM make nice on Capitol Hill, as it seeks to curry favor for its proposed merger with Sirius.
Public service and ulterior motives. Sounds like a political match for the ages, not to mention the radio.