I Finally Get the Beauty of Satellite Radio in Rental Cars

due to a variety of factors*, i’ve never really been big into satellite radio, but it finally dawned on me this business trip why it’s a good option to have: same stations, nationwide. no more pressing scan or seek or tune or knob-dialing (sorry if that sounds nasty, it’s not meant to be) to find stations you like. i’m probably late to the game, but it’s quite handy! just remember your favorite channels (or their approximate location on the virtual dial since they’re grouped) and no matter where you drive, you’re listening to what you want without having to hunt for a station (or listen to commercials).

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my channels, as i have discovered over the past week and a half (which kept me company as i drove from Philly down to FTU DC and through the hinterlands of Pennsylvania to and from the Abandoned Turnpike):

  • 36: Alt Nation (new alternative music)
  • 35: SiriusXM U (indie rock)
  • 30: The Loft (contemporary eclectic)
  • 33: 1st Wave (classic alternative)
  • 53: SiriusXM Chill (smooth electronic, kinda meh)
  • 51: BPM (dance hits, also kinda meh)

i was wondering why the Alamo/National agent was telling a customer who was indecisive about which car to pick that “many people like having satellite radio” — now i know why.  the drawbacks, from my experience, are a) no reception when anything is overhead, or even some mountains that are blocking the line-of-sight to the satellite, and b) listen long enough (4-5 hours? not sure) and the programming repeats itself.

*oh right! the reasons why i didn’t know much about satellite radio:

  • i normally only rent long-term in Philadelphia, where i have quickly learned that the first thing to do when i get in a new rental is set FM preset 1 to Radio 104.5 and preset 6 to WHYY 90.9 (yes, that WHYY of Fresh Air and Terry Gross fame), which are normally good enough for me
  • the last times i’ve driven long distances i’ve been able to hook my phone up to the car via bluetooth or USB, so i always streamed music if i wanted
  • i’m too cheap to pay for a satellite radio subscription at home
  • plain ol’ not being present in cars i’ve rented

p.s. if you noticed the indicator on the radio, the CD was left by a previous renter. some self-help thing that i listened to for 10 minutes. it was a guy who was reading too much into (and drawing seemingly disparate teachings from) an ancient Irish proverb…

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