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O&A on XM - Part II (not for 30 days they aren't - SUSPENDED!)

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O&A on XM - Part II (not for 30 days they aren't - SUSPENDED!)

Old 05-17-07, 08:47 AM
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http://www.fool.com/investing/high-g...the-virus.aspx
XM Inoculates the Virus
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz
May 16, 2007

Apparently, you can go too far on satellite radio. XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR) is taking The Opie & Anthony Show off the air for 30 days, in response to some tasteless comments the shock jocks aired earlier this month.

After last month's Don Imus episode, cracking down on a controversial radio show isn't surprising. What is shocking is that a crackdown took place on satellite radio.

XM knew what it was getting, after all. Even the press release that introduced the show to XM's programming slate three years ago called the team of Gregg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia "edgy," "irreverent," and "controversial."

The satellite-radio service even initially offered the show as a premium add-on service. When XM bumped up its monthly subscription rate from $10 to $13 two years ago, it went ahead and made O&A part of the standard offerings.

However, the show's home on channel 202, dubbed "the Virus," has always carried the XL prefix -- the "explicit language" warning tag that XM places on uncensored talk, rock, and hip-hop stations. Listeners know what they're getting into, and parental controls can block the potentially offensive channels.

The O&A bit that led to the suspension is certainly raw. Having a character on the show describe a violent sexual assault on Condoleezza Rice before moving on to Laura Bush is brutal. But who is to blame when you market a show based on its shock value, only to get exactly what you bargained for?

Like FM, like XM
Both Imus and the O&A duo publicly apologized for their comments, and CBS (NYSE: CBS) and XM initially went along with the apologies before dishing out harsher punishments a few days later. We know why CBS buckled. Vocal critics of Imus led to sponsor pullouts. It was a business decision. But the same can't necessarily be said of the XM move. Is satellite radio simply aping its terrestrial counterparts?

Online message boards devoted to O&A -- and the more restrained The Ron and Fez Show that shares the channel -- were burning up last night. Many irate fans mentioned calling XM to deactivate their receivers, but then they were reportedly offered a free month's worth of service to wait out the suspension. As word spread that this was a great way to save $13, many subscribers who were unlikely to walk probably called up for the freebie. In short, this is a Virus virus that may very well contaminate XM's current quarter.

But since no one is expecting a miracle out of XM, could the service be aiming for longer-lasting effects? Is XM trying to spruce itself up as the more wholesome alternative to the Howard Stern-led Sirius (Nasdaq: SIRI)? If so, it could be a mistake, because Oprah Winfrey's ballyhooed arrival last year did little to improve XM's sluggish subscriber acquisition and retention efforts.

Actually, the more plausible theory is that XM is positioning itself as a vigilant self-enforcer, to get regulators to warm up to its proposed merger with Sirius. Yet that would be an even bigger mistake. A deal is unlikely to hinge on how big a ruler XM uses to rap the knuckles of the O&A stars. If the merger is shot down -- and many observers these days expect that it will -- XM, having followed in terrestrial radio's footsteps, will end up alone and disgraced.

Topping controversy with controversy
Assuming that Opie and Anthony return next month, will the show still be as popular on a tighter leash? XM could milk the publicity and point to a triumphant return, but it can hardly play that role while still it's wearing the watchdog outfit.

The plan for now is to fill the dead air with reruns of Ron Bennington and Fez Whatley's show. It's my favorite show on XM, so I don't really mind, but it's going to end up being overkill. Remember when ABC killed Who Wants to Be a Millionaire by shoehorning it into its primetime schedule four times a week? Say hello to Who Wants to Be a Benningtonaire.

In a press release yesterday, XM claims that it's taking O&A off the air for a few weeks after the morning show's hosts failed to take their apology seriously. "Comments made by Opie and Anthony on yesterday's broadcast put into question whether they appreciate the seriousness of the matter," read the release.

Nowhere in the release can you find the words "edgy," "irreverent," or "controversial." Good luck, XM, in trying to get folks to pay for flat, reverent, and acceptable.
That last sentence is exactly why I won't go back to XM, even if O&A come back from suspension.
Old 05-17-07, 08:50 AM
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So there's still no official word that Opie and Anthony were fired. Yes, people close to them are saying it, but come on... look at who we're talking about. Would anyone really be surprised to find out that this was a stunt organized by O&A to try to demonstrate their value to XM and prevent termination?

And I'm sorry to the whiners, but I'm going to bring up Stern again because this isn't a Stern vs. O&A thing, it's a "how does this affect everyone else" thing - has Stern said anything at all about the situation? I know he was a busy yesterday with the Andy Dick roast and the surprise appearance by Don Rickles, but I'm interested to see if he comments on it at all. He spoke on at length about the Imus firing, but that had nothing to do with satellite radio or the proposed Sirius / XM merger.

I'm just wondering if Sirius requested that Stern not comment on it in favor of O&A (which he should be on the side of, even if he hates them), out of fears it will hurt the merger.
Old 05-17-07, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by MovieExchange
So there's still no official word that Opie and Anthony were fired. Yes, people close to them are saying it, but come on... look at who we're talking about. Would anyone really be surprised to find out that this was a stunt organized by O&A to try to demonstrate their value to XM and prevent termination?

And I'm sorry to the whiners, but I'm going to bring up Stern again because this isn't a Stern vs. O&A thing, it's a "how does this affect everyone else" thing - has Stern said anything at all about the situation? I know he was a busy yesterday with the Andy Dick roast and the surprise appearance by Don Rickles, but I'm interested to see if he comments on it at all. He spoke on at length about the Imus firing, but that had nothing to do with satellite radio or the proposed Sirius / XM merger.

I'm just wondering if Sirius requested that Stern not comment on it in favor of O&A (which he should be on the side of, even if he hates them), out of fears it will hurt the merger.
I haven't heard what Stern has said, but from the article I posted above:

Howard Stern, who left traditional radio in 2004 after battling regulators, also weighed in from his new post at Sirius.

"If you want free speech," he told his listeners Wednesday, "walk in a closet and talk to yourself."
Doesn't sound very supportive to me.
Old 05-17-07, 09:58 AM
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Howard Stern on his show today discussed the suspension of Opie and Anthony by XM Satellite Radio. Citing a recent article in the New York Post about the O&A suspension, Stern responded directly to Gregg (Opie) Hughes request for a truce with their longtime nemesis. "What do you say Howard, are you with us or are you against us?" Hughes was quoted as saying in the article. (Full audio available here.)


"I'm not spending a minute thinking about you," Stern said in response on his show. "I'm not with you, and I'm not against you. Your biggest 'nemesis' is you. You're fighting with you."

Howard further distanced himself from the situation.

"Listen guys, I've got nothing against you, do you're show, have a blast," Stern continued. "But don't call on me to help you. I don't condone what you said about Condoleezza Rice."
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Old 05-17-07, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by MovieExchange
So there's still no official word that Opie and Anthony were fired. Yes, people close to them are saying it, but come on... look at who we're talking about. Would anyone really be surprised to find out that this was a stunt organized by O&A to try to demonstrate their value to XM and prevent termination?

And I'm sorry to the whiners, but I'm going to bring up Stern again because this isn't a Stern vs. O&A thing, it's a "how does this affect everyone else" thing - has Stern said anything at all about the situation? I know he was a busy yesterday with the Andy Dick roast and the surprise appearance by Don Rickles, but I'm interested to see if he comments on it at all. He spoke on at length about the Imus firing, but that had nothing to do with satellite radio or the proposed Sirius / XM merger.

I'm just wondering if Sirius requested that Stern not comment on it in favor of O&A (which he should be on the side of, even if he hates them), out of fears it will hurt the merger.
I wasn't going to post in this thread again, but..... Yes Stern did comment. He basically said that O&A's treatment by XM was less about what they said and more about their value to the company. If they were getting better ratings on Free FM and were considered a valuable asset to to XM, they would not have had any trouble. He said that he didn't think the bit that got them into trouble was funny. He mentioned that they were reaching out to him for help, which I don't think is going to happen.

Make of it what you will.

Personally, I could see this happening after the merger, if it happens, but I'm not really seeing the logic of it before. Unless those 60 people that showed up to protest represented most of their audience. No offence, I'm just not sure ho they figure 'ratings' with XM radio.
Old 05-17-07, 10:20 AM
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Thank for the updates all.

That sounds really bad for Stern, and definitely makes it out to be a political thing. So yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if someone from Sirius told Stern to not come out in support of O&A.
Old 05-17-07, 10:45 AM
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He also stated he would not come out for them because while he was getting fined for everthing on fm radio no one stood with him. In fact they usually helped throw him under the bus...
Old 05-17-07, 12:05 PM
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Yesterday, I was cancelling a couple XM radios, for unrelated reasons, and spent 20 minutes on hold to talk to someone. Of course they tried to offer me 3 months free to continue, but I told them I had to wait 20 minutes on hold and I wasn't going to go through that again in 3 months. They said they were having a high volume of calls (I'm sure because of this).
Old 05-17-07, 04:27 PM
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For some reason I don't have a "quote" button on each post and I'm too lazy to do it manually so I'll just do a general reply here.

Before I listened to (and during some of the time) I listened to O&A I listened to and followed Stern. I was a big Stern fan. However, along the way I liked O&A more and gradually started to realize that Stern wasn't as good as he was and his attitude had changed. That started to grow into a rather large dislike of Stern for being a dishonest asshat who is more concerned with his own self-decreed legacy than anything else. That, however, doesn't mean that I can just like that discredit everything that he did for this form of radio. He was one of the most influential radio personalities of all time. That is just the fact. His appeal and following has diminished but you can't change the past.

Personally, I like the fact how a number of Stern supporters never really followed or listened to O&A much, they just know that Stern doesn't like them and pile on. I at least listened to the show that I was bashing. Because of that I laugh at people who say something along the lines of
Yes, people close to them are saying it, but come on... look at who we're talking about. Would anyone really be surprised to find out that this was a stunt organized by O&A to try to demonstrate their value to XM and prevent termination?
Do you even listen to O&A? Do you understand their connection to the fans? Do you realize that O&A are one of the most interactive shows in radio? They go above and beyond for their fans and are for the most part always honest to their fans. This is all stuff you would never have from Howard. Anthony is constantly on the message boards reading through posts and posting his own thoughts and random photoshops. Opie reads the message boards and would use to talk to me via AIM. They honestly care about the fans. For them to start lies about being fired wouldn't be what they do. If they wanted people to show their support for them by contacting XM the fans would. You realize that the fans completely terrorized Ferrell when he had his Sirius tryout? And that was only a goof and not something as serious as the rights of the XM subscriber. So, no, your speculation is not true. You haven't heard official word yet because XM is hoping that some people haven't found out that they have actually been fired yet and thus haven't canceled their sub.

Stern didn't have to be told to not support them, he wouldn't have anyway. No matter what they did he wouldn't support them simply because he doesn't like them. He can say all he wants to the contrary but gag orders and the like tell a different story. If the shoe was on the other foot to tell you the truth I don't know how O&A would decide but given their stance recently I would say they would support Stern.

And yes, XM is getting a very high amount of calls to cancel. It was very evident in the background as I was canceling last night.
Old 05-17-07, 04:39 PM
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So for everyone who is canceling, what are you going to do in 30 days when (if) they're back? You're just never going to listen to them again?
Old 05-17-07, 04:43 PM
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You can always reactivate.
Old 05-17-07, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Steam
You can always reactivate.
And be a hypocrite.
Old 05-17-07, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by The Cow
And be a hypocrite.
Exactly.

"I'm so furious that they are possibly fired! This is censorship! Wait, what? They are only suspended? Hello XM? I'd like to reactivate my service please."
Old 05-17-07, 06:20 PM
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what they said though wasn't even funny.

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Old 05-17-07, 07:22 PM
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Its not being a hypocrite. As it stands right now O&A are fired. The only way that XM puts them back on is if they get the message that the fans are furious. So, how is it hypocritical if your message is heard? Most of you guys saying this AREN'T even fans of them so how the hell do you know and since you know nothing about them, why the hell are you here? LOL LOL I'm cool LOL

As for whether it was funny or not, personally I found it amusing. Their ability to convey the visuals always make me laugh. Call it sick or twisted but who the hell cares?
Old 05-17-07, 08:02 PM
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Well looks like the station here in the bay area (formerly 106.9) has changed formats and is playing 'classic hits'... website says

"In the coming days, you’ll find FREE-FM personalities Adam Carolla, Opie & Anthony and Tom Leykis at TALK 1550 AM KYCY. This means you can continue to listen to your favorite shows very soon"

I guess "the boys are back in town" is still a ratings grabber!!!??? WTF ?

Last edited by fundevil; 05-17-07 at 08:08 PM.
Old 05-17-07, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Steam
Its not being a hypocrite. As it stands right now O&A are fired. The only way that XM puts them back on is if they get the message that the fans are furious. So, how is it hypocritical if your message is heard? Most of you guys saying this AREN'T even fans of them so how the hell do you know and since you know nothing about them, why the hell are you here? LOL LOL I'm cool LOL

As for whether it was funny or not, personally I found it amusing. Their ability to convey the visuals always make me laugh. Call it sick or twisted but who the hell cares?
No, as of now they are not fired. Nothing official has come out regarding their firing.
Old 05-17-07, 09:24 PM
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I'll take the word of the sources out there now plus the implications from Anthony's girlfriend and Opie's brother. Thanks though.
Old 05-17-07, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Steam
Do you even listen to O&A? Do you understand their connection to the fans?
That's just too damned funny. Their connection with their fans? Please. If they can use their fans to keep their jobs, they're going to do it.

So, no, your speculation is not true. You haven't heard official word yet because XM is hoping that some people haven't found out that they have actually been fired yet and thus haven't canceled their sub.
At least I admit that I'm speculating. You're flying off into fantasy land or something. Do you have definitive proof that they were fired? No? Then you're speculating also, pal.

Now it could very well be true that they were fired. Stern called it when he said that Imus would never come back from his suspension because people rarely come back from that type of suspension, and the same could happen here. But until XM announces that O&A are fired, then all you have is unfounded rumor and possible hype from O&A and their supporters to prevent their termination by demonstrating how many people will cancel.
Old 05-18-07, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by MovieExchange
That's just too damned funny. Their connection with their fans? Please. If they can use their fans to keep their jobs, they're going to do it.
It sounds like they get together with all of their fans and have sunday dinner with them.
Old 05-18-07, 03:08 AM
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Cancelling before any "official" notice of their termination is a bit extreme (particularly if what people have heard read from their O&A's brother's sister's cousin's uncle is misinformation and they've only been suspended).

I agree that it might be a show of support for O&A, but if they truly were suspended, won't people feel foolish when calling back to resubscribe?
Old 05-18-07, 05:06 AM
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That's just too damned funny. Their connection with their fans? Please. If they can use their fans to keep their jobs, they're going to do it.


At least I admit that I'm speculating. You're flying off into fantasy land or something. Do you have definitive proof that they were fired? No? Then you're speculating also, pal.

Now it could very well be true that they were fired. Stern called it when he said that Imus would never come back from his suspension because people rarely come back from that type of suspension, and the same could happen here. But until XM announces that O&A are fired, then all you have is unfounded rumor and possible hype from O&A and their supporters to prevent their termination by demonstrating how many people will cancel.
You ever think that XM didn't announce it yet because they don't want all O&A fans to cancel? It doesn't make strong business sense for them to do so. They will wait until it dies down a bit and then just gradually put them to rest. Now, I know that you don't know what its like to be able to trust in your favorite radio program anymore but O&A are different and wouldn't take advantage of their fans in that way. It's that simple.

And yes, Stern the Magnificent foresaw Imus (as did O&A by the way but who's counting), do you want a cookie that you can give to him?

It sounds like they get together with all of their fans and have sunday dinner with them.
Actually, Anthony did have Christmas Dinner with Pat from Moonachie, so, yeah. I wonder if Stern would let any fan hang out with him at the Hamptons for the holidays. Hmmm, tough one.

Cancelling before any "official" notice of their termination is a bit extreme (particularly if what people have heard read from their O&A's brother's sister's cousin's uncle is misinformation and they've only been suspended).

I agree that it might be a show of support for O&A, but if they truly were suspended, won't people feel foolish when calling back to resubscribe?
No, because then we will have won. I would have called up and voiced my displeasure with the suspension as well.

The part that I find humorous is that all of you commenting aren't even fans so you don't understand. You have no idea about O&A. You are fans of Stern and thats fine, but why are you here? At least when I commented on Stern (and got screamed at for doing so) I had years of Stern followship behind me. And I love the double standard being employed here, but hey, I wouldn't expect any less from Stern fans.
Old 05-18-07, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Steam
The part that I find humorous is that all of you commenting aren't even fans so you don't understand. You have no idea about O&A. You are fans of Stern and thats fine, but why are you here? At least when I commented on Stern (and got screamed at for doing so) I had years of Stern followship behind me. And I love the double standard being employed here, but hey, I wouldn't expect any less from Stern fans.
Dude. Relax. We're all friends here. You're getting too worked up. It's not good for you....
.. ..
Old 05-18-07, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Steam
Now, I know that you don't know what its like to be able to trust in your favorite radio program anymore but O&A are different and wouldn't take advantage of their fans in that way. It's that simple.

And yes, Stern the Magnificent foresaw Imus (as did O&A by the way but who's counting), do you want a cookie that you can give to him?
You're acting like the typical fanatic, frothing at the mouth because someone dared question your idols.

Grow up, learn to communicate in a manner that won't get such a negative reaction from people, and maybe - just maybe - you might have a better chance of convincing them that you're right. Right now you're certainly acting like the typical obnoxious hardcore O&A / Stern fans that I'm used to dealing with.


Originally Posted by Rogue588
I agree that it might be a show of support for O&A, but if they truly were suspended, won't people feel foolish when calling back to resubscribe?
They won't have to call... I'd lay money that within 1-3 months, XM will start calling or mailing people with some great discount offer if they come back.
Old 05-18-07, 08:22 AM
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I've listened to O&A a few times. One thing is for sure.. their fans are creepy, really creepy.

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