The Tea Makers: CBC and Sirius do satellite radio: the easy and the queasy
I (being American, but frustrated at the lack of international content) think this is a great opportunity for Canada to get its voices heard in a wider market.
It's not just a ghetto of Canadian channels, either. XM's license with the CRTC states they will ensure a minimum of 7% of all new songs added to all music channels are "Canadian content". By the end of XM's license term, 10 percent of everything on XM will be Canadian. ( http://www.cdnsatrad.com/news11052004.php )
So, really, the majority of channels will have some Canadian content, probably more than most US-based terrestrial music stations. (Presumably Sirius has a similar mandate to add Canadian music to all music channels.)
I also think the CBC can stand to make some decent money from this venture, as they own 40 percent of Sirius Canada. Sirius USA only owns 20 percent. (The remaining 40% belongs to Standard Radio.)
I wouldn't be shocked if Sirius Canada eventually does add Howard Stern, even if as part of a premium package. XM Canada carries the High Voltage "shock jock" channel with Opie & Anthony and Ron & Fez.
Also, I think that CBC/Radio-Canada is finally able to present a full service to all of Canada this way. CBC Radio 1 & 3, Premiére Plus, Bandéapart, Infoplus, and RCIplus are now available with complete nationwide coverage.
Also, note at http://www.cbc.ca/sirius/ that CBCR1 on Sirius has been reformatted to avoid duplicating terrestrial R1 stations. (It also, cleverly enough, avoids duplicating the CBCR1 programs already carried on Sirius USA by Public Radio International. (pri.org))
XM really does need to improve its Canadian offerings a little if it wants to compete in that area. However I think they do have a leg up with their NHL coverage, including a Canadian-produced 24/7 hockey network "Home Ice".
I suspect, for starters, that XM 52 "(un)Signed" will change its name in the new year, as the name is not mentioned at all when I've listened. They ID as "XM 52. New. Emerging. Now."
I am also looking forward to what I hope will be a 9th channel of Canadian content from XM, the multicultural music station to be named "Mosaic". If they do indeed add this instead of changing an existing Canadian station, they'd be able to add 9 more channels from the US service, filling out the music lineup and possibly including a few more news stations. More info on XM Mosaic here:
XM also needs to beef up their news offerings. "Canada 360" and "Quois De Neuf" are not exactly engaging or interesting. Surely they can find a partner who could at least help them add some produced feature stories to spice up their "rip and read" style of news. Help should be forthcoming from Corus in this department: