Skewed Toward Hell-Raising

Mojo Nixon quit KGB/101.5 two years ago to work for Sirius satellite radio. (His weekday-afternoon country-rock show, Outlaw Country, originates from his home studio in Coronado.) With the planned merger of XM satellite radio with Sirius, where does that leave Nixon?

"I got an e-mail from Mel [Karmazin, Sirius CEO] that nothing is going to change until next year.... I just re-upped for two more years."

But XM has a similar channel called Cross Country. What if only one channel survives an XM/Sirius merger?

"There was talk that some of what was redundant might go away. But I'm not redundant." He says Cross Country is geared for "...sensitive, singer-songwriter, Americana [artists]. We skew towards hell-raising, beer-drinking, and monster trucks; there is no need for me to worry.

"[The] 'outlaw country' [genre] is not being serviced by terrestrial radio; nobody else is playing David Allan Coe, Steve Earle, and Dave Alvin."

If the FCC blocks the merger (as is expected), won't the two companies struggle to survive separately?

"They ain't going out of business; this is the future of radio. Once you watch a movie on HBO, who wants to go back and watch a movie on TV with commercials? I'm sure the cable industry looked shaky at first. It's terrestrial radio that plays 22 minutes of commercials an hour that should be worried. And they are. People talk about iPods [lessening radio's importance], but music was not meant to be listened to on little tiny headphones; you're supposed to listen to it in a room, in the car, or in the concert hall."

Carlsbad skate mogul Tony Hawk hosts the Demolition Radio program on Sirius's "Faction" channel; he interviews action-sports athletes and plays music by Slayer, CKY, and Atreyu.

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