Dear IBMA Members,
The recent announcement by SiriusXM that they will be preempting 9 days of programming on Bluegrass Junction (Channel 61) for a special holiday format has caused frustration and concern in our bluegrass community. Understandably, we all want to express our disappointment with this decision so that those responsible will hear how important Bluegrass Junction is for our professionals and fans.
IBMA Board Chair Tim Surrett and I have contacted personnel at SiriusXM to learn as much as possible about this decision. We have been told the preempting of existing programming on channels occurs every year to provide holiday music and that those channels are selected on a rotational basis. We were also told that this decision is in no way an indication of any planned removal of Bluegrass Junction. With that said, it is vital that members of our community make SiriusXM aware of the importance of this channel in their decision to subscribe. It is equally critical that our communication be respectful and polite. We have an opportunity to positively influence future decisions rather than be seen simply as a group of rabble-rousers.
Please know that the best way of making your voice heard or seeking a subscription credit is through SiriusXM’s Listener Care center. While you may want to send email messages to programming executives, we understand these email messages are being forwarded to the Listener Care unit. Believe me, the programming executives are aware of the volume of feedback being received. Very importantly, we urge listeners NOT to cancel their subscriptions with SiriusXM because of the temporary programming decision, even if that feels like the only sufficient outlet for frustration. Having Bluegrass Junction listeners cancel their subscriptions will only hurt efforts to maintain and increase the economic importance of this channel. We need more listeners rather than less.
Tim and I have sent a personal letter to executives at SiriusXM on behalf of the IBMA to professionally voice our community’s position on this programming decision, to provide perspectives on the growing popularity of bluegrass, and to emphasize the importance of Bluegrass Junction’s 24-hour satellite bluegrass channel in our fragmented industry. Our goal is to educate and help influence future decisions.
Remember, you can still hear Bluegrass Junction online at siriusxm.com, or on your smartphone, tablet or other portable device with the SiriusXM app. It will return to your car radio on December 15.