Sirius, nearly a year behind rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings, which completed its national rollout last fall, will debut its service Feb. 14 in four markets -- Denver, Houston, Jackson, Miss., and Phoenix.
XM broadcasts 100 digital-quality music, news, talk, sports and entertainment channels -- 71 genre-specific music channels, of which 30 are commercial free -- for $9.99 a month.
The second phase of Sirius' rollout will begin in the spring in the Southwestern U.S., followed by the southern and central states in the summer. The company plans to offer the service nationwide by the third quarter.
Ferris wheel promo
Sirius will promote its service launch with a road show including a custom-built 65-foot Ferris wheel called the "Wheel of Sound" that will travel to various cities beginning in February. The "Rhythm of the Road" mobile tour will allow consumers to experience the service live by riding in Sirius radio-equipped cars at retail locations and sporting events.
Sirius has not yet unveiled the details of its advertising effort, which is handled by Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York.
In addition, the company expanded its sales and marketing force by adding four new executives.
Sirius named Guy Johnson, previously senior vice president of sales and product management, the Americas, at Thomson, to the new post of executive vice president of sales and marketing. The company also named Stanley Kozlowski, previously senior vice president of sales and marketing at the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, to vice president of retail marketing; Jeffrey Peace, previously vice president and general manager of Thomson's Western Sales Department, to vice president of western retail sales; and Russ Fyke, with midwest sales experience at RCA, General Electric and Thomson, to vice president of midwest retail sales.