Ed Driscoll

DirecTV Adds XM Satellite Radio To Its Lineup

DirecTV has long had audio-only music channels in its ozone layer of 800-level channels. This sounds like a pretty cool addition:

If you eye your dish with loathing every time the signal slips–DirecTV Group wants to rekindle the romance. The No. 1 U.S. direct-broadcast satellite TV provider said Thursday it will start offering its customers 72 radio channels from fellow orbiter XM Satellite Radio Holdings.

Led by Chief Executive Hugh Panero, XM is the clear market leader in orbital radio: On Tuesday, it announced it crossed the 5-million subscriber mark, auguring 6 big ones by year’s end–versus closest rival Sirius Satellite Radio’s 2.1 million.

DirecTV, which boasts more than 14 million customers nationwide, said the XM broadcasts will begin in mid-November. The deal nearly doubles the TV purveyor’s current aural programming lineup without an additional fee for customers, it said. The new offerings will include music channels, children’s programming and “Home Plate,” XM’s Major League Baseball talk-radio channel. Unfortunately, the latter comes a tad late in the season.

Satellite radio may be the current next big thing, but it probably can’t hurt to have some connections who are already entrenched. DirectTV just might be that well-established friend, as it’s nearly 34%-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. And if the Aussie-born Forbes 400 Richest Americans member doesn’t know media–and how to sell it to people–who does?

Besides Panero, that is.

As the Forbes article notes, satellite radio is scheduled to come satellite TV in mid-November.