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Satellite Radio Coming to Hawaii

January 17th, 2011 by Ryan Ozawa · 8 Comments · Business, Technology

Offer not valid in Hawaii and Alaska. Prices may be higher in Hawaii and Alaska. And yes, Sirius Satellite Radio is not available in Hawaii and Alaska. But that may change.

The FCC has granted conditional approval to Sirius to operate ground-based repeaters to make its programming available in the two U.S. states it has long been unable to reach. It was a request that was first filed in 2006, and was then subject to a prolonged comment period thanks to resistance from traditional radio broadcasters.

Four years later, the FCC has finally given Sirius the green light to set up repeaters in Honolulu, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. The company will be allowed to operate the limited, 2,000 watt systems while it awaits separate approval to relocate its satellites to directly service both states. Neighbor island listeners, presumably, will have to wait until then to get their fix.

In allowing Sirius to move forward, the FCC dismissed petitions from organizations representing traditional radio. The Hawaii Association of Broadcasters, along with the Alaska Broadcasters Assocation and the National Association of Broadcasters, had asked the FCC to deny the request by Sirius to install equipment on the ground.

Sirius has said that the opposition from traditional broadcasters is simply a fear of competition. But in their petitions, the broadcasting associations said Sirius should buy existing AM or FM stations instead of being allowed to set up their own repeaters.

Sirius says it has always faced opposition, but has long been able to offer listeners in the other 48 states a choice. It says the repeaters are needed to “overcome the effects of satellite signal blockage and multipath interference” in Hawaii and Alaska.

Interestingly, Sirius previously battled a different industry: telecommunications. The frequencies assigned to satellite radio sit squarely in the middle of frequencies used by Wireless Communications Services (WCS). The low-power limitation of the terrestrial repeaters specified in the FCC decision are perhaps one silver lining to both local radio stations and WiMax providers.

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • DR

    I listened to Sirius in my car many, many times when I used to drive up and down the West Coast. Now that I’m in living in Hawaii it would be nice to have Sirius for driving around but I’ve also been using the SiriusXM app on my phone and plugging it into my car. It’s a nice substitute but the app doesn’t have all the channels and I can only get it where there’s 3G service.

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  • RM

    When we moved to Hawaii from the mainland, I already felt disconnected from what I knew. It was even harder to desl with not being connected to the radio station I lived off of! I love Sirus!!! Come on Hawaii, do you always have to fight everything and be the last to enjoy the best????? Let Sirus in!!!!!

  • Tito Edwards

    It’s been almost two years since this announcement, but Is SiriusXM Satellite Radio available now for Kauai?

  • Kai La'a

    In my opinion Sirius is the way to go due to terrible radio quality in Hawaii. Now before you try to jumo on me about bashing Hawaii, look at my name? Ok Got it? I was born and raised on Oahu and moved away in 2005. WHile I was away i had Sirius XM in my car. It was comercial free and I payed out of pocket for it. Now I listen to 20-30 min of comercials an hour just to hear a few songs before some junk comes over the airwaves. The music is so bad that I’m tempted just to move back to the mainland.
    Signed A local boy who wants good music.

  • David V

    So it’s now June 2013 and we still don’t have Sirius in Hawaii that I can receive on my new car?

    Does anyone know what the current status is??

  • Jared

    Still no Sirius/XM in Hawaii! We should change from the “Aloha State” to the “Half Ass State”, because everything here is half ass!

  • Raymond Luxury Yacht

    Geez XM launched in 2001 and Sirius in 2002 and still nothing in Hawaii. Of course nowhere can you find locals like this reporter informing us of the bad news about his state, hence all the confusion as to why the broadcast approval went through in 2011 but still no service in Hawaii. Where’s the follow up reporting? Local radio is bitching about unfair competition but screw them bc Hawaiian stations are the worst in the country. Same 10 hip hop songs and Brudah Iz. And non-funny talking heads in between. But heaven forbid any local prefers an outside business over a homegrown one. Booo… Scratch the surface and Hawaii is barely more than a third world country in a lot of aspects.

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