enLighten’s New Home

Most of you readers who are also Sirius/XM subscribers will remember the grassroots campaign a couple of years ago that saved enLighten, and in turn Southern Gospel music, from being removed from the Sirius/XM lineup.  It was a wonderful example of the power of customer feedback, as after being bombarded with calls and emails from SG listeners, Sirius/XM changed course and moved enLighten to a temporary home on channel 18.

enLighten announced (hat tip, DJM) that their new home will be channel 65, beginning next Thursday.  Those of you that have satellite radio in your vehicles, like me, will need to change your preset from 18 to 65 once the switch is made.  Channel 18 was always intended to be temporary, so it’s good to see enLighten get a new permanent spot on the Sirius/XM lineup.

Congratulations Marlin!

My Thoughts On enLighten

First let me say this: We are XM subscribers solely because of enLighten.  That is the one and only reason we subscribed to the service.  A little back story: Back in November, our little family SUV finally gave up the ghost (it WAS 8 years old), and we’d finally outgrown it with 3 kids.  So we ended up purchasing a minivan.  While I knew the van had XM capability, what I did not know until we got a phone call from Sirius XM in January was that we had a 3 month free preview of their service.  We missed out on 2 of the 3 months, but we were able to listen for the month of January.  Obviously, I immediately tuned the station to enLighten, and we never changed it for any appreciable amount of time (my wife revolted when I tried to turn on the classic jazz or smooth jazz channels).  When our preview ended, we went about 2 weeks without the XM service again.  Then one day my wife called me and said “I miss having my enLighten in the car.”  So we subscribed.  That was mid February.  We’ve now had service for 2 or 3 months.

enLighten overall does a good job.  They do play a fairly good mix of recent songs and classics, and their classics even go back to the 50s and 60s.  That’s a nice plus, it’s good to hear the Blackwood Brothers and the Speers and other great groups from SG’s early days.  They play a lot of current hit songs as well, it’s fairly easy to hear Gold City’s “Peter, James, and John” or the Booth Brothers’ “She Still Remembers Jesus’ Name.”  I’ve finally gotten to hear songs and artists that due to the lack of SG radio in this area, I’ve only heard about via blogs.  Again, we liked the station enough to spend the money to subscribe, and we are very picky about adding on any additional monthly bills.  So obviously it has made a good impression on us.

There is one area though that I feel the station can improve on, and that still has to do with airplay selection.  Some of the songs we hear on there just aren’t up to snuff in quality.  While I’ve heard very little of what I would consider to be poor quality recordings, I’ve heard a significant amount of what would be considered mediocre to average.  I’ve heard many songs by artists that we’ve never heard of, and while introducing new artists is a good thing, I’ve frequently cringed at what’s come on the radio.  Another blogger shared his thoughts a while back, and I don’t remember for sure who it was (DBM maybe?), but made the point that enLighten, with the explosion of satellite radio, is in a position to be a flagship of sorts for the SG genre, and because of that they should only play the highest quality music.  I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment.  Playing up and coming artists is great, and we have a lot of good ones, with groups like Tribute, the Crist Family, the Dills, Freedom, and others.  Those groups, while not as widely known or popular, put out recordings that are of sufficient quality as to represent SG well to a wide audience.  I’ve heard other groups on the channel that aren’t there yet.

So to Marlin and the enLighten crew, keep up the good work, and please consider the above as the purely constructive criticism that it is.  We enjoy our enLighten, and want it to be the best representation of Southern Gospel music that it could possibly be.  Thanks for your efforts, and we’ll keep listening!


We Did It!!!

As you may or may not have heard, the calls, emails, and letters to Sirius/XM made them reconsider dropping enLighten!  After midnight tonight, enLighten will be moving to channel 18 on both Sirius and XM radios.  Early indications are that this is a temporary move until a permanent home can be found.  Congratulations to Marlin and all the folks at enLighten, and thank all of you for taking the time to make your voices heard.  It really can make a difference!

If You Want To Express An Opinion On enLighten

Granted, this is the third straight post on the situation, but I consider it to be extremely important.  It has been stated that the folks at Sirius/XM are basically ignoring emails to the customercare address and most definitely ignoring Facebook.  The only thing they are paying attention to are letters primarily, followed by phone calls.  However, I think emails sent directly to the powers that be, instead of the easily ignored generic email address, would probably carry more weight.  So here are the pertinent addresses/phone numbers/email addresses.  Please take the time to address this situation.  Only a massive response has a chance of causing Sirius/XM to reconsider.  Like the old saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Mr. Mel Karmazin, CEO
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 36th Floor; New York, NY 10020

Mr. Scott A. Greenstein, President of Programming
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 36th Floor; New York, NY 10020

Phone (Corporate): (212) 584-5100 (ask for Programming, h/t Norm)

Phone (Sirius): 1-888-539-7474

Phone (XM): 1-800-XM-RADIO or 1-877-291-5304

Other contacts can be found on this comment on my original post.  Again, please take the time to contact them directly.

Update On The Status Of Enlighten

Sirius/XM has confirmed that enLighten is moving to an online only format.  It will be removed from both their over the air formats (car radios) and from the Dish Network service.  This is quite a blow to SG as a genre.  From Daniel Mount’s blog, and also in the comments on my previous post, here is the pertinent contact information for the company to voice your displeasure.  I highly recommend doing just that.  I will be emailing them as well.

  • Phone (Sirius): 1-888-539-7474
  • Phone (XM): 1-800-XM-RADIO or 1-877-291-5304
  • Email: customercare@siriusxm.com
  • Mail: Mr. Scott A. Greenstein; President, Programming; Sirius XM Radio; 1221 Avenue of the Americas, 36th Floor; New York, NY 10020
  • Mail: Mr. Mel Karmazin; CEO; Sirius XM Radio; 1221 Avenue of the Americas, 36th Floor; New York, NY 10020

Is enLighten enDangered?

DBM broke the story last night that enLighten is rumored to be removed from the Sirius/XM over the air lineup on May 4.  The station would be available as an online-only station.  I hope that this isn’t the case, as I quite frequently listen to the station via Dish Network, especially while getting ready for church on Sunday mornings.  There is no official word from the folks at enLighten as of yet, only a “watch this space” type message promising further details later.  For what it is worth, there is a Facebook group that has been started to try and save the station’s broadcast status.

Continuous SG Christmas Music on enLighten

According to this article at SGN, enLighten will be programming 80 hours of continuous SG Christmas music beginning at 9 AM Eastern on December 23, and ending at 5 PM Eastern on Friday, December 26. That should provide a nice soundtrack to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations. I know we’ll be turning it on our Dish pretty frequently!

A Couple Of Interesting News Items

First, Canaan is offering a free sampler download.  Head over to their website and you will find a place to enter the code “FREEGIFT” to get the download.

Secondly, enLighten is rebroadcasting the SN fan awards a couple of times over the next few days.  The first will be Monday night at 8PM EST.  There will be an encore presentation on Thanksgiving Day at 6PM EST.  I’m sure this is a way to “break in” the new listeners on SIrius and Dish, and is a very good idea.

enLighten Joins Sirius Radio

As of midnight on Wednesday, enLighten, the XMRadio SG station joins the Sirius lineup as well on channel 67.  This will also supposedly make the station available to Dish Network subscribers (like me!).  I’ll keep you posted on if I really do start receiving the programming over Dish, but this is great news post merger.  For more information, check out enLighten’s website.

UPDATE (11/12/2008): I had my wife check, and enLighten is available on Dish Network channel 6067.  Great news, and something we can turn on when we’re getting ready for church on Sunday mornings!

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