Sirius airs Springsteen, uninterrupted

Radio service dedicates station to the Boss, his band

November 01, 2005|By KEVIN COWHERD | KEVIN COWHERD,SUN REPORTER

I'm drivin' in my car

I turn on the radio ...

And there's the Boss wailing out another tune.

There's Bruce in the morning, Bruce in the afternoon, Bruce in the evening.

There's Bruce 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Yes, starting today, if you love his music, you can hear all Bruce Springsteen, all the time as Sirius Satellite Radio launches a commercial-free channel devoted to the music of the New Jersey rock legend and his E Street Band.

Naturally, there's a marketing tie-in: The start-up of E Street Radio coincides with the 30th anniversary of the release of the band's celebrated Born to Run album, which has been remastered and reissued by Columbia Records and will be released as a box set Nov. 15.

In addition to round-the-clock music from Bruce and the band, the channel will feature discussions about their albums, conversations with band members and interviews of just about everyone ever associated with the band over the past 30-plus years.

Noted rock biographer Dave Marsh, who hosts a weekly Sirius rock program, Kick Out the Jams With Dave Marsh, conducted a lengthy, 100-minute interview with Springsteen that airs today, during which Springsteen retraces his career and ruminates on what his music means to him.

He also discusses how the seminal Born to Run, which sold more than 8 million copies worldwide and helped thrust him into the national spotlight, came to be.

Satellite radio, like satellite television, uses a signal sent by satellite to subscribers who have special receivers and pay a monthly fee. While it has a relatively small audience compared to broadcast radio, satellite service is growing in popularity. Sirius, one of two major services (the other is XM Satellite Radio), announced late last year that it had surpassed 1 million subscribers.

It was also the first satellite service to dedicate a round-the-clock, commercial-free channel exclusively to an individual artist, launching an all-Elvis Presley channel in June 2004 that broadcasts live from Graceland in Memphis, Tenn.

An all-Rolling Stones channel was launched two months ago, coinciding with the launch of the Stones' current "A Bigger Bang" world tour.

But Marsh says Springsteen might be the rock star best suited to having his own music channel.

It works with [Bruce] ... because so many people identify with him," says Marsh. "And you'll hear a range of music from him that you wouldn't hear from anyone else."

Marsh, who wrote Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts, considered the definitive biography of the rock superstar, says the 54-year-old Springsteen's enduring appeal lies in the fact that "he never cheated [his audience], and he is the greatest live performer in that kind of music since James Brown."

The E Street Radio channel is scheduled to air through Jan. 31. But Elise Brown, a spokeswoman for Sirius, said its run "could very well be extended."

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

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