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Satellite Radio Fast Becoming Popular With Motorists

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RALEIGH, N.C. — By now, you have probably seen advertisements for satellite radio. It came out about four months ago, and it is already a big hit.

Karen Brautigam said she gets all the music she could want, thanks to having XM satellite radio in her car.

"I have this very eclectic taste in music, and it ranges anywhere from bluegrass to blues to jazz to classical," she said. "It's just like CD-quality sound, yet there is no static, and you never lose the channel."

XM satellite radio was introduced in October. Subscribers pay $9.95 a month for 100 channels, 70 of which are music and 30 channels deal with information. Subscribers also know exactly who they are listening to.

"It will give you the name of the artist, and it will give you the song title if you hit it again," Brautigam said.

Installation is pretty simple. A little antenna is the only noticeable sign of the XM radio.

"It would work with any factory radio in any car. If they want to keep their factory radio, it works through a modulator that you would put on a radio station you don't use, and they would pick up the XM signal through that," XM satellite radio expert Stephen Wolfe said. "You can drive from North Carolina to California and listen to the same channels."

Wolff said about 40,000 people had subscribed to XM Satellite Radio by the end of 2001, and up to 700,000 more are expected to do so this year.

"Mostly, it's middle-age starting around 25 and up. That's the age group really interested in it. They generally have satellite in their house," he said.

Satellite radios start around $200. An antenna costs another $100.