XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. launched its satellite radio service in San Diego and Dallas on Tuesday, Sept. 25, after delaying the marketing campaign two weeks after the air attacks on New York and the Pentagon, according to Reuters. The subscription service offers 100 channels of music and other programming and has been in de-velopment for more than a decade. It can already be received in most of the United States with the proper equipment. Before launching a nationwide marketing campaign set for November, Washington, DC-based XM opted to start sales in two cities as a kind of trial run, Chief Executive Hugh Panero told Reuters. XM’s 100-channel service is run from Washington, DC, and transmitted by two satellites to a network of ground-based stations that take in the signal, amplify it, and transmit it for reception by special aftermarket radios. By Oct. 18, the service is expected to roll out in the Southwest and Southeast, covering a potential audience estimated at 136 million. XM plans a nationwide launch by Nov. 15. A driver traveling from San Diego to Washington, DC, with an XM radio would have coverage for about 98 percent of the trip, Panero said. Besides music and talk programming, XM will also carry radio channels or live audio simulcasts from CNBC, CNN Headline News, USA Today, and C-SPAN among others. Of the music channels, 30 of 71 will be commercial-free. The rest, along with 29 news, talks, and sports channels will carry commercial blocks of varying lengths. The service will cost $9.95 a month, with new radios to upgrade older cars to make them com-patible starting at $225.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials