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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @
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« Internet-to-TV Progressing | Main | The Growing Censorship Threat »

May 12, 2005

No Sirius Please, We're Hyundai

Posted by Ernest Miller

Inside Line reports that Hyundai has chosen XM Satellite Radio over competitor Sirius Satellite Radio at least in part because Sirius will host Howard Stern starting next year (Howard Stern "Sirius"-ly Turns Off Hyundai Customers):

John Krafcik, Hyundai vice president of product development and strategic planning, told Inside Line that executives were stunned by the number of "unprompted write-ins" on the survey that said customers were "not comfortable with programming from Stern."
Didn't anyone mention to the customers that, with the vast number of channels available via satellite radio, they didn't have to listen to Stern? Or that they could block his station? Has XM Radio sworn off any offensive content?

Now Hyundai can do whatever it wants. However, it is this sort of ridiculousness behind continued censorship by the FCC.

Comments (23) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Freedom of Expression


COMMENTS

1. In the Market on May 12, 2005 09:57 PM writes...

I'm in the market for a new automobile. Guess I can exclude Hyundai from my shopping list. My buddy agrees...

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2. SJ on May 13, 2005 07:01 AM writes...

Scratch Hyundai from my shopping list too! It's bad enough the government tries to censor us, but a car manufacturer acting as censor is totally too much!

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3. jody on May 13, 2005 08:34 AM writes...

I will not be buying a Hyundai. Does Hyundai honestly think XM only has only 'G' rated content. Give me a break, I have heard it all now. With these type of decision making managers- Hyundai must be a poor product anyway.

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4. Steve on May 13, 2005 08:59 AM writes...

Has Hyundai ever heard the Opie and Anthony show?, it is far from in good taste, and not even remotely funny....oh and it's on X-M

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5. Brendan on May 13, 2005 09:55 AM writes...

If you see more women flashing other motorists from their Hyundais, I guess you have XM's Opie and Anthony Show and their "Whip 'em Out Wednesday" programs to thank.

I have a strong feeling that the majority of these "unprompted write-ins" come from one specific right-wing Christian organization. Groups like the Parents Television Council are infamous for providing their members with a pre-drafted note and recommending one address for all the letters to be sent to. I would have more respect for Hyundai if they made the letters they received public.

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6. Gerry on May 13, 2005 06:09 PM writes...

People buying Hyundai vehicles don't want SIRIUS radio because of HOWARD STERN, so they chose the XM radio instead. I guess this means they have no objections to the type of programming that OPIE and ANTHONY puts on!
If it wasn't for STERN, people would still think that satellite radio was something found in military vehicles.

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7. Simon Squirrel on May 14, 2005 09:15 PM writes...

Censorship of Stern by an auto manufacturer from a nation (Korea) that eats dogs.

Nice.

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8. TOM on May 14, 2005 09:25 PM writes...

The stupid CEO said that XM went better with AM and FM. Meanwhile no one can guess the correct spelling for HINDI. Shouldn't they be more concerned with the safety of their cars. I think they have the most deaths of any car manufacturer.

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9. Jenny on May 14, 2005 09:49 PM writes...

Has anyone actually seen the "survey" that prompted so many off-the-cuff anti-Stern missives?

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10. dogstar on May 15, 2005 09:28 AM writes...

There are MANY options of getting satellite radio in one's car; does NOT have to be a factory radio. I prefer a Plug-N-Play anyway because I can take it with me - ANYWHERE! I do know this much- I WON'T be taking it out of ANY Hyundai simply because I will NEVER own one! As with the previous posters, Opie and Anthony = just as crude if not more. Can't wait for Stern '06 ( or sooner ! )

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11. Sam on May 15, 2005 11:32 AM writes...

I emailed Hyundai and informed that John Krafcik, Hyundai VP of product development and strategic planning need to be fired for this comment. In all my decades of a business man, I have never seen such a bonehead move to alienate a large portion of Hyundai's potential market.

Did Hyundai put out a press release on which lug nut supplier is preferred and why? What about tires? Did Krafcik say that Hyundai buyers liked BF Goodrich tires over Firestone because Firestone was not desirable by 300 Hyundai owners? I think the Hyundai owners may know more about tires than satellite radio or his email account was hacked. This press release by Krafick will go down in history and be used in every business school textbook of what NOT to do.

Hyundai’s email address is http://www.hyundaiusa.com/Financing/Customer_Service/eTalk_to_Us.asp

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12. George on May 15, 2005 11:52 AM writes...

Sounds like a smart decision on Hyundai's part.

Stern is repellent to a majority of Americans. Even if those people didn't listen to his show, they wouldn't like the idea of their $13/month subscription fee going to subsidize him.

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13. Hung on May 15, 2005 01:01 PM writes...

Stern has made many offensive comments about Korea and it was a wise decision. He has no honor.

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14. Ken Waldrop on May 15, 2005 01:02 PM writes...

I am not a Howard Stern fan and will not be a fan when he comes to Sirius Radio. However, for an auto manufacturer to say that they won't carry Sirius Radios in their cars because of Howard Stern in basically insane! I bought a Sirius Radio for one reason only, and that was the content and better varity of programming. If you don't want to listen to the 1 channel Stern is on out of the 120 available, just don't push the button. I suspect that many of the comments being received are from XM stock holders, miffed that XM didn't get Stern. Americans believe in freedom of choice - the Korean car manufacture better understand that issue!

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15. Mike on May 15, 2005 02:19 PM writes...

I wonder if these same survey respondents are aware of and object to all the christian streams on Sirius? Freedom of speech! If you don't want to defend the opposing views right to expression, free speech is dead. Block it out, or simply don't tune in. Hyundai really blew it with this one.

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16. Mark on May 16, 2005 07:21 AM writes...

Maybe Hyundai customers aren't worried about obscene programming. Maybe they are concerned about Sirius having bad programming in general. Beyond the fact that Stern is no more than a hack these days, his big salary could easily spell the death of Sirius. It's entirely possible that the company will be out of business leaving Hyundai owners with a dead piece of equipment.

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17. Matt on May 16, 2005 09:59 AM writes...

Let's also not forget that XM has about 70% of the satilite radio market. If I were Hyundai I would be more swayed by XM's command of the market and future outlook rather than the possible negativity Howard's show may or may not bring to there brand.

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18. Bryan C on May 16, 2005 10:18 AM writes...

How is this a "bad business decision" for the company? 4million vs 1mil is their likely saying "We want to go with the more popular option since it's more likely to attract buyers"

Matt and Mark pretty hit it right on the head.

If it were up to me I'd go with the better company, which right now is certainly XM.

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19. Zach on May 16, 2005 03:57 PM writes...

I will never own a hyundai after this! I'm getting tired of all the censorship. The government, CEO's, Walmart when will it stop. Sirius has better programming in my opinion. If you don't want to listen to Stern change the channel Its that simple. If you don't want your kids to listen, Don't let them or block the station. I'll be writing a letter to hyundai. Censorship on pay television is next...

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20. Zach on May 16, 2005 04:28 PM writes...

Write or call Hyundai at:
Toll free at 800-633-5151 (5:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, Monday - Friday) or write to them at:

Hyundai Motor America
Consumer Affairs Department
P.O. Box 20850
Fountain Valley, CA 92728-0850

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21. Matt on May 18, 2005 06:19 AM writes...

I don't think Hyundai's decision really amounts to an act of "censorship" Zach, Seeing as how both providers offer programing with adult content. But if Sirus fans want Hyundai to reconcider than it can't hurt to contact them.

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22. Bill on May 19, 2005 06:15 AM writes...

Does anybody else think it's odd that this story appeared first in the Detroit News on May 4, written by Anita Lienert ("Image is key to roll-out of satellite radio)...and there was no other media coverage....then a shortened version of the exact same article, with a big a push on Stern in the headline (Howard Stern "Sirius-ly" Turns off Hyundai Customers") shows up on Edmunds.com on May 11, then gets up picked up by CNN.com and the rest of the world? Someone else said this...but it makes sense to me that Hyundai picked XM because Hyundai is making satellite radio standard on all their cars next year...so they picked the biggest satellite brand...and it helps that XM doesn't have a high-profile association with someone as polarizing as Howard when making an expensive feature like this standard equipment.

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23. Art on May 22, 2005 11:18 AM writes...

So Hyundai makes a business decision to make satellite radio standard on all its cars...and decides to partner with the biggest brand (XM)...and Stern starts getting nervous that Hyundai's choice might put Sirius in some danger, and therefore may put at risk his $100 million per year deal (5 years...that's half a billion folks!)...so Stern does what any smart greedy sleazy business man would do...he bashes Hyundai unfairly, enlists his clueless fan base to support him and his $500 million Sirius deal, employs anti-Korean racist comments to stir up a little hatred, and gets defended by folks on this website for his advocacy of free-speech. Puh-leez. Pay attention people...Howard is looking out for himself and his $500 million deal.

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