.

Eminem Hits the Airwaves

Satellite radio provides a safe haven for controversial artists

July 30, 2004 12:00 AM ET

Eminem is heading into orbit, and other censorship-wary artists and radio personalities may not be far behind. Starting this fall, Slim Shady will have his own channel on Sirius' satellite-radio network. Listeners will need a special receiver and a subscription, which costs about thirteen dollars a month. In return, the platinum-selling artist and hip-hop mogul is promising fans a different kind of listening experience.

"This channel gives me a direct outlet to the streets and our audience," says Eminem, whose "The Real Slim Shady" was deemed indecent by the Federal Communications Commission in 2001 (the ruling was later reversed). "No middleman, no playlists, no bullshit. And most of all, no censorship."

Em will be one of the executive producers of the station, which will showcase him and his D12 crew, as well as Shady Records stars including 50 Cent and Obie Trice. But Shady radio promises to spin records from across the hip-hop universe, from old-school favorites to rare tracks and mix tapes. "It's gonna be essentially a destination to get and hear things that other people aren't playing," says Paul Rosenberg, Eminem's manager.

Programming plans for the station are still up in the air. But mix-tape king DJ Green Lantern, who will have a show, says Eminem's influence will be everywhere. "Me and Em might sit down and say, 'This is some of the music that shaped my life,' and I might put together a whole two-hour block," he says.

Because satellite radio is commercial-free, the as-yet-unnamed station won't face pressure from advertisers to tone down its act. "Like, I can have Em and 50 up there just cursing like crazy and doing whatever they want," Green Lantern promises. "If you're a fan of Em speaking his mind, get ready for a whole lot of that."

Is Sirius worried that Em's antics will go too far? "Not in any way, shape or form," says Scott Greenstein, president of entertainment and sports for Sirius. "He's entitled to say what he wants."

After a shaky start, satellite radio is developing into a viable choice for listeners tired of commercials and cookie-cutter playlists on regular radio. Sirius has 500,000 subscribers and expects to hit one million by the end of the year; its competition, XM, has two million users paying about ten dollars a month for its digital satellite network.

Howard Stern has flirted publicly with moving to satellite radio, too. And the raunchy, popular Opie and Anthony Show will probably move to XM or Sirius before the end of the year, says Greg "Opie" Hughes. The nationally syndicated program was canceled in 2002 after the hosts broadcast audio of two people having sex. "We feel if we went back to commercial radio we'd have a big bull's-eye on our heads," Hughes says. Like Em, he thinks moving to satellite radio is about creative control, not just the ability to swear on-air. "Basically," Hughes says, "we'd be able to do a show without looking over our shoulders all the time."

 

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com