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Culture

Sirius satellite radio gets seriously Dish-y

The radio service gets a leg up with a deal to distribute it over the popular Dish Network satellite TV system.

The Sirius Satellite Radio service will get a significant bump in distribution on Thursday, when it officially takes up a new slot on the popular Dish Network.

According to an advertisement already running on the Dish Network Web site, subscribers to the satellite TV system will get access to 61 commercial-free radio stations. Some customers have already reported tapping into the service.

The relationship could provide a significant boost to Sirius, which--like rival service XM Satellite Radio--has occasionally found it a difficult task to persuade consumers to spend $150 or more on new satellite receiver hardware for their automobiles, and then pay the monthly $12.95 for the radio subscription.

To date, Sirius has attracted about 400,000 subscribers. The Dish Network, which is owned by EchoStar Communications, has about 9.7 million. Roughly 85 percent of those customers will now have access to the Sirius music channels without paying any additional fee, a Sirius representative said.

The satellite radio company sees the new relationship as a way to expose those millions of people to its service for the first time, with an eye toward ultimately persuading them to purchase the full service for their cars or other radio-listening venues, the representative said.

Sirius has made several strides in recent months, such as landing a deal that will allow it to broadcast NFL games over its satellite network.

The service nevertheless trails rival XM Satellite Radio, which reported that it had more than 1.6 million subscribers by the end of March.