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Is Sir Elton XM's 'Answer in the Sky'?

The satellite radio purveyor seeks some glitz from the pop pianist for its new handheld device. Photo: XM portable satellite radio

A song called "Rocket Man" helped launch the career of Elton John, and now the pop superstar is setting out to ignite gadget sales for XM Satellite Radio.

XM has drafted the singer for a TV ad campaign to promote its handheld radio, Delphi MyFi. The TV spot will begin to appear on national channels Nov. 15, a week after the release of Sir Elton's latest album, "Peachtree Road" on Tuesday. XM will feature the album through its service beginning Monday.

The ad features the single "Answer in the Sky" from the album. "We think XM is the 'answer (in the) the sky' for millions of people who love our service, so it's a terrific match," said Hugh Panero, XM's president and CEO.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Developed jointly with Delphi, a maker of automotive parts and consumer electronics devices, the portable radio uses flash memory to let listeners pause and record more than five hours of programming. It is priced at $350 and is expected to be available in early December at Best Buy and Circuit City, and at online stores.

XM, which has a subscriber base of about 2.5 million, wants to use the Delphi MyFi to move beyond its traditional audience of automobile owners. The company is in competition with the smaller Sirius Satellite Radio, which last month signed a blockbuster $500 million deal with radio shock jock Howard Stern.

Two weeks after the signing of Stern, XM announced its own $650 million deal to broadcast Major League Baseball games.