Sirius, Eminem wrap deal for rap channel

Iovine, Rosenberg will serve as co-exec producers

Continuing its strategy of putting marquee names into its programming lineup, Sirius Satellite Radio has announced a partnership with rap artist Eminem’s Shady Records and Interscope Records to create a hip-hop music and lifestyle channel.

The nation’s No. 2 satellite radio provider, behind market leader XM, will provide the channel as part of its regular service. Eminem, Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine and Shady Records VP and Eminem manager Paul Rosenberg will serve as co-exec producers of the channel, skedded to bow this fall.

“Once upon a time not too long ago, the feds wanted all my music off the air,” Eminem said. “Now we’ll be on Sirius 24 hours a day … freely saying whatever the hell we want.”

By law, the Federal Communications Commission has much less control over the content of satellite radio than it does of terrestrial broadcasters.

Radio personalities such as Howard Stern, who have been heavily fined for indecent material by the FCC, have suggested they may take their acts to satellite to skirt the FCC’s scrutiny. Sirius is attempting to differentiate itself from larger rival XM by bringing known names and high-concept original programming to its lineup. It recently launched “The Wiseguy Show” with “Sopranos” stars Steven Van Zandt and Vincent Pastore. Shock jock Stern is also believed to be discussing moving his show to Sirius.

Sirius has about half a million subscribers compared with XM’s more than 2 million.

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