"We're always aggressively looking for content, and we knew [The Who] has a new album and a tour," says Gregg Steele, Sirius senior director of music programming. "Everybody gets something good out of it. The band gets exposure, and we get unique content to share with our listeners."
Pegged for an as-yet undetermined limited-run, along the lines of Springsteen's three-month E-Street Radio, The Who channel will feature five decades of music by the British four-piece, once best known for the youth anthem "My Generation" and the rock opera "Tommy." Today, it's more familiar to media consumers as the house band behind the theme songs of the "CSI" franchise.
The channel launches five weeks prior to the release of The Who's first album of new music in 24 years, "Endless Wire," but will include tracks from the CD on its first playlist. The channel will also feature broadcasts from the band's live tour, which launched in Philadelphia last week. A spokeswoman for Sirius says negotiations to broadcast the shows live as they happen are continuing, and appear to be likely.
In addition to the current tour, the Sirius channel will also broadcast selected shows from the group's archives, as well as rare tracks, exclusive interviews, and selected songs from various solo works released by the band's members.
In a statement that conjured up memories of the band's 1967 album "The Who Sell Out," a satire on advertising and over-commercialization, the band's guitarist and lead songwriter Pete Townshend said: "This is the most exciting thing I can imagine--our own radio channel, straight to our fans. I'm completely revved about this. Who's serious about SIRIUS? You bet."