New York - Feb 14, 2002 - Sirius Satellite Radio, the satellite radio broadcaster, began the first phase of its national service rollout in four metropolitan markets, Denver, Houston, Phoenix and Jackson, MS. To commemorate the start of its satellite radio service, Sirius broadcast inaugural programming and treated Jackson to a special live concert featuring Randy Travis and a host of country artists.
On the morning of the service kickoff, during the first official Sirius broadcast for consumers, ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson served as the first voice heard on Sirius, ushering in a new era of in-vehicle entertainment. Listeners then heard Al Jarreau, who inspired the new Sirius musical signature, introduce a special musical overture performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. This was followed by a montage of artists and celebrities including Shaggy, Sting, Nelly Furtado, Pink, Nickelback, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Bennett, Travis Tritt, Emmylou Harris, Ray Manzarek Jason Alexander, Nathan Lane, Bill Cosby, Dan Aykroyd, Grandmaster Flash, MC Lyte and others.
The broadcast led into special "first songs" that were heard across Sirius' 60 commercial-free music channels, with many of these being exclusive live performances recorded at the company's New York City studios. Special Valentine's Day shows with celebrity guest DJs, including Darius Rucker, Stereophonics, Sevendust, Brian McKnight, Freddy Jackson, Ann Hampton Callaway, Michael Feinstein, Richard Marx, Dave Koz, Al Jarreau, The Oak Ridge Boys, Leslie West, and legendary rapper, Dana Dane, were also planned throughout the day.
Excerpts from the first day of Sirius programming will be donated to the Museum of Television and Radio's permanent collection and will be available as part of the museum's historic archives.
The launch event in Jackson, MS, included a concert by Randy Travis held at retailer Cowboy Maloney's. The event featured special appearances by Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. and Speaker of the House Tim Ford, live performances by country music superstar Randy Travis, Bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs with acclaimed songwriter Tom T. Hall, country artist Tracy Lawrence, and Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, International Bluegrass Music Association's 2001 "Entertainer of the Year" and "Female Vocalist of the Year."