Bob Dylan Joins XM Radio: Music Legend Shines as First-Time Radio Host

Sirius has Howard Stern. Air America has Al Franken. In the battle to lure new listeners away from conventional broadcasting, XM Satellite Radio has joined forces with music legend and voice of a generation, Bob Dylan. His merger with XM Radio is not just a coup in the world of satellite radio, but it is an exhilarating breath of fresh air for Dylan fans everywhere.

Dylan made his radio-host debut on May 3, 2006, with a new, innovative show entitled “Theme Time Radio Hour with your Host, Bob Dylan.” According to XM, the weekly show will feature handpicked music by “Mr. Tambourine Man” himself, as he offers commentary, interviews special guests including other artists, and answers emails from XM subscribers. Each week will have a different theme, and Dylan will play songs appropriate to the subject matter. His first show’s theme was “weather,” during which he spun tunes like “A Place in the Sun,” sung in Italian by the great Stevie Wonder, “The Wind Cries Mary,” by the legendary Jimi Hendrix, and countless others. Future themes for his show will include “whiskey,” “cars,” and “police.”

Dylan, now 64, has been a tastemaker for decades, and has one of the most poetic minds of the 20th century. In the last forty years, he has released over 44 albums. “Songs and music have always inspired me. A lot of my own songs have been played on the radio, but this is the first time I’ve ever been on the other side of the mic,” Dylan said in a statement.

A brilliant songwriter, this new chapter of his career is sure to give us some insight into his enigmatic psyche. Once a fierce recluse, he recently gave his first interview in 19 years on “60 Minutes,” and was the subject of a Martin-Scorsese-directed documentary on PBS. He also had a deal with “Victoria’s Secret,” appearing in and providing music for a TV commercial in 2005, and the chain sold copies of his CD, “Lovesick” in their stores nationwide.

According to Lee Abrams, XM’s chief programmer, Dylan was intrigued by the thought of reaching a national audience, having “total creative freedom,” and the choice to broadcast from wherever he likes. The contract between XM and the Grammy winner was in the works for about two years before an agreement was reached. And while Dylan’s multiyear salary remains on the “QT,” one can bet that it is definitely worth his while. As it turns out, his radio show is also worth ours.

“Theme Time Radio Hour with your Host, Bob Dylan” can be heard every Wednesday at 10am EST on XM Satellite Radio’s “Deep TracksÃ?®,” channel 40. Catch the encores on Deep TracksÃ?® – XM 40 on Fridays at 6pm EST, Sundays at 8am EST, and Mondays at 8pm EST. The Village – XM 15 will also run encores on Thursdays at 12pm EST, Sundays at 12am EST, Mondays at 6pm EST, and Wednesdays at 6am EST.

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