WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- XM Satellite Radio today announced that XM and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will introduce a national radio series called "The Big Read," named after the NEA's national reading program, which celebrates great books and their place in American life.
Every weekday, the show will air audio recordings of classic novels in 30-minute installments, plus NEA-produced programs about each book, featuring interviews, commentary, and readings by actors, authors and other celebrated personalities: Mary Louise Parker, Robert Duvall, Colin Powell, Sandra Day O'Connor, Garrison Keillor, Cheech Marin, Alice Walker, Edward Albee, Amy Tan, Tony Hillerman, and many others.
"The Big Read" will premiere nationwide September 10 on Sonic Theater (XM Channel 163), the channel dedicated to books and contemporary drama. The first book in the series will be Ray Bradbury's science-fiction novella Fahrenheit 451. Content for the series will be produced by XM, the NEA, and Audible, the leading digital provider of audio books and other spoken-word entertainment.
The NEA first launched The Big Read in 2006 as a national initiative to encourage communities to come together to read and discuss one book. Local organizations receive grants to host community-based programs devoted to a single book, such as The Great Gatsby. More information about the NEA's Big Read initiative is available online at http://www.neabigread.org/ .
The radio show seeks to build on the success of the NEA's reading program and expand it to a national radio audience. XM has more than 8.2 million subscribers nationwide.
"The Big Read initiative is making a profound difference in communities across the country, encouraging people to embrace the pleasure of books," said Josephine Reed, program director for Sonic Theater. "This new radio show fulfills a long-held goal of mine: to bring different communities across the country together to listen to, think about, and discuss literature. I'm thrilled to be working with NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, as well as our partners at Audible, to bring these great books to XM listeners nationwide."
At the end of each novel, Reed will host a discussion about the book with authors, teachers, and other book lovers.
"The launch of the Big Read on XM Satellite Radio is a major literary event. Creating a daily, national, drive-time show devoted to presenting and discussing great American novels is just what we need to revitalize reading in America," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "This is the perfect marriage of technology and literature to increase the appeal of both. Our partnership with XM Satellite Radio has helped make the largest literary program in American history even bigger."
Each new installment of the "Big Read" radio show on XM will air three times a day, Monday through Friday, on Sonic Theater at 2:30 am, 10:30 am, and 4:30 pm (all times ET) starting September 10 with Fahrenheit 451.
Future installments of the "Big Read" radio show will be devoted to Willa Cather's My Antonia, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
More information about "The Big Read" radio show on Sonic Theater is available online at http://www.xmradio.com/onxm/channelpage.xmc?ch=163
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XM (NASDAQ: XMSR) is America's number one satellite radio company with more than 8.2 million subscribers. Broadcasting live daily from studios in Washington, DC, New York City, Chicago, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Toronto and Montreal, XM's 2007 lineup includes more than 170 digital channels of choice from coast to coast: commercial-free music, premier sports, news, talk radio, comedy, children's and entertainment programming; and the most advanced traffic and weather information.
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About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts-both new and established-bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit http://www.arts.gov/ .
About Audible, Inc.
Audible ( http://www.audible.com/ ) is the leader in spoken audio information and entertainment on the Internet. Content from Audible is downloaded and played back on personal computers, CDs, or AudibleReady computer-based and wireless mobile devices. Audible has 140,000 hours of audio programs from more than 470 content partners that include leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Audible is the preeminent provider of spoken- word audio products for Apple's iTunes Store. Among Audible's key business relationships are Apple, Inc., Amazon.com, Palm, Inc., Creative Labs Inc., SanDisk, and XM Satellite Radio. Audible has approximately 170 employees with headquarters in Newark, NJ, and an office in London, England. Audible, audible.com, AudibleListener, and AudibleReady are registered trademarks of Audible, Inc. and all are part of the family of Audible, Inc. trademarks. Other product or service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.
Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements in this press release include demand for XM Satellite Radio's service, the Company's dependence on technology and third party vendors, its potential need for additional financing, as well as other risks described in XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.'s Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on 3-1-07. Copies of the filing are available upon request from XM Radio's Investor Relations Department.Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070313/XMLOGO
SOURCE: XM Satellite Radio
CONTACT: David Butler of XM Satellite Radio, +1-202-380-4317,