Subaru Owner' SiriusXM Comedy Channels Are Intentionally Censored

2015 Subaru Outback interior 1 photo
Photo: Subaru
A Subaru Outback owner from Portland says the automaker has intentionally censored comedy stations on SiriusXM radios.
Vince Patton, the owner of a 2016 Subaru Outback, claims that he noticed that certain channels on his SiriusXM launcher do not remain selected once the car is stopped and restarted.

Mr. Patton is a paid subscriber to SiriusXM’s service, and he is a big fan of comedy stations, but was disappointed to discover a seemingly intentional bug in the way the Internet radio operates.

As explained above, none of Vince Patton’s 36 preset channels are active once his car is stopped and then restarted.

Instead of his favorite Internet radio stations, Patton hears preset #001 every time he starts his car after listening to comedy stations that may contain mature content.

The #001 preset is the service’s promotional page, filled with preview material for those that have not subscribed to the paid version of SiriusXM.

In the case of other channels, Patton claims that the multimedia unit resumes playback from the station that was being listened when the car was shut off.

Before reaching out to Automotive IT News, Patton contacted Subaru to find out if he is mistaken. A quick discussion with a customer care representative revealed his worst fears were valid - the company did set a default setting to switch back to the default channel once the engine is restarted if the user had listened to content destined for a mature audience.

Subaru has made the setting impossible for a user to change, even though SiriusXM does have parental control options. The parental control feature could prevent a teenager from listening to comedians with mature content in their repertoire, but the automaker preferred to decide for its customers on this matter.

Mr. Patton is furious with the setting, and asked the company to update its software to stop intruding his preferences. The policy is present and explained in the tech tips bulletin of the 2015 Outback fitted with XM Radio. Michael McHale, a spokesperson for Subaru America, explained that he sees the point of the desired override, but he believes that their default setting is the right choice in this case.

McHale emphasized the fact that Subaru is “a family company,” and the default revert-to-promotional channel decision was made to prevent youngsters from coming face-to-face with uncensored versions of Howard Stern or Richard Pryor, found in the content broadcast by those stations.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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