Jexx, you may be right about that. XM already has a few of their channels running commercials. However, my theory on that is that it may, at some point, offer free commercial channels while continuing to charge a subscription fee for commercial free channels. They would sell more radios and perhaps entice more people to subscribe to the premium services. Either way, I think both forms of radio will co-exist for quite some time.
As I said on an earlier post, satellite radio has a few channels with commercials while most of them are commercial free. I still think, at some point, that you will be able to receive free satellite channels without paying a subscription fee.
Apparently Jeremy Zawodny either has bad hearing or he lives across the street from an FM transmitter. When I listen to FM stereo radio, I hear background noise most of the time. It is most noticeable in my home stereo. My car FM radio has circuitry that narrows the stereo image, thus making it sound less like stereo. The fact is, FM stereo has a coverage area of about half that of FM mono (when you switch to mono the noise goes away or is less noticeable). HD Radio, being digital, will eliminate that problem along with the need for dynamic range suppression which is used by FM broadcasters to help reduce the aforementioned noise.
Just like the switch to digital television, we will all eventually need to buy new equipment to hear radio as the FCC has long range plans to eliminate analog broadcast radio so that those frequencies may be re-allocated for other applications. I don't think it is going to happen very soon, but it IS going to happen.