- American Mobile Satellite Corp. is founded.
- American Mobile Radio/ XM founder Lon Levin joins American Mobile Satellite Corp.
- December 15: after CD Radio (later becoming Sirius Satellite Radio) successfully petitioned the Federal Communications Commission and Congress to look into creating Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS) in the United States, American Mobile Satellite Corp. spins off a new division known as American Mobile Radio Corp. who would go on and join three other applicants as potential licensees. Later that year, American Mobile brings in WorldSpace as a 20% investor into the new venture with the intention of using their technology.
- Gary Parsons leaves MCI Communications to join American Mobile as its CEO and President.
- May 16: American Mobile Satellite and WorldSpace officially change the name of American Mobile Radio to XM Satellite Radio. Later that month, Lon Levin, who was politically instrumental in the early years of establishing American Mobile Radio, becomes its President until 1998; he would remain on until 2005 in an influential VP role in charge of Government Regulatory.
- October: XM Satellite Radio obtains one of only two satellite digital audio radio service licenses offered by the Federal Communications Commission. Together with CD Radio (SIRIUS), the two beat out Primosphere Limited Partnership and Digital Satellite Broadcasting Corporation as licensees.
- Hugh Panero leaves Request TV as its President and CEO, to join XM Satellite Radio in the same role.
- June: Clear Channel Communications, DirecTV, General Motors, and a private investment group invest US$250 million in XM Satellite Radio convertible debt. Both Clear Channel and DirecTV agree to develop services for XM.
- June 7: with GM's investment in XM, they enter into a 12-year "Distribution Agreement" between XM and GM subsidiary, OnStar Corporation. The agreement calls for exclusive installation of XM Satellite Radio into GM vehicles from November 12, 2001 until November 2013. OnStar must meet specific escalating installation rates each year, while XM must make extensive payments to OnStar for the installation and sale of XM in their vehicles, while sharing revenue earned from these radios with OnStar – as well as payments on the exclusivity agreement.
- July 7, American Mobile Satellite, still XM's parent company, uses approximately US$75 million of the proceeds from the private investment to reacquire the 20% interest WorldSpace holds. In October, XM Satellite Radio issues 10,241,000 shares of Class A common stock at an IPO price of US$12.00 per share. American Mobile Satellite remains the majority holder of the public company.
- April: American Mobile Satellite Corp. changes its name to Motient. In July, American Honda join several private investors in a US$235 million preferred stock investment in the company.
- September 25 (Originally set for September 12 and delayed because of "9/11"): XM Satellite Radio service launches, first in San Diego and Dallas/Fort Worth, and spreads across the United States. The initial lineup includes 71 music channels and 29 other channels consisting of sports, talk, children's programming, entertainment and news. The original launch date of September 12 is pushed back after the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks.
- October: with Motient heading into bankruptcy, they spin off their non-XM satellite division into a joint operation with TMI Communications and Company, L.P., a wholly owned subsidiary of BCE Inc. of Canada; the new venture is known as the Mobile Satellite Ventures.
- November: with Motient in bankruptcy, they sell off their controlling interest in XM to Hughes Electronics, SingTel and Baron Capital Partners. This ends Motient's interest in XM and begins XM's history as a stand-alone company. Hughes Electronics would go on to combine this new interest in with the interest already held by their subsidiary, DirecTV.
- November 12: XM Satellite Radio marks the official launch of full nationwide service.
- December 31: XM Satellite Radio ends the year with 27,733 subscribers.
- September 3: XM Satellite Radio adds Playboy Radio, an adult entertainment premium channel, available for an additional $2.99 per month.
- December 31: XM Satellite Radio ends the year with 347,159 subscribers.
- January: with the launch and rollout taking longer and more costly than expected, the company undergoes a large and complicated re-capitalization plan. The plan involves XM exchanging US$300 million in old debt for new debt, while deferring interest for 3-years on the notes; as well as restructuring the payment obligations on the General Motors installation agreement, issuing a convertible bond to GM, issuing a warrant for shares to GM, and establishing a revolving credit facility with GM; and finally the plan included new funding coming from a placement of over US$300 million in 10% convertible bonds to a group of private investors.
- June: Veteran award-winning radio producer Joe Bevilacqua's radio theater extravaganza, The Comedy-O-Rama Hour, premieres on XM163 Sonic Theater Channel. Celebrity guests include Al Franken, Lewis Black, Shelley Berman, Bob Edwards, Nancy Cartwright and June Foray.
- July: the company has nearly 700,000 subscribers.
- December 31: XM Satellite Radio ends the year with 1,360,228 subscribers.
- January through March: With the sale of Hughes Electronics from General Motors to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., DirecTV's interest in XM Satellite Radio is sold off on the market.
- February 2: XM Radio announces 100% commercial free music lineup.
- March 1: XM Radio launched Instant Traffic and Weather Channels for major metropolitan markets in the United States.
- August 11: XM Radio subscriber base breaks the 2.5 million mark. The company partners with automakers General Motors, Honda, Isuzu, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen, and SAAB to offer in-dash XM receivers on an OEM basis. The Acura TL is the first luxury automobile to offer XM radio as "standard" in every vehicle.
- October 4: "Shock" jocks Opie and Anthony begin broadcasting on a premium ($1.99/month extra) XM Satellite Radio station. Also, former National Public Radio host Bob Edwards broadcasts the first Bob Edwards Show on XM Public Radio, channel 133.
- October 20: XM announces an 11-year, US$650 million deal with Major League Baseball to broadcast games live nationwide and become the Official Satellite Radio provider of Major League Baseball. The agreement grants XM the rights to use the MLB silhouetted batter logo and the collective marks of all major league clubs. As part of the deal, XM creates a 24/7 MLB channel called "Home Plate". The deal starts with the 2005 season and runs through the 2012, with a 3-year option that MLB can pick up.
- October 26: XM presents its first XM2go portable XM receiver: The Delphi MyFi.
- December 31: XM Satellite Radio ends the year with 3,229,124 subscribers.
- January 5: XM introduces two new XM2go models: Pioneer's AirWare and the Tao from Giant International.
- February 28: XM's third satellite, Rhythm, is launched successfully.
- March 3: XM becomes the exclusive satellite partner of the Indy Racing League and Indianapolis 500 (IMS Radio Network)
- April 1: XM announces that it has added 540,000 subscribers in Q1 2005, pushing their total subscriber base to 3.77 million.
- April 11: XM announces that a deal has been reached to be the official satellite radio network of Air America Radio.
- May 16: XM announces that subscribership has topped 4 million. This indicates exponential growth for the company. In five weeks time, they added 230,000 subscribers – almost 50% of the subscribers added during the previous quarter.
- May 28: the Wall Street Journal reports that XM has awarded the contract for the XM 5 spacecraft to Space Systems/Loral.
- June 7: XM partners with Audible.com to offer downloadable audio show archives of The Opie and Anthony Show, as well as The Bob Edwards Show.
- July 1: XM announces it has added more than 640,000 subscribers in Q2 2005, pushing their total subscriber base over 4.4 million.
- August 1: XM announces the addition of popular radio hosts Ron and Fez.
- August 1: XM announces a three-year partnership with the United States Tennis Association to broadcast the US Open tournament through 2007, as well as weekly reports from other US Open Series events.
- September 12: Ron and Fez join Opie and Anthony on High Voltage XM 202.
- September 13: XM announces a 10-year US$100 million deal to carry National Hockey League broadcasts beginning with the 2005–06 season, initially sharing the coverage with SIRIUS but gaining satellite-radio exclusivity from 2007 onward.
- September 27: XM announces it has surpassed 5 million subscribers.
- October 3: XM announces that they have added more than 617,000 new net subscribers during Q3 2005.
- October 3: XM Satellite Radio launches channel "Take 5" (XM 155). The channel is geared toward Women's Programming and features replays of 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show', The Tyra Banks Show, syndicated and original programming, as well as programming from the Food Network and HGTV. Additionally, XM Radio drops two of its Talk and Entertainment channels: MTV and VH1. XM adds 617,000 subscribers in Q3 2005, pushing the total subscriber base to over 5.03 million.
- October 18: XM announces it will begin carrying Fox News Talk in January 2006.
- November 15: DirecTV begins broadcasting 72 channels as part of their audio programming. This includes music channels, "Home Plate" (XM 175), and "High Voltage" (XM 202) but no news or sports channels.
- November 17:, XM launches their new Fall lineup of channels: "unSigned", "Air Musique", "Sur La Route", "Laugh Attack", "Canada 360", "Quoi de Neuf", "Franc Parler", and "Home Ice".
- November 29: XM launches service in Canada.
- December 29: XM and VoiceBox Technologies join forces to provide conversational voice-driven XM experience to auto market.
- December 31: XM Satellite Radio ends the year with 5,932,957 subscribers.
- January 2: XM begins broadcasting Fox News Talk as the channel launches. The channel includes commentators Bill O'Reilly, Tony Snow, John Gibson, and Alan Colmes.
- January 4: XM announces it has surpassed 6 million subscribers.
- January 9: XM wins top honors at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for their two new portable units that offer live programming on-the-go. The new radios are the XM Pioneer Inno and Samsung Helix. They expect to be released during the end of March or beginning of April.
- February 9: XM announces they have signed a US$55 million three-year deal with Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions. A new channel called "Oprah and Friends" will launch in September, which will be programmed by Winfrey and originate in the Harpo Studios in Chicago. The channel will feature programs hosted by a team of personalities who appear on her television show including Gayle King, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Marianne Williamson, Dr. Robin Smith, Bob Greene and Nate Berkus. As part of the agreement, Oprah will appear in a weekly 30-minute program along with friend Gayle King. The program will air 39-weeks a year and feature taped phone conversations between Winfrey and King.
- March 1: XM launches channels "49 Big Tracks", "84 XM Chill", and "173 WLW" giving them 69 commercial free music channels, with the addition of WLW, a news talk channel.
- March 10: XM announces that the music stations programmed by Clear Channel ("21 Kiss XM", "22 Mix XM", "11 XM Nashville", and "24 XM Sunny") will begin airing some commercials beginning in April. This was a decision made by Clear Channel. In response, XM promises to add its own commercial-free versions of these channels in the near future.
- April 17: XM Launches 8 new Commercial Free Music Channels. The channels are, "XM 17 – U.S. Country" (commercial-free alternative to "Nashville"), "XM 26 – Flight 26" (commercial-free alternative to "MIX"), "XM 30 – XM Hitlist" (commercial-free alternative to "KISS"), "XM 34 – enLighten", "XM 42 – XM Liquid Metal" (brought back to the satellites after being an online-exclusive for over a year), "XM 68 – The Heat"(Formally "The Eye"), "XM 78 – Escape" (commercial-free alternative to "Sunny") and "XM 91 – Viva." On the same date, DirecTV changed its channel lineup to focus in on XM's commercial-free music too, which resulted in the removal of two XM talk channels, the addition of 4 new music channels and the replacement of the four Clear Channel programmed music channels that began airing commercials. Removed from DirecTV were XM's MLB channel "Home Plate" (DTV Channel 878) and "High Voltage" (DTV Channel 879). Added were "The Heat" (Formally "The Eye") (DTV Channel 825), "enLighten" (DTV Channel 828), "The Torch" (DTV Channel 829), "Liquid Metal" (DTV Channel 841) and "Viva" (DTV Channel 876). Replaced were "Nashville" (DTV Channel 809), "Kiss" (DTV Channel 817), "Mix" (DTV Channel 818), and "Sunny" (DTV Channel 820); DirecTV replaced those channels with the aforementioned new commercial-free versions programmed directly by XM, "U.S. Country," "XM Hitlist," "Flight 26," and "Escape", respectively. Also, XM Changed Names For Some Of Its Stations, XM 68 "the Eye" Became "The Heat", XM 32 "The Fish" Became "The Message" And XM 90 "Allegra" Became "Fuego".
- April 22: Thanks to the fans of the Opie and Anthony show (The O&A Pests) DirectTV adds XM 202 "High Voltage" (Dtv Channel 879) back to the channel lineup
- April 24: XM Satellite Radio officially announces the long rumored deal that Opie and Anthony would be syndicated back to terrestrial radio through CBS Radio. Joel Hollander, current showrunner at CBS Radio, was there for the announcement as was XM programming VP Eric Logan.
- April 26: Opie and Anthony's reformatted show debuts on 7 CBS Radio affiliates: New York City's WFNY-FM, Cleveland's WXRK (tape delayed, 3–6 PM), Boston's WBCN, West Palm Beach's WPBZ, Philadelphia's WYSP, Dallas' KLLI (now KRLD-FM), and Pittsburgh's WRKZ. Their show has been segmented so that 6 am – 9 AM is broadcast on both XM and CBS, and 9 am – 11 AM is XM exclusive.
- July 24: Nate Davis, formerly of XO Communications, was made the president and chief operating officer.
- August 15: XM begins playing chronologically every song to ever make the pop charts. This is expected to last well over a month. This playback is called "IT" The music is played on each decade channel. The music from the 1940s is played on the 40's on 4, then starting with music from January 1950 the music is played on the 50's on 5, and so on.
- Around August 26: XM Flight 26 is pulled from AOL Radio on the Mac platform. No explanation as to why this occurred, yet AOL Radio's homepage lists it in the Top 11 (despite the stream not appearing in the AOL program, which lists ten streams under "Top 11" instead of eleven).
- September 3: MSNBC – XM 130 is dropped from the XM news channel lineup. No explanation is given by XM, who made the decision to discontinue the news channel's feed.
- September 6: XM announces a Pink version of the Pioneer Inno, available exclusively at Circuit City (at first). US$30 from each unit sold goes to support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's fight against breast cancer.
- September 25: "Oprah and Friends" radio officially launched on XM channel 156.
- October 30: The XM-4 "Blues" satellite was launched atop a Zenit 3SL rocket.
- December 15: XM Radio Hanukkah goes on the air. The first of its kind channel features contemporary and traditional Jewish music, along with comedy, and children's programming. The original programming includes the participation of notable Jews, like Barenaked Ladies, Matisyahu, Al Franken, Kinky Friedman, Neil Sedaka, Dr. Ruth and Larry Miller.
- December 18: XM announces they began broadcasting through XM-4 "Blues" on Friday, bringing the active satellites to XM-3 "Rhythm" and XM-4 "Blues" with original satellites XM-1 "Rock" and XM-2 "Roll" as in-orbit spares for the near-term.
- January 18: The Federal Communications Commission rules that licensing regulations would prohibit a possible merger of XM and rival Sirius Satellite Radio. Recent remarks by top officials within both companies have hinted at a possible move to join forces to stave off billion-dollar losses associated with increased competition between the two services.
- February 13: XM sells the transponders on XM-4 to Wells Fargo Bank in a leaseback agreement. This amounts to taking out a mortgage on the transponders; while the bank will own them, XM actually uses them and has the right to buy them back at any time. At the end of the lease period, XM will also have the option to buy them back.
- February 19: XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio announce they will merge, creating a satellite radio giant. See XM/Sirius merger.
- April 26: XM announces 1Q07 results, as well as surpassing eight million subscribers. The company also claims that they have an additional US$319 million in positive cashflow, giving them total available liquidity of US$719 million.
- May 15: XM suspends talk show hosts Opie & Anthony for 30 days over comments made on their program by a homeless man called "Homeless Charlie" on the previous day.
- May 21 – May 22: XM experiences an outage that deprives many subscribers of service for almost twenty-four hours. The outage affected the satellite XM-3 ("Rhythm", or "SAT1" on receivers) along with terrestrial repeaters. XM blames the situation on a "software glitch".
- July 24: XM announces that CEO Hugh Panero will leave the company in August, with current President and COO Nate Davis stepping in to serve as President and interim CEO.
- August 1: XM launches XM-X, featuring rebroadcasts of many XM-exclusive shows, on XM 2. The first day's programming consists of episodes of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour.
- August 5: XM upgrades its Neural Audio processing mechanism to improve sound quality across its music channel selection.
- November 8: XM launches XM59 – XM LED – The Led Zeppelin Channel.
- March 7: XM Discontinues the XM LED channel. (According to the channel's website, it is taking a break for the summer)
- March 24: The United States Department of Justice declines to block the merger of XM and Sirius Satellite Radio after thirteen months of review.
- July 25: The FCC approves the XM-Sirius merger.
- August 16: Xm channel 51 "Mandatory Metallica" launches. The channel will be available from August 16 through September 30. The channel will play music from the entire Metallica catalog, including rare live recordings from the band's personal concert archives, extensive interviews with the band and more.
- October 13 & 14: Layoffs of XM on-air personnel are leaked on the internet. The initial names released include DJ's from all DJ'd decades channels, along with Deep Tracks, XMU, Ethel and Lucy.
- October 20: News that National Basketball Association broadcasts have been switched from Sirius to XM leaks on the internet. NBA broadcasts will now be heard on XM Channels 213–220, and are also said to be available to Sirius subscribers through the 'Best of XM' package, for Sirius receivers capable of receiving XM programming.
- October 27: According to the MySpace blog of "Beyond Jazz" host Michelle Sammartino, "Beyond Jazz", the modern jazz channel, will leave the air on November 14. "Beyond Jazz" personality Michelle Sammartino, host of "Jammin Jazz" was laid off on October 5. Russ Davis, program director of "Beyond Jazz" will be laid off on November 14.
- November 12: XM implements new channel lineup consisting of converged XM and Sirius programming.
- February 11: XM prepares to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. SIRI has a $1 Billion debt obligation in 2009 and $175 Million immediate obligation due February 17, 2009.
- March 9: WXRK drops Opie & Anthony from their programming schedule ending their run on terrestrial radio. Opie & Anthony now heard only on satellite radio.