Start the clock. You now have eight trading days to position yourself on either side of Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI). The satellite radio giant announced that it will be hosting its first-quarter conference call -- and releasing its financials -- a week from Thursday.

The morning release and analyst call promise to be enlightening, especially since the company abandoned its practice of providing quarterly and annual subscriber targets earlier this year.

This leaves a few important questions that shareholders and industry watchers will likely have answered come May 7.

  • Did Sirius XM gain or lose net subscribers during the quarter?
  • How much higher will the interest expense be now that Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LCAPA) has completed its costly lifeline?
  • Is the long-awaited Web-streaming program for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store still on track for its release during the current quarter?

The first question isn't trivial. Sirius XM closed out the fourth quarter with 82,945 more subscribers than it started with, and that was during the seasonally spiked holiday period. Many of its distribution partners have faltered in 2009. Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) continue to sell fewer cars. Circuit City liquidated. A rate increase on secondary receivers and a penny-pinching recession will likely eat into retention rates. Don't be surprised if the company posts its first sequential decline in subscribers next week.

Liberty Media beat out EchoStar (NASDAQ:SATS) to bail out Sirius XM, but the assistance comes with chunky 15% interest. The current quarter will be more indicative of the actual debt interest that Sirius XM will expect to shell out in the coming quarters, but the incomplete first quarter -- since Liberty didn't step into the picture until mid-February -- is still important.

As for the App Store program, some will argue that it's immaterial. There are plenty of free Web radio apps for the device, so how likely are iPhone owners to pay up for Sirius XM? Well, it may be a juicier number than you think, given the vetted market of iPhone users. Customers are already paying heavy monthly usage fees -- including $30 for the Web-access data plan alone --  to the point where paying an extra $13 for Sirius or XM programming may seem feasible.

Next Thursday has the potential to deliver heaping portions of both good and bad news. Since the stock has run so high since bottoming out in February -- though clearly trading well below where it was a year ago -- the company's quarterly report should move the stock one way or the other.

Yes, start the clock.

Other Foolishness:

Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is such a fan of satellite radio that he subscribes to both Sirius and XM. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.