Senators want conditions on XM/Sirius


Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) have collaborated on a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin urging that the pending merger of satellite audio services XM and Sirius be laden with serious conditions, if it’s approved at all. That’s because they feel it “…could possibly undermine competition and harm the consumer…”

They said the services are unique and a boon to consumers, but turning two into one will weaken consumer choice. They acknowledge that over-the-air AM and FM radio provide a certain amount of competition but argue that in the end they are no substitute for satellite. They suggest that the merged entity should be required to divest up to half of its satellite spectrum; that receiver manufacturing is open to any who wish to enter the field; and that no local content of any kind is permitted on the merged entity, to assure that local over-the-air broadcasters retain the ability to provide this vital service.

RBR/TVBR observation: Mel Karmazin recently said that there are limits to how many conditions they’ll accept. If adopted, this trio of requests sounds like a deal-breaker to us.