Friday, July 18, 2008

Sirius/XM Merger Update

... So, this merger is dragging on.

It seems that now the Federal Communication Commission member Jonathan Adelstein (Dem) may end up being the deciding vote in the matter.

He has put together another hoop for the two Satellite Radio companies to jump through.

Satellite radio saga takes unexpected turn

WASHINGTON (AP) - During his tenure at the Federal Communications Commission, Jonathan Adelstein has been a fierce critic of government policies that allow big media companies to get bigger. So it came as a surprise when the Democratic commissioner put forth a proposal that would allow the nation's only two satellite radio companies to merge.

Adelstein, the potential deciding vote, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he would support Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. (SIRI)'s $3.1 billion buyout of XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (XMSR) if the companies agree to a six-year price cap and make one-quarter of their satellite capacity available for public interest and minority programming, plus other conditions.
It may be that the commissioner, a seasoned political operator who spent 15 years as a Senate staffer, recognized a limited window of opportunity.


... you gotta read the whole article, but here's a key piece of it.

Adelstein is seeking 25 percent of the companies' satellite capacity for public interest programming - 10 percent for noncommercial programming and 15 percent for minority programming. That potentially would work out to about 75 channels.

... and he wants this to be guaranteed for the next 6 years. What does this mean (at least to me)?
Mr. Adelstein is trying to make sure that there is control over what you and I hear and don't hear.

What the heck is 15 percent minority programming and 10 percent for noncommercial programming. Don't we already have non-commercial radio on satellite?

To me this is code words for more Air America type of radio. I don't know about you but I originally got satellite radio because it was commercial free and there are plenty of channels to satisfy the majority of music connoisseur and whatever political boat you want to sail in. We don't need Mr. Adestein to control this with his additional 'watch-dog' group either

Adelstein also wants to set up an enforcement regime to make sure the companies adhere to the conditions, something that was not outlined in the previous voluntary offer.

what a mess...

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