After a process that took more than a year and officially set the record for the most ridiculous merger mulling in the history of the United States, the FCC finally approved the XM-Sirius merger by a 3-2 vote down party lines.
And although its treatment of this deal was bad enough over the past year and a half, the final outcome is even worse. It not only solidifies my belief that NAB has the ear of the FCC, but that both organizations are extremely concerned that satellite radio will finally become a major force in radio.
According to reports, "the companies agreed to a three-year cap on prices, set aside 8 percent of their channel capacity for minority and noncommercial programming, and agreed to pay $19.7 million for past FCC rule violations. The companies also agreed to bring interoperable radios to the market within a year."
On top of that, the FCC will embark on a new initiative to explore the possibility of including HD radio functionality into the XM and Sirius radios. That said, it didn't go so far as to make it a requirement just yet.
And while some believe that this deal is a major blow to terrestrial radio, I think that argument is hogwash. The reality of the situation is that XM and Sirius were led around by the nose while the FCC and companies like Clear Channel did everything they could to weaken the two firms.… Read more