Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said yesterday that he will support a merger between the nation's sole satellite radio operators, XM and Sirius, a decision that could remove the last regulatory hurdle in the lengthy and heavily criticized move to make the companies one. Chairman Martin could circulate an approval for the merger for the other four FCC commissioners to vote on as early as this week after the companies agreed to several commitments intended to prevent the monopoly from raising programming prices and from stifling competition among radio makers. The companies have agreed to: 1) Place price caps on programming and offer a la carte programming so that subscribers could pick programs they want and not have to subscribe to all channels or certain packages. 2) Open their technology standards to any radio-device manufacturer, paving the way for consumers to buy radio transmitters from retail stores. 3) Provide interoperable radios. 4) Set aside 12 channels for noncommercial services such as educational and public safety programming [long live POTUS!]. They would lease another 12 channels for programming run by minorities and women, groups that are underrepresented in entertainment broadcasting. If the merger is approved, it would be a major reversal of FCC rules. The agency distributed licenses to XM and Sirius in 1997 on the condition the two satellite companies never merge.
- Justice Approves XM-Sirius Merger
- House Gets First Crack At XM-Sirius Proposal
- FCC Fines XM, Sirius About $20 Million for Past Violations
- Copps: XM-Sirius Still 'Steep Climb'
- FCC approves Sirius-XM Satellite radio Deal
- Boucher Backs XM-Sirius Satellite-Radio Merger
- FCC Chief Martin open to more terms on XM-Sirius deal
- FCC Chief: XM and Sirius Asking for 'Something Extraordinary'
- Boucher Urges FCC to Approve XM-Sirius Merger
- Wall Street Still Betting on XM-Sirius Merger
- If XM, Sirius Pursue Merger, Hurdles at FCC, Justice Loom
- XM-Sirius Deal Done?
- XM-Sirius and Five Angry Men
- Martin: FCC’s XM-Sirius Review Still on Track for End of March
- XM, Sirius Shareholders Approve Merger