Originally published: July 27, 2008
Last updated: July 28, 2008 - 8:46am
On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission approved -- with conditions -- the merger of the Sirius and XM satellite radio companies. The 3-2 vote will the deal to proceed as long as the companies met a series of consumer protection conditions, including a three-year cap on prices, setting aside 8 percent of their channel capacity for minority and non-commercial programming and payment of a $19.7 million penalty for past FCC rule violations. The companies also will have to make available to consumers radios that receive both Sirius and XM. As part of the order, the FCC also will conduct an inquiry into whether it should require that all satellite radios be built with technology that allows them to also receive high definition terrestrial radio signals. The approval came over the objections of two of the FCC's Commissioners. Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein have warned against allowing further consolidation of ownership of the media, and have said the concessions sought by FCC Chairman Martin were not strong enough to protect consumers and preserve competition. The traditional, terrestrial radio industry opposed the deal and its lobbying arm, the National Association of Broadcasters, released the following statement: "Today's vote certainly comes as a disappointment to NAB. We continue to believe that consumers are best served by competition rather than monopolies."
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