In a statement yesterday, Kevin Martin announced "As I have indicated before, this is an unusual situation.  I am recommending that with the voluntary commitments [Sirius and XM] have offered, on balance, this transaction would be in the public interest."  Martin is expected to call for a vote this week.    While it's not known how the Commissioners will vote it is expected that the two Republicans will line up with Martin and the final step of the merger will be approved.

Martin said he backed the merger after XM/Sirius agreed to some conditions...

1.  Place price caps on programming and offer a la carte programming so listeners can subscribe to only the channels they want..

2.  Open their technology standards up to any radio device manufacturers so subscribers don't have to buy those provided by XM/Sirius.

3.  As they had agreed to do when they first began they will provide radios that will work on both services...within one year of the merger.

4.  Set aside 4% of their radio spectrum or 12 channels for noncommericial services and lease another 12 channels for programming run by minorities and women.

The Washington Post has a further in depth story here..

  1. Bob Hamilton From Dennis Wharton-NAB

    "Given their systematic breaking of virtually every rule set forth by the FCC in their 11 years of existence, it would be curious if the Commission now rewards XM and Sirius with a monopoly," said Wharton.

    Earlier this month, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee related to XM and Sirius's failed promise to the FCC to develop an interoperable radio receiver.

    Additionally, Sirius has admitted requesting manufacturers to produce Sirius radios that operate beyond the interference regulations set by the FCC. In Sirius's annual report (Form 10-K) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year, the company disclosed on page 26 that "certain SIRIUS personnel requested manufacturers to produce SIRIUS radios that were not consistent with the FCC's rules." In April 2007, Bloomberg reported that at least one-third of the 800 antennas used by XM were "placed in unapproved locations or emitted signals that were too strong."

    A 2006 study of 17 wireless devices commonly used to transmit audio signals from satellite radio devices and MP3 players to in-dash car radios showed that 13 of the 17 devices exceeded field strength limits set by the FCC. Six of the noncompliant devices exceeded strength limits by 2,000 percent, and one surpassed strength limits by 20,000 percent. The Associated Press reported in 2006 that such interference resulted in some Christian radio listeners being inundated by Howard Stern programming.

    on 06/16/2008
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