Jesse Jackson, head of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, has told FCC Chairman Kevin Martin that he’d be OK with allowing the proposed XM/Sirius merger to go ahead. There is a big if, however — he wants them to cede make enough spectrum available for a 50-70 channel minority competitor to enter the space.
According to Bloomberg News, Jackson is backing the proposal of Georgetown Partners LLC. The minority owned investment firm thinks it can get a service up in space and on the air with leased access to at least 20% of the eventual combined spectrum of a combined XM/Sirius entity. Georgetown is looking to provide a free, advertiser-supported service (as opposed to the XM/Sirius subscription-based model) which would only require that a consumer wishing to listen in acquire the necessary consumer hardware.
According to Bloomberg, XM and Sirius oppose the idea, noting that they already supply diverse programming, a situation that this proposal would undermine.
RBR/TVBR observation: We’re certain that when XM and Sirius drew up their merger plans they did not include making room for a third party. Would approval of the merger with this caveat be better than no approval at all? We’d guess