Martin tips off FCC June agenda


In keeping with his new ultra-bright sunshine policy, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has pointed his flashlight on the June 12, 2008 FCC Open Meeting about three weeks in advance, tripling the normal warning we’ve been used to receiving. For broadcasters, there is not much to anticipate, however. The lone item of interest is this: “DTV: An Order on Clarification with respect to Petitions for Reconsideration of Clarification of the Third Periodic Review of the Commission’s Rules and Policies Affecting the Conversion to Digital Television.” The rest is all about phones, the Do Not Call Registry and other unrelated stuff.

RBR/TVBR observation: The current 800 pound gorilla hanging out in the hallway of the 8th Floor at the Portals is the XM/Sirius merger. It takes but a single-digit total of seconds to notice that the issue is not on the agenda for 6/12/08, despite the consistent call from a notable Fool (a Motley one) to decide in favor, and yesterday, if not many many months ago. Many, including us, numerous legislators, industry organizations, state attorneys general and consumer groups, disagree.

Martin told reporters last week that there was a good chance the commissioners would weigh in on the issue before the second quarter is over. That means by 6/30/08. We hope they read their own ground rules – that such a merger was prohibited at birth. And we remain stunned at the apparent lack or reading ability over there at the DOJ, as well as their apparent belief that one company in a sector is all you need for “competition.”