NAB calls timeout on XM/Sirius


The National Association of Broadcasters has made no secret of its opposition to the proposed merger of XM and Sirius satellite radio outfits. One of the points about the companies it has been trying to hammer home is their frequent skirting of FCC rules. The FCC has requested documents under the Freedom of Information Act, which it is still waiting for, and it wants time after it gets them for serious review. "Specifically, NAB requests that the Commission formally toll its 180-day ‘timeclock’ until NAB has a reasonable opportunity to review and supplement the record with certain documents relating to the serious apparent wrongdoing by XM and Sirius ‘executive and senior-level employees’ regarding the operation of FM modulators/transmitters and/or terrestrial repeaters," read the nine-page filing. "[T]here is a compelling public interest in having these documents considered and evaluated in the context of the merger proceeding." NAB also noted Sirius’ admission that "certain Sirius personnel requested manufacturers to produce SIRIUS radios that were not consistent with the FCC’s rules."

Sirius responded that "NAB’s allegations are unfounded. NAB EVP Dennis Wharton replied, "There is nothing ‘unfounded’ about NAB’s so-called ‘allegations.’ XM and Sirius have disclosed in public documents that they knowingly and willfully violated interference and terrestrial repeater rules. The central question now is whether XM and Sirius are rewarded for this demonstrable lack of candor with tough penalties or a government-sanctioned monopoly."

NAB noted that only four federal legislators have expressed support for the merger, compared to 82 who oppose it.