As a condition to merging, satellite audio services XM and Sirius were to provide programming access to 4% of their merged channel capacity to “eligible entities.” With guidelines for leasing the channels pending, the company now known as Sirius-XM has had the deadline for execution of the plan extended.
The plan was for the merged entity to provide what was in effect 24 channels for minority and non-profit programming services. But determining just how to decide the mechanics of allocating the channels has never been finalized, preventing any action on the matter.
However, the Media Bureau believes that there will be concrete Commission action on this matter in the near future. With that in mind, it has extended the deadline for implementing the plan until 2/24/10.
RBR-TVBR observation: It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It would have been even more interesting if activists and certain legislators had been able to up the ante to 20% of Sirius-XM channel capacity to match the percentage of channels set aside for non-profits on the FM radio dial. Others wanted as much as 50% for that purpose. The satellite companies were able to hold the line at 4%.