State AGs petition FCC on XM/Sirius


A coalition of state attorneys general, led by Mark Dann of Ohio, have fired off a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and the other four commissioners expressing their dismay with the DOJ approval of the merger of satcasters XM and Sirius. They asked that Martin apply a sterner public interest test than did DOJ.

The AGs said they were disappointed that the DOJ did not put conditions in place to remedy the anticompetitive aspects of allowing the merger to go through. "Given that the FCC looks to a broader public interest standard than does the DOJ in fashioning its decisions in this context, we urge the FCC to address these important issues and give due consideration to the many concerns of the states." They promised to help the FCC arrive at that conclusion.

Joining Ohio’s Mann are AGs from Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Times also weighed in against the ruling. Citing DOJ’s contention that XM/Sirius compete with various different types of media, the newspaper noted that so do those various types of media cited, "…without the privilege of a monopoly." It said the "potential loss of competition in this relatively new medium does not bode well for robust, consumer-friendly programming."