The Wall Street Journal says that residents of its famous financial boulevard are becoming more and more inclined to believe that the once-doubtful wedding of DARS services XM and Sirius may actually come to pass. The DOJ is expected to weigh in on the matter soon, with the FCC to follow. According to WSJ, XM/Sirius have overcome natural objections through a campaign to redefine the competitive landscape, pitting the services against a wide variety of audio delivery regimes rather than solely one against the other — an argument aided and abetted by this year’s court decision in favor of a merger between organic grocery firms Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets. Meanwhile, they’ve fed the a la carte desires of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin by offering various tiered packages and others which allow limited subscriber channel selection options.
Opposition to the merger remains in place, however. Regulatory answers should be out soon.
Meanwhile, minority-owned Georgetown Partners is requesting access to at least 20% of the merged party’s capacity to provide continuing competition and diversity. They say that XM/Sirius is misrepresenting the record of support and opposition to the merger in FCC filings, and that the proponents fail to address the fact that nobody has opposed Georgetown’s solution to fundamental flaws in the merger proposal.
Georgetown says another big consideration is that it can be counted on to provide family-oriented programming, which Sirius puts at risk "…in light of Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin’s long track record of promoting programming considered by the FCC to be indecent and his championing of Howard Stern."