XM/Sirius merger draws more fire


"Allowing XM and Sirius to merge would create a monopoly in satellite radio that would only encourage unfair, anti-competitive commercial practices and a diminution of service to the public." Those words were signed by representatives of 83 radio and television stations in North Carolina, on behalf of about 250 stations, and went to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and his 8th Floor colleagues.

The NCAB noted that its members compete with one another, which puts a check on rates and underpins quality programming. "Competition enhances our incentive to be more responsive to our listeners and our communities."

NCAB points out that there is more at stake, in their opinion, than government blessings on a satellite audio monopoly. "If the Commission approves this merger," NCAB wrote, "it will only pave the way for the inevitable attempt at merger by the two major satellite television providers. We can think of no structural changes in the broadcast industry that would be more inimical to the public interest."

Noting that the FCC itself created two DARS operators at the birth of the service purposely to guarantee competition, NCAB wrote, "Nothing has changed since 1997 to warrant a reversal by the Commission of that decision."