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Sirius, XM Get Canadian Approval

New York — Sirius Satellite Canada and XM’s Canadian partner, Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR), yesterday received approval to transmit their services in Canada, provided at least eight channels are broadcast directly from that country, as well as other stipulations, said the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Specifically, the CRTC approved license applications of Sirius Canada (20-percent owned by Sirius Satellite Radio) and Canadian Satellite Radio to offer subscription radio services by satellite and terrestrial repeaters. It also approved the application of CHUM Limited, a third service to offer subscription radio through terrestrial repeaters.

XM said it is working with its Canadian partner, CSR, to address the content standards outlined by the CRTC. XM also said it expects to broadcast the same content to both the United States and Canada after the changes are made.

Sirius said it plans to explore the conditions of the license in more detail with its business partners, and will be able to comment further “once a thorough analysis of today’s decision has been made,” according to a statement.

Sirius and XM have 150 days to inform the Commission if they will comply with the following requirements:

  • At least eight original channels produced in Canada. A maximum of nine foreign channels may be offered for each Canadian channel;
  • At least 85 percent of the musical selections and spoken-word programming broadcast on the Canadian channels must be Canadian;
  • At least 25 percent of the Canadian channels must be in the French language;
  • At least 25 percent of the musical selections on the Canadian channels must be new Canadian musical selections;
  • A further 25 percent of the selections must be by emerging Canadian artists.

The CRTC also said that the companies must contribute at least 5 percent of their gross annual revenues towards the development of Canadian talent.

The Commission also approved the application of CHUM and its associate, Astral Media Radio, to offer a service comprising 50 channels produced entirely in Canada, of which at least 20 percent will be in the French language. This licensee also intends to offer five channels for the Aboriginal, Chinese, German, Italian and South Asian communities. CHUM/Astral must also contribute 2 percent of its gross annual revenues to initiatives for the development of Canadian talent.