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XM Adds Regional News/Talk

Washington — XM Satellite Radio announced it will offer six new regional news and talk channels, covering every area of the continental United States.

The news and talk channels will begin airing in late spring or early summer. A seventh regional news station, covering the Cincinnati market, is already available from XM.

All seven of the news/talk channels are provided by Clear Channel Communications which also provides XM with the programming for four music channels.

Satellite radio’s offering of “local” radio programming has been a bone of contention with terrestrial radio broadcasters. The National Association of Broadcasters, however, had no immediate comment on XM’s announcement.

As reported earlier in the month, after arbitration, Clear Channel won the right to offer commercials on the music channels it programs for XM, forcing XM to abandon its claim of 100 percent commercial free music stations.

XM countered by stating it will add 10 new music stations, for a total of 69 commercial-free music stations vs. Sirius’s 68 commercial-free music channels. XM also claims a total of 170 channels compared with Sirius’ 125.