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XM/Sirius Merger Backed By Consumer Groups

Minneapolis — The League of Rural Voters is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve the merger between XM and Sirius claiming the combined company would offer rural areas more programming options at lower prices.

The League claims consolidation in the radio industry has left much of rural America without locally owned stations as these have been replaced with corporate conglomerates “producing homogenized content,” said a press statement.

Earlier in the month, The Latino Coalition also urged the FCC to approve a Sirius/XM merger claiming that the Latino market has been ignored by traditional radio company. It said a merged company would offer more programming opportunities for Hispanic Americans.

In opposition to the merger are the National Assn. of Broadcasters and Senator Herb Kohl, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Antirust, competition policy and consumer rights.

As noted in a recent column in The Street, it has been 70 days since XM and Sirius filed a merger application with the FCC, but that agency still has not started its typical 180-day review period. The Street called the delay one of the longest in FCC history.

An FCC spokesman told TWICE it would not comment on “pending deliberations.” He noted that the FCC typically waits to start the 180-day review process until “everything is in order with the application” and then “it’s put out for public notice” and comment which typically takes 180-days.