E-Commerce Times Talkback
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The two giants of satellite radio are about to become one. The FCC has approved the merger of XM and Sirius, ending a year-and-a-half struggle to finalize the deal. The move will give the newly combined company unprecedented power in the world of satellite communications; however, it will come with some strict conditions as well. The merger, approved by a three to two vote Friday night, is designed to offer customers "greater flexibility and choices" at lower prices, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said.
I see two down sides to what has transpired:
(1) The obvious monopoly created for national subscription radio service.
(2) The misguided attempt by the FCC to mitigate this concern by getting into the realm of content regulation by insisting on "public interest channels". This will inevitably lead to occasional scrutiny of content in order to ensure compliance - a slippery slope for satellite radio. In addition, this mandate will use up valuable limited bandwidth. (As it is whenever the holiday music season arrives, XM has to take other stations off the air or reduce their operating hours in order to free up bandwidth for Jingle Bell Rock.)