buzzlogobee.JPGBuzz Back is the editorial comment feature of Sirius Buzz. Readers who are interested in submitting an editorial can do so by sending an e-mail via our contact page. All submissions will be considered for publication.

A Colorado Reader Submits:

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO TERRESTRIAL RADIO WHEN THE MERGER IS APPROVED?

What happens to terrestrial when the merger is approved? Terrestrial gets better.

Let’s just assume that the merger of XM and Sirius is approved. Then let’s assume they do become stronger competitors in the audio entertainment sphere and are able to continue attracting more and more subscribers. Does terrestrial go away? Of course it doesn’t. Terrestrial radio stations will be forced to compete with stronger, innovative programming, less commercials, and more rapid deployment of HD radio – all good for consumers. The better terrestrial gets, the more constraint it puts on satellite radio’s ability to raise prices, also good for consumers. See how competition works.

So why is terrestrial radio fighting the merger so vehemently? It’s not because some local radio stations are going to go away, it’s because radio stations are going to provide a lower return on investment. You see, with all the industry consolidation over the last several years, the radio conglomerates spent a ton of money buying up all those local stations we used to love. Without any significant competition, they were able to load the programming with commercials, “de-localize” content, and avoid innovation, thus increasing revenue and reducing costs. It was great for investors, but bad for listeners. But as long as there wasn’t any other place to turn, the listeners continued listening. When satellite radio came along the NAB fought it from the beginning. They weren’t looking out for the public then – they simply didn’t want the competition. Now they are fighting the merger. Not because they are looking out for the good of the public, but because they are looking out for the good of their investors.

Make no mistake about it – this merger will enhance competition. It will be good for consumers. Not just those consumers that choose to pay for satellite radio, but those hoping to find good programming with less commercials on terrestrial radio. Just as the launch of satellite radio forced some of the radio giants to reduce commercial load and experiment with new programming formats to attract listeners, the merger will force terrestrial radio to do even more to get better. It won’t go away – it will get better because of the competition. When the merger is approved, the public wins.

Note to the FCC: Remember it’s your job to look out for the public, not the investors in terrestrial or satellite radio. If you keep that in mind and acknowledge that the merger enhances competition in audio entertainment as it surely does, you will approve the merger.

Position - Long Sirius, Long XM