Likely those that follow the merger between Sirius and XM are wondering what would possess the Attorney General of Wisconsin to come out of the blue against the merger. Does Van Hollen have ties to terrestrial radio? well, the answer to that is YES, at least indirectly.
According to Van Hollens website, in 1993 Governor Tommy Thompson appointed Van Hollen to the position of District Attorney in Ashland County. Nearly six years later, Van Hollen resigned to pursue other professional interests, but was called to service again when Governor Thompson appointed him to serve as Bayfield County District Attorney. Van Hollen was later elected to the position, enjoying bi-partisan support as the county's only elected Republican.
It would appear that it was governor Tommy Thompson that launched Van Hollen's career, and the two were closely enough tied that Thompson appointed Van Hollen a second time. Okay, Van Hollen has something to be thankful for with regards to Tommy Thompson. What does that have to do with terrestrial radio? Well, fast forward a few years, and you will see that Tommy Thompson is now in the radio business with Armada Media Corporation.
Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson's radio venture Aramada Media Corporation has struck again, entering the ranks of radio grouphood (at least on an announced basis). It is picking up seven stations in the northern reaches of the Midwest from David Winters' Quicksilver Broadcasting for 8.5 dollars. Coming in the deal are WJMS-AM/WIMI-FM in Ironwood MI, in the extreme northwest corner of the state's Upper Peninsula not far from Lake Superior. Also coming, at the extreme southwest corner of the Upper Peninsula, just off Green Bay which is just off Lake Michigan, will be WAGN-AM/WHYB-FM in Menomonie. And the deal will also include three stations just across the border and into Wisconsin, WMAM-AM/WLST-FM Marinette and WSFQ-FM Peshtigo. According to W. Donald Roberts Jr. of Kozacko Media Services, who brokered the deal, the Ironwood cluster combines a Country/Talk AM with a Hot AC FM. The five station cluster on the other side of the peninsula features sports and Standards on the AM side, along with Hot AC, Country and Oldies on the FM. Armada earlier paid 9.25M for a six-station cluster in and around Aberdeen SD. So far, its acquisitions have not taken the group into Arbitron-rated territory.
We have all heard the term "Six Degrees of Separation", but it seems with this merger, anyone who opposes it has ties to radio that only get out to two degrees of separation.
So, is Van Hollen returning a favor? I can not say one way or the other, but would suggest that readers feel free to do some more digging.
Position - Long Sirius, Long XM