Many merger watchers seem to feel that the FCC vote on the issue of the merger between Sirius and XM Satellite Radio will follow party lines. If that is the case, Commissioners Copps and Adelstein, the democrats on the five member commission, would be seen as dissenting votes. Interestingly however, the stance that Copps and Adelstein took today in their fight against voting on the media ownership rules relied heavily on the public comments regarding the issue. Copps and Adelstein both stated several times that a big part of their stance against the media ownership proposal was that the public comments were very negative towards further consolidation.
This perhaps brings these commissioners to an interesting dilemma regarding the proposed merger of Sirius and XM. Review of the public comments thus far for the satellite radio merger shows that the public is very much in favor of the merger. The million dollar question is whether Copps and Adelstein will put as much weight in the public comments regarding satellite radio as they did for the media ownership proposal.
Many old school followers of the FCC and mergers have had a tendency to put little weight on consumer comments in processes such as these. In the past that was largely true. Comment dockets were open to the public, but were hardly easily accessible for people to participate. These days, with the emergence of the Internet, consumers can be much more involved than they were in the past, and it should not come as a shock that many people now actually do take the time to participate. No longer can public comments be simply brushed under the carpet. The public is indeed a part of the process, and with regard to the merger of Sirius and XM, the public opinion is strongly in support of the merger.
Position - Long Sirius, XM