WASHINGTON - The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said he will propose that the agency conditionally approve Sirius Satellite Radio Inc's purchase of rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc .

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in a statement he would support the proposed merger since XM and Sirius had agreed to a list of conditions. According to FCC sources, the proposal could come as early as this week, and the companies have agreed to make 24 radio channels available for noncommercial and minority programs.

Approval of the deal would require the support of at least two of the agency's other four commissioners.