FCC Still Haggles Over XM-Sirius
By Amy Schatz
WASHINGTON – Three votes have now been cast in the Federal Communications Commission's review of the XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. merger, but the deal is still no closer to being done.
Democratic FCC commissioner Michael Copps voted against the deal Monday night, an FCC official said. It's the first vote against the deal. Two other commissioners – Chairman Kevin Martin and Robert McDowell – have voted in favor of the merger.
Mr. Copps's decision to nix the merger wasn't a surprise; he's been a vocal opponent of increased media consolidation and the companies weren't holding out much hope of winning his approval.
But the decision now increases pressure on another FCC commissioner – Republican Deborah Taylor Tate – who is the only member of the five-person board who hasn't spoken publicly about how she feels about the deal or what she might want to approve it.
Late last week, another FCC commissioner, Democrat Jonathan Adelstein, laid out what conditions the companies would need to meet in order to get his vote. They include a six-year price cap for existing customers, interoperable radios that would also receive HD signals from terrestrial radio stations and a 25% set aside of channels for non-commercial and minority-owned radio stations.
Although that offer was seen as an opening salvo in an effort to get discussions moving, very little haggling has been going on about Mr. Adelstein's offer, one FCC official said.