The term "High Hurdle" has been used on many occasions by commissioners at the FCC during the proposed merger of Sirius and XM. In fact, it could be classified as a BUZZWORD at the agency. Now, two FCC commissioners, Copps and Adelstein (Democrats), seem to indicate that the "High Hurdles" that are often spoken of at the FCC are not really that high.
Now before merger proponents jump up in celebration, the "High Hurdles" that Copps and Adelstein refer to are in reference to the new Media Ownership Order. The two Commissioners state that they were left in the dark regarding certain aspects of the proposal until the evening before the vote. Copps and Adelstein wanted more time to "iron out the kinks", and stated such in their letter on the subject. The democrat duo stated, "Not to worry, the majority reassures us in paragraph 68 of the Order, because any combinations that don’t qualify for a positive presumption will face a “high hurdle.” We remain skeptical. Anyone looking to gauge how high this hurdle is likely to be need only flip to paragraph 77, where the majority casually grants five permanent waivers to newspaper-broadcast combinations that would not qualify for the public interest presumption involving top-20 markets and non-top-four TV stations under the new rule."
Commissioners Copps and Adelstein have been disgruntled about many things that the FCC has done in the past few years. The pair represent a minority opinion (The Commission Has 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats), and of course will have frustrations with regards to what transpires at the agency.
There comes a point when matter just need to come to a head. Certain things will simply never come to a consensus opinion. Sure, waiting things out is an option, but there is no guarantee that as time passes the opinions of the various commissioners, or the makeup of the Commission will change.
Plenty of time has passed on the Sirius and XM Merger. Plenty of discussion has transpired. Plenty of comments and opinions have been filed. The commissioners have been well informed on every aspect of the merger. So is there a "High Hurdle"? At this point does it really matter? With all of the information that has changed hands, the only hurdle left is to VOTE, and given the division that seems commonplace at the FCC, perhaps the highest hurdle in this whole process was to get to a point where a finalized decision is made.
Position - Long Sirius, XM