In a development that raises concern in my mind, the FCC inquired to Gigi Sohn of Public Knowledge (Public Knowledge FCC Filing), whether Public Knowledge was in support of the Georgetown Partners proposal where Georgetown would basically get a 20% stake in satellite radio.
The fact that the FCC is asking this question is very disturbing to me as a shareholder and as a consumer.
Gigi Sohn met with Kevin Martin's Senior Legal Advisor Michelle Carey. In the meeting Ms. Carey inquired as to whether Public Knowledge would support such a proposal. Sohn replied that the 5% set aside proposal outlined by Public Knowledge was likely to meet the desired goal. She stated that she agreed with the aspect that such programming was content that Sirius or XM would not have editorial control over. Also discussed was the failed Echostar and Direct TV merger of 2002.
Georgetown Partners has been very active in approaching the FCC. It seems that on a weekly basis they are meeting with someone at the agency trying to further their agenda. They have enlisted the likes of Jesse Jackson to support their stances. Many people have tended to dismiss the Georgetown Partners proposals as something that is simply asking too much. I have been critical that Georgetown is using the FCC to forward an agenda without outlining anything concrete for consideration. By using the FCC as the negotiating platform they are effectively trying to get regulators to mandate that Sirius and XM cut a deal with them. If that happens, shareholders will come up on the short end of the stick.
Shareholders and consumers who are concerned about this happening should voice their opinion to the FCC. At this point Commissioner Copps has quoted Georgetown Partners, and now Chairman Martin's Senior Legal Advisor has as well. In my opinion, the proposal, as currently constituted, brought up by Georgetown Partners is a deal breaker. The fact that it is getting the regulators attention as much as it is is troubling.
Position - Long Sirius, Long XM