It seems like the the buzz phrases surrounding the merger at this point are "HD Radio" and "Minority Ownership". I will leave HD radio for another post, and focus this one on Minority Ownership.

It seems like everyone is demanding Minority Ownership setasides, including some senators, Public Knowledge, Media Access, and Georgetown Partners to name only a few (and of course we cannot forget all of the Attorney Generals out there).

Sirius/XM has already agreed to concessions in order to get this merger passed, including a minority ownership setaside. Apparently this is not enough. In an FCC filing posted today, Senator John Kerry demands "as much as 50 percent of its satellite system capacity, and certainly no less than 20 percent of its capacity."

It is interesting how heavily they weigh in on the minority ownership issue in Satellite Radio, but don't even look at Terrestrial Radio. According to a speech by none other than FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate to the Media Institute back in February of 2007, the numbers of minority and female ownership attributed to Terrestrial Radio are abismal. (Thanks for the link crfceo)

Women comprise 51 percent of the entire U.S. population, but own a total of only 67 stations, or 4.97% of all stations.
Minorities comprise 33% of the entire U.S. population, but own a total of only 44 stations, or 3.26 percent of all stations.
Breaking minority ownership down even further:
Hispanics or Latinos comprise 14% of ethe entire U.S. population, but own a total of only 15 stations, or 1.11 percent of all stations.
Blacks or African Americans comprise 13 percent of the entire U.S. population, but own a total of only 18 stations, or 1.3 percent of all stations.
Asians comprise 4 percent of the entire U.S. population, but own a total of only 6 stations, or 0.44 percent of all stations.

Back in May, I wrote a letter to Congressman Rush, which I shared with those on the Siriusbuzz forums where I listed 51 seperate channels that were dedicated to minority, female, or political interests. These 51 channels represent nearly 20% of the 300 channels that the two companies broadcast daily on their own accord, without mandates from the government. Now all of these political figures want to step in and demand even more. Was the minority ownership issue raised when Clear Channel was going private? No, no it wasn't. One of the largest conglomerates of Terrestrial Broadcasting stations was allowed to be taken private, with not a single mention of minority ownership concerns. Not to mention that the Clear Channel review was completed without a single Congressional letter to the FCC or congressional inquiry.

Perhaps these congressmen and other consumer groups that are demanding more minority owned channels should be looking at Terrestrial radio to balance up their stats a bit first, before demanding such a large slice of the SDARS pie. But they won't, because we have seen what a tight grip the NAB has on Congress.