Another day, another outrage. The lines are forming down the street. There seems to be no end to the parade of groups looking to steal a piece of the previously bid, bought and paid for spectrum that belongs to the shareholders of Sirius and XM satellite radio. A subscription based, pay radio service.
Some recent opposition points to the increased value of the spectrum since it was bid, bought and paid for by the companies as unfair. I wonder if they would feel that way if their own homes appreciated in value. Perhaps they also feel that because my home has appreciated in value, I should be forced and willing to give up 25% of my land.
This utterly repulsive suggestion does not end there, however. These groups and individuals want to use this spectrum, to broadcast whatever the highest bidder pays them to broadcast. They claim to want a minority ownership interest which may not translate into minority directed broadcasting. They wish to assume total control of the spectrum, so in theory, they could broadcast things that would make Howard Stern cringe. The effect of such actions would be the destruction of satellite radio. They could sell their rights to terrestrial radio, and satellite radio would be inundated with 60 channels of commercial laden music channels or even worse, dead air.
They want to do this on radios that were subsidized, marketed and installed at shareholder expense. They want to accomplish this by using the equipment and satellites built, deployed and paid for by the shareholders. They want to profit from advances made from the research and development paid for by the shareholders of Xm and Sirius. Some even propose doing this at the expense of the shareholders, with few lease proposals hitting the table.
I have a suggestion to make this proposal reasonable. First. Let's put a dollar value on the spectrum. Recent auctions would indicate a combined value of about 30-40 billion dollars. At 25%, Sirius/Xm should receive 7.5 - 10 billion dollars for the spectrum itself. The person who pays the 10 billion dollars can then go out and launch their own satellites and produce their own radios and broadcast whatever minority and public interest programming they choose. They can sell it to Clear Channel. I don't care! They can have their very own satellite radio service, but in my opinion, the proposed theft of shareholder value must come to an abrupt end.
As has been pointed out dozens of times, Sirius and Xm currently offer a higher percentage of minority and public interest programming than all of terrestrial radio combined! And they do it without government intervention.
Position: Long Sirius, XM.