Rush Backtracks On XM/Sirius Set-Aside Support
May 8, 2008 at 5:27 AM (PT)
Senior House Energy & Commerce Committee member BOBBY RUSH (D-IL) wrote FCC Chairman KEVIN MARTIN on MAY 6th, disavowing a letter about the XM/Sirius merger he had co-signed to MARTIN only the day before, reports BROADCASTINGCABLE.COM. In the original letter, on which RUSH teamed with NEW YORK Democratic Rep. EDOLPHUS TOWNS, they had "fully supported" the voluntary commitment of XM and SIRIUS to carve out eight channels, four apiece, for minority owners.
RUSH says that he and TOWNS had a "miscommunication," and that while he certainly advocates setting aside channels for minority ownership -- both he and TOWNS are African American -- he says eight channels aren't nearly enough.
"I firmly believe XM/SIRIUS can designate far more channels than eight," he said. He suggested something closer to the 35% of the population that people of color represent.
RUSH was an early supporter of the merger, which he said would contribute to diversity of programming. He remains a supporter, he said, but the eight-channel set-aside fails to "satisfy [his] advocacy for a more aggressive policy that emulates the real diversity of the American public."