Five In Congress Push For Sat Merger Conditions
July 2, 2008 at 5:11 AM (PT)
The pushback from CAPITOL HILL Democrats continues as the FCC continues to contemplate a proposal to approve the XM-SIRIUS merger with conditions volunteered by the two companies, reports BROADCASTINGCABLE.COM. In a letter dated JUNE 27th, five House Democrats from MINNESOTA wrote the commissioners to register their disapproval with the condition that would set aside only 8% of the combined company's spectrum -- 4% for educational fare and another 4% to an outside entity, say, a minority, to program their own channels on the service.
The legislators said 25% of the spectrum should be reserved for educational, minority and emergency-service use.
Echoing a letter from a trio of senators including JOHN KERRY (D-MA), they called for a requirement that the satellite-radio receivers also be able to receive digital broadcasts from free, over-the-air radio stations.
They also warned that approval of the XM-SIRIUS merger without conditions would be "to the detriment of the public interest," although the odds of an approval with no conditions are slim to none.
Signing the letter were Reps. BETTY MCCOLLUM, JAMES OBERSTAR, COLLIN PETERSON, KEITH ELLISON and TIM WALZ.