Radio

FCC Approves XM-Sirius Merger

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That's the good news.

The bad news is that two companies had to grovel before a government panel to get the merger approved in the first place.

My dissection of the National Association of Broadcasters' asinine opposition to the merger here.

CORRECTION:  It was the Justice Department that approved the merger, not the FCC.  The FCC will issue its own ruling later.

NEXT: The Closing of the Venezuelan Press

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  1. Meh. Bandwith is a scarce resource. Diversity of media ownership is a good thing. There is a legitimate regulatory interest here. I realize Balko loves his satelite radio and can’t live without it. And no, I don’t want to hear about software defined radios and other mystical voo-doo. I have no problem with reasonable limits on how many TV/Radio stations a company can own. Although the tangential restrictions on owning newspapers and such is absurd. Broadcasting is a special case due to the intrinsic limits on entering the market.

  2. Great news. The NAB did all it could to stop this and they didn’t succeed!

  3. Great, but there’s still a huge obstacle: it is going to take some major lobbying to get my Spousal Department to approve funding for an XM-Sirius acquisition.

  4. Great, but there’s still a huge obstacle: it is going to take some major lobbying to get my Spousal Department to approve funding for an XM-Sirius acquisition.

    You can always buy her a new car that happens to come with the technology.

  5. I just bought a new GM car equipped with XM radio. I hope it doesn’t become obsolete in the ten years.

    XM has been a disappointment. There are several channels that play a genre of music I like, but the actual selections are often poor to middling. The “High Standards” channel for example, four out of five artists I’ve never heard of.

  6. Sirius is much better than XM and many think that XM would have gone under without this deal – still leaving you with only one choice.

  7. Does this open up the doors to another Satellite radio competitor? Or will these two now be a protected monopoly in the Sat. Radio business?

    In any case, I think this is a good development. I was on the fence about getting Sat. Rad. I was waiting to see the merger approved this way I don’t have to chose whether I want Howard Stern and the NFL on Sirius or MLB and NHL games on XM. Hopefully now I won’t have to choose 🙂

    Full Disclosure: I own stock in both XM and Sirius

  8. Forget NY, Stern now the Fiat governor of space…

  9. Go for HD radio! No subscription costs. Really nice sound quality, especially compared to what I’ve heard from Sirius. If you aren’t in a major metro area, it might not be the best deal, but if you live near a large city, you can find all kinds of fantastic content being broadcast by the existing radio stations, and most of it is commercial free.

  10. Thank God. Finally I can get Phillies games in my car.

  11. Meh. Bandwith is a scarce resource.

    Does that really apply to satellite broadcasts?

  12. The FCC had no business questioning the merger. However, I think I’ll be paying more than the twenty a month I’m currently charged. Two desperate foes duking it out to avoid being the big loser had to be keeping rates low. I hope the automakers will lean on them to keep it reasonable.

  13. Damnit! I juts bought a new XM radio to replace my first one. I say damnit as I like the Sirius radios much better.

    I have both and I’ll say that XM is better solely because of The Verge and Ethel. Sirus’ Alt Nation and Left of Center don’t compare. But, Sirius has a better punk channel. Jazz is a tie.

    And I am very glad to see the NAB have it’s ass handed to it in a hat.

  14. Broadcasting is a special case due to the intrinsic limits on entering the market.

    Detroit, 1965. TV stations – 2, 4, 7, 9 (canuck) 50, 56. The last two didn’t help me because our TV didn’t have a UHF tuner. How many TV stations do you get, New World Dan?

  15. Does that really apply to satellite broadcasts?

    Pretty much. They still have to operate on a given frequency range. That said, it’s still the correct ruling, as near as I can tell. Two competeing satellite providers is better than one. But one is still better than 2 bankrupt providers.

  16. The merger was just approved by the Justice Department–not the FCC, which must still approve the merger. The two agencies exercise overlapping merger approval jurisdiction here.

  17. Detroit, 1965. TV stations – 2, 4, 7, 9 (canuck) 50, 56.

    At present, in the Minneapolis market, I get at least 12 broadcast stations (including 1 from St Cloud). I’ve probably get at least 40 or more radio stations available. I get pretty good reception, living just 2 miles from the main transmission towers for most of those stations.

  18. The merger was just approved by the Justice Department

    Hah! Next time I’ll need to actually RTFA instead of trusting Balko. While I contend that the FCC may have a legit interest in limiting the number of stations you can own (license?) the JD needs to GTFO.

  19. “Two competeing [sic] satellite providers is [sic] better than one.”

    You’re conveniently omitting all of the other radio broadcasters competing for your eardrums. Not to mention the growing abundance of digital audio players, downloaded music, podcasts and audiobooks.

    The satellite radio provider(s) can’t possibly overcharge, as the audience will still have plenty of listening alternatives, conveniently priced as low as absolutely free.

  20. I liked what I heard from XM, but there’s no way I’m paying any part of Howard Stern’s salary

  21. New World Dan – define “scarce”.

    I cannot conceive of a way to define scarcity so that bandwidth is somehow a “special” good that needs to fall within regulation.

  22. Justice Department does anti-trust law, which is why it was involved.

  23. Oh goodie./sarc Now that they don’t compete with each other, they will have a bigger stick to beat Internet radio with in Congress.

  24. New World Dan:

    Two satellite broadcasters are definitely NOT better than one if, like me, you want to listen to BOTH the NFL AND MLB on satellite radio. XM has an exclusive on MLB, Sirius has an exclusive on the NFL.

  25. “They still have to operate on a given frequency range.”

    ummm. The frequency spectrum is theoretically infinite. The “scarcity” is created by the FCC due to regulatory capture. The FCC is pretty much there to protect NAB interests and ATTEMPT to control political (or social) dissent.

    also:

    http://www.fcc.gov/ownership/materials/already-released/scarcity030005.pdf

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