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Bill Would Clarify Satellite Radio Rules

Bill Would Clarify Satellite Radio Rules

Two members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Republican Chip Pickering of Mississippi and Democrat Gene Green of Texas, have introduced legislation that, if passed, would put into law what NAB has been hoping for in regards to satellite radio.
The bill would more strictly enforce the licenses of satellite radio companies and protect local radio broadcasters, according to a joint press release from Pickering and Green.
The “Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act” would clarify that digital satellite radio licensees could not insert local content into their network of terrestrial repeaters.
“The FCC licensed satellite radio to be a national-only radio service,” said Green. “This bill will enforce the commission’s original intent.”
NAB and XM Satellite Radio had proposed such language earlier in the year for the FCC’s final rules governing the use of satellite radio’s terrestrial repeaters.
Both XM and Sirius Satellite Radio subsequently introduced local traffic/weather channels as part of their nationwide services. NAB said the introduction of the additional channels doesn’t uphold the spirit of the commission rules that satellite radio is meant to be a national service.
The satcasters say they are a nationwide service and that they’re including the local traffic/weather traffic channels with their other channels over their satellite systems so all subscribers, nationwide, receive all of those channels.
The Pickering-Green bill would require the FCC to examine whether this practice is consistent with the FCC’s intent.