Common Cause, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and Free Press filed a joint petition opposing the proposed XM-Sirius merger.
The groups say the merger should be blocked “not only because it denies consumers valuable competition and reduces diversity in a unique radio product market, but also because allowing the merger to proceed under a falsely overbroad definition of competition in the radio space would weaken the fundamental underpinning of the broad public interest oversight of broadcast media.”
Satellite is certainly stealing audience from traditional terrestrial radio, but it is a one-way competition. Terrestrial radio serves local markets and cannot aggregate audiences or match the quantity, quality, mobility and advertiser-free, “naughty content” that satellite radio provides, state the groups in their FCC filing.
And while HD Radio solves a couple of these problems, it “leaves most of the disadvantages of terrestrial radio in place. It is still capacity constrained and limited to a small market. It must use advertising to support itself and has no subscriber base to subsidize receivers, which means switching costs are high.”