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FCC to Release Non-Protected Papers to NAB, U.S. Electronics

FCC decides how to act on FOIA requests in over-powered FM mods probe

The Federal Communications Commission has decided to release some documents to the National Association of Broadcasters and U.S. Electronics, pertaining to the Enforcement Bureau’s investigation of whether Sirius and XM had FM-modulated devices built that were over-powered enough to interfere with terrestrial radio broadcasts.

Using Freedom of Information Act requests, NAB and U.S. Electronics had sought information pertaining to the probes. The satcasters, which were separate businesses at the time, wanted that information withheld. The information involves who in each company participated in the investigation and how they answered the queries.

The satellite companies and Ki Ryung Electronics wanted much of the information to remain private, citing competitive concerns as the probes took place before the merger. Sirius said some of the employees (or former employees) named in the documents didn’t know that their names could be made public.

The employees are fighting to keep their names private, according to the FCC, because they don’t want their names to be associated with possible violations.

Earlier, of more than 3,500 records for Sirius found by the Enforcement Bureau, it decided that all but 126 pages would be withheld at Sirius’ request and because the commission felt the documents were entitled to be protected. Of 2,700 pages of XM-related records, the FCC decided to withhold more than 2,250 for the same reasons.

Everybody asked the commission to review its earlier decision and that’s what happened this week. The FCC now has decided to turn over all or redacted versions of the information it believes can be released to NAB and U.S. Electronics within 10 days — unless Sirius, XM or Ki Ryung ask for a stay within that time.