Mark Fowler, who was FCC chairman when Ronald Reagan was president, supports the proposed satellite radio merger.
In an opinion piece in the New York Sun, Fowler writes that in 1981, regulators were only beginning to envision the possibilities of satellite-delivered entertainment media services.
“Twenty-six years later, we live in an entertainment media marketplace that features a striking — and exciting — competitive dynamic beyond anything we could have envisioned. Although traditional over-the-air radio remains the most dominant audio entertainment platform, continued technological innovation has forced broadcasters to confront that they must offer better service and more choices to consumers if they are to compete and survive. Satellite radio offers a perfect example of the phenomenon.”
Fowler continues by saying in spite of the fact that satellite radio constitutes only 3.4% of radio listening, traditional over-the-air radio operators “have understood the potential threat and have had no choice but to compete, and have been dragged, albeit kicking and screaming, into the digital age. Thus, the broadcast industry recently introduced and is pushing its own ‘HD Radio’ initiative to allow radio stations across the country to offer multiple new, high-quality digital channels.”