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Martin: Merger Deal Turns on Question of Media Markets

Martin said he had no comment on “media substitution.”

The FCC could still issue a decision on the proposed merger of the satellite radio companies in this quarter.

That’s what Chairman Martin told reporters this week in Washington.

Queried by Radio World about whether this deal is unusually complicated, he said it is, considering the agency’s language in its satellite radio authorization that bars the two companies from merging.

The nation’s top communications regulator reiterated a previous statement that this deal faces a “high hurdle,” though the proposed a la carte pricing proposal is “intriguing,” he said.

Asked by RW whether a decision either way will set a precedent for what constitutes the satellite radio market — and whether other forms of audio entertainment, such as terrestrial radio and HD Radio, could be considered as competitors or as substitutes for satellite radio — Martin said he had no comment on “media substitution.”

“That’s the thrust of everything we’re deciding on,” he said.