NPR: ‘The Public Interest Is Not Being Served’

FCC finally votes on the satellite merger, and it’s in favor, 3–2
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Here are reaction statements from various industry parties to the FCC vote Friday approving the XM/Sirius merger with conditions:

Dennis Haarsager, NPR’s interim CEO: "The FCC's approval of the merger of Sirius and XM undermines public radio and, in turn, the public's access to our services. While NPR, other public radio producers and public radio stations have had long and mutually-beneficial relationships with both companies, this new monopoly — wielding unprecedented control over spectrum and without the mitigating conditions we sought — will limit the public service mission of public radio and dilute the significant investment our community, our audience and Congress have made in HD Radio technology. The public interest is not being served in this decision."

Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge: “It appears as if the Commission has adopted in some form all four of the conditions we have been seeking for the XM-Sirius merger. We had originally said that there should be some form of a la carte choice in programming, a three-year price freeze, a set-aside for non-commercial programming and an open-device requirement so that any manufacturer could build a device to receive programming from the combined company.

“Consumers will be better off than had the merger been granted without any conditions,” Sohn continued. “At the same time, we eagerly await the details of the Commission's order to see more closely the degree to which the conditions will serve the public interest.”

NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton: "Today's vote certainly comes as a disappointment to NAB. We continue to believe that consumers are best served by competition rather than monopolies."


The Basic Arguments

To begin the satellite hearing, Conyers asked, “If we are going to define the market as broadly as the merger supporters advocate, what kind of precedents are we setting?” He wondered how consumers who already have satellite radio equipment would be affected if the merger is approved. The FCC and Justice Department must review the proposal.