The Federal Communications Commission has given Sirius XM more time to implement their commitment to lease channel space to minority or women-owned third-party programmers.
Both Sirius and XM made the voluntary agreements back in 2008 as one of the conditions for regulatory approval of their merger. They agreed to lease 4% of their spectrum, which works out to six channels for each service.
But the FCC has deferred action several times because of concerns raised by a number of groups — including Media Access Project, Entravision and Metro Radio Korea — about issues such as the mechanics of the channel lease administration and allocation. The agency said this week that responses to a notice it released in February 2009 about the issue raised additional concerns and that commenters had proposed several solutions.
The commission now says another, “brief” delay is warranted and expects action on the implementation guidelines soon.
In the meantime, the new deadline gives Sirius XM until May 25 to lease some of its channels to so-called “qualified entities.”