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Satellite Merger Condition Remains Unfulfilled

Original deadline for minority channel arrangement was November 2008

Exactly what will the “4% solution” on Sirius XM look like? We still don’t know.

But the Federal Communications Commission has again extended Sirius XM’s deadline to implement the “voluntary commitment” it gave as a condition of its merger approval.

The commitment was to let qualified minority-owned entities program 4% of the audio channels on the Sirius and XM platforms, through leases or other arrangements. When it approved the merger, the commission deferred deciding the implementation details.

Earlier this year it asked for public comment on that and collected a “range of models,” lobbied by the likes of iClick2Media Inc., FluteRadio, Radio One, the Media Access Project, Entravision Communications, RSS Network Corp. and Howard University.

At that time of merger approval, the commission conditioned its OK on the fulfillment of various commitments, including this one, within four months. The original deadline was November 2008; it has since been pushed back several times. Now, the Media Bureau says, it “anticipates commission action on the implementation guidelines in the near future, and thus this brief extension is appropriate” — though it has used that language before — so it is pushed back again to Feb. 24, 2010.