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Sirius XM Leases 13 Channels to Third Parties

Spanish, Urban, Mormon, Korean formats get set-aside channels

After receiving several extensions, Sirius XM has leased a total of 13 channels to third parties, as it had promised.

The commission made the set-aside channels a condition before it agreed to the merger of the satellite radio companies in 2008.

The FCC, under then-Chairman Kevin Martin, didn’t spell out how the third-party programmers would be chosen, so the process took awhile. The leases represent 4 percent of the channels on the Sirius and XM platforms. Proposals to the company were due Jan. 7.

Current Chairman Julius Genachowski said the lineup marks a valuable step in increasing program diversity available to subscribers while promoting access for new entrants. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said the satcaster and the agency worked together to make the selection process transparent and hoped for launch of the new channels “as soon as possible.”

There will be four urban-formatted channels, six Spanish, two Mormon and one Korean.

Washington, D.C.-based Howard University is the licensee of WHUR(FM), which transmits in both analog and HD Radio. It will program one channel each on Sirius and XM of music and talk for the African American community and another channel on each platform of music and talk programs from historically black colleges and universities.

Provo, Utah-based BYU Radio, licensee of KBYU(FM) and KBYU(TV), will program one music and talk channel on each service for the Mormon community in the Salt Lake City market. KBYU(FM) has transmitted an HD Radio signal along with its analog signal since 2006.

Eventus/National Latino Broadcasting will program four channels: one on each platform of Spanish language talk and one on each platform of Spanish-language music.

WorldBand Media, which leases HD2 channels from radio group owners in several markets, will program Spanish language talk on both the Sirius and XM platforms.

KTV Radio will program Korean language music and talk on one XM channel.