Sunday, July 27, 2008

FCC makes a Sirius mistake

The Federal Communications Commission approved the XM-Sirius merger last Friday (7/25), bringing to an end a 16-month battle over whether or not such a move would be in the public interest.

South Dakotan Jonathan Adelstein was one of the dissenting Commissioners in the 3-2 decision, hailed by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin as a move that will give consumers greater choice and greater flexibility.

Sirius and XM are the only satellite radio companies, and they concede that the $3.5 billion "merger" -- really a buyout of XM by Sirius -- will save them lots of money.

For the 18-million of us who are satellite radio subscribers, don't look for a rate reduction any time soon. The deal would freeze basic subscription increases, but you can rest assured the new company will find ways to get around that inconvenience. There were some compromises, but nothing that keeps it from falling into the category of a really bad public policy decision by the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC can spell m-o-n-o-p-o-l-y, but they don't understand its meaning.

For more background on this deal, read these articles from Broadcasting & Cable and the New York Times.