FCC approves XM-Sirius deal

Much like what the New York Mets did in the cover of darkness (canning manager Willie Randolph after hours), those class acts at the FCC approved the XM-Sirius merger by a margin of 3-2 this evening when commissioner Deborah Tate and chairman Kevin Martin agreed on another of principles, including a $19.7 million fine for past FCC violations.

The merger was approved with conditions, including a three-year price cap (only three?) and 8 percent of their channel capacity to minority and non-commercial broadcasters.

Thought: While this merger doesn’t really bother me since I don’t subscribe to satellite, what does bother me is the unintended consequences. Since the NAB opposed the merger, my guess is the organization will now demand the ownership rules be thrown out. If McCain gets elected, there is more than a likelihood media consolidation will continue unabated.

For example, CBS Radio may ask “If XM and Sirius can merge, why can’t we merge with Cumulus?” Other smaller radio chains (which were already fading away even before the satellite radio merger) may cease to exist because bigger companies now want to expand their reach.

And yes, the possibility of satellite TV companies Direct TV and Dish Network merging has come up again, thanks to the XM-Sirius marriage.

You think it is too far fetched? Wait until the economy gets better.

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