Up in the Air
“If the government approves this merger, they will be rewarding two companies who have a history of breaking every pledge they’ve made to the FCC,” Wharton said.
This isn’t the first time Wharton has thrown punches at XM and Sirius. He and National Public Radio have criticized satellite radio receivers currently on the market that “exceed interference standards,” he said, by bleeding into over-the-air broadcasts. “Someone listening to Howard Stern next to you,” said Wharton, “can bleed into your car and your kids will start hearing the obscene language.” He says one of the FCC’s early guidelines was that both satellite radio companies would create interoperable radio receivers to work with AM/FM channels. “They still do not have interoperable radios,” Wharton said.
“I don’t think the merger is going to happen any time soon,” said Mark Lloyd of Center for American Progress. “The hurdles at the FCC are too big. The broadcast industry is a powerful player with lots of resources to make very strong arguments to the FCC.”