FCC's Adelstein Drags Out XM-Sirius Review Even More

from the unbridled-discretion dept

As we predicted last month, the FCC’s approval process for the XM-Sirius merger continues to drag on. This is becoming absurd. The merger was announced almost 18 months ago, which should have been more than enough time for the FCC to reach a decision, or at least come up with its merger conditions for the companies to consider. Yet it was only last month that Chairman Martin came up with his initial proposed conditions, and now Commissioner Adelstein is proposing even more restrictions as a condition of approving the deal. As I’ve pointed out before, the way antitrust law is enforced is problematic because of the unbridled decision it gives to government bureaucrats.

Adelstein’s laundry list of merger conditions appears to have no particular connection to preventing the abuse of monopoly power, the supposed purpose of antitrust law. For example, he would require a 6-year freeze on price increases. If he believes the merged company would have too much market power, then he should vote to deny the merger. If, on the other hand, the merged company would not have too much market power, then a price freeze isn’t necessary because competition will be sufficient to keep prices down. But the idea that they have too much monopoly power today, but won’t in 6 years, doesn’t make a lot of sense. His other major requirement, more minority-owned and non-profit channels, has even less connection to limiting the firm’s market power. More minority-owned radio stations may or may not be good policy, but it has nothing to do with antitrust law, and it seems problematic for the FCC to impose those sorts of requirements as part of the merger review process.

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Companies: sirius, xm

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Comments on “FCC's Adelstein Drags Out XM-Sirius Review Even More”

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12 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

They are trying to just stall and until XM and Sirius go into bankruptcy. They are both losing money, it’s obvious there’s plenty of competition to sat radio, etc. They sure didn’t have any problem approving Exxon Mobile merging who are now raking in billions of dollars of profits and breaking their own profit records every quarter. Which of course lines the politicians pockets so it’s no wonder they approved it quickly. They won’t get anything financially from the sat merge and the NAB already lines their pockets enough to make them listen to their crap about sat radio.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Yet dozens of lawmakers have expressed concern about the merger and several state attorneys general have asked the FCC to block the deal, saying the combined company would hurt consumers who could face higher prices and fewer choices with the monopoly satellite radio provider. “

Oh lets see who those lawmakers get money from… could it be… the NAB? Of course it is…

Freedom says:

Price Increase - Yeah Right...

I don’t think they need to worry about pricing. It is already fairly high and I think most folks are on the brink of saying no at the current prices. One increase would probably push a lot of folks to cancel.

Frankly there are plenty of alternatives and I’ve yet to see any content that makes sat. radio worthy of its cost.

They don’t even have interesting talk shows or other material that would make it interesting.

I’d love to have access to all the local talk show talent across the country or some other aspect that would really make the service, but nope, instead I get some national shows that aren’t all that interesting.

In short, if it wasn’t for our plane and wanting to get XM on it when flying, we’d probably dump it (I know cry me a river). But in the end, it is priced fairly high for what it is.

Freedom

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Price Increase - Yeah Right...

I spend a huge amount of time driving. Its well worth the money I pay not to have to find a new station every half an hour. Not to mention I always know what stations to go to to hear what I want.
Not to mention not having my music mangled by censorship, because people have become so lazy and stupid that they would rather have the government baby sit there kids for them then to put a little effort into monitoring them.
I would gladly pay a little more to keep that.

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