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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:59pm

    long, drawn out crap

    It sounds to me like they are just trying to draw the merger out in the hopes that XM and Sirius will run out of money and go belly up. That way they can't compete with terrestrial radio at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Sumbuddy Stoopid, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:41pm

    Uh Huh...

    Yeah, how long did the Exxon, Mobile thing take? Or how long did it take for AT&T to buy up the Bells again? AT&T and Cingular (2.0)? But to radio companies???? Give me a break...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 3:17pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 3:18pm

    "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...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Freedom, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 4:53pm

    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.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    anti-comunism, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 5:16pm

    If price is to high, if the schedule does not satisfy you, there is always free radio, mp3 players, internet radios, cds,etc.
    Just come on, decide this crap fast, denied or approve. Move along, what a waste of money from tax payers.
    This sound like comunism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 6:31pm

    I wonder how much money, And what he is being promised to take this simple thing and draw it out.
    Just shows how crooked the whole system is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 6:35pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Cynic, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 6:49pm

    Unelected incompetent (and perhaps corrupt) bureaucrats. I have felt for decades now that the FCC is very nearly worthless.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Jason Hartzog, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 7:09pm


    Exxon-Mobil merger doesn't fall under FCC merger(Don't get me wrong I agree it was lightning fast.) AT%T merger does. Kevin Martin, in my opinion, should have corruption charges brought against him for what he has done. This guy reminds me of J. Edgar Hoover (unless you're a Telco.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Lucretious, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 4:21am

    I won't be a happy camper if I can't listen to Ron & Fez.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Woadan, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 7:54am

    Re: Uh Huh...

    AT&T did NOT buy up the Bells. One of the Bells bought AT&T.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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