Clear Channel Takes Aim at Sat Radio Merger

A radio broadcast giant took aim at the pending XM/Sirius merger, saying the proposed combination of satellite radio companies would have an adverse impact on local AM/FM stations.

Representatives from Clear Channel met with Federal Communications Commission staff last week on the deal, complaining to regulators that the satellite radio companies are "constrained by very few regulations, including little if any, content regulation." The radio company stated in a filing detailing its FCC meeting that XM and Sirius provide content that can be deemed indecent, and that programming has traditionally been fined on local radio.

In addition, Clear Channel said a combined satellite radio company would control more spectrum than all of FM and AM radio combined. Also, "The merged company would enjoy a dual revenue stream and could easily outbid local radio for talent and programming, and erode our advertising base," Clear Channel said in its comments.

On programming, Clear Channel said its particular concern is with local sports coverage. Asked the company, "Will it only be accessible to listeners who pay for the privilege?"

And Clear Channel added in its filing, "Were the FCC to determine that the creation of a satellite goliath is in the public interest, it would be nothing more nor less than government intervention in favor of one company and one pay technology to the detriment of thousands of local broadcasters, free, over-the-air radio and the listening public."