According to Twice the long awaited* XM/Sirius merger is closer to approval from the FCC. Unfortunately they have decided to throw a wrench into the gears with a some bullshit additional requests...
The conditions would require the merged company to include HD Radio on any satellite radio product it subsidizes that also includes an AM/FM tuner, according to an Associated Press report. Stipulations would also include a six-year freeze on service fees and that Sirius and XM devote 25 percent of spectrum to minority and public-interest programming, said the AP. Adelstein’s staff could not confirm the conditions at press time.
While a six-year freeze makes sense to me, the consumer, the rest are examples of how the FCC (and supporting politicians) are out of touch and ignorant.
Forcing XM/Sirius to include HD Radio, terrestrial radio's last hope, to come with any tuner equipped set is absurd and affront to a free market society. It's like forcing every copy of Windows Microsoft ships to come with Linux or OSX.
The 25% dedicated to minority and public-interest program is completely out of the blue as well. Perhaps the US is trying to follow Canada in dictating program requirements but to impose such regulations to one type of media and not others is fucking rubbish. Comcast's channel lineup isn't regulated like such, nor are a quarter Clear Channel's radio stations committed to minorities.
What exactly does "public-interest" entail and why the hell is the government going to decide what I should be interested in? My listening interests include good music, Opie and Anthony, and the BBC. As long as 25% of the channel lineup contains these three items then I'll continue my subscription.
iBiquity said a merger “presents an opportunity for the merged satellite company to use its position in the marketplace to slow or block the rollout of HD Radio technology … even if a small portion of the cost savings associated with a merger were redirected to impact the rollout of HD Radio technology, it could have a catastrophic impact on competition.”
iBiquity, welcome to capitalism. Obviously your product sucks (or in this case, those utilizing it) and your response is to hitchhike on the back of competitors? Go screw.
* I say long awaited because I'd rather have them together than both sitting on their ass waiting for something to happen. Or, worse yet, closing up shop.