July 24, 2008
| by Rachel Cericola
It seems that the FCC may finally wrap up the deal that will merge XM and Sirius Satellite Radio.
The whole thing rests on a lone vote from Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate. However, The Wall Street Journal says that, in exchange for her vote, both companies will pay $20 million in fines stemming from tower locations and power limits. Both companies have already agreed to other stipulations, including price caps, a la carte channel options, and designating 8 percent of its full-time channels for public interest and minority programming.
Once the deal goes through, the company should have a la carte radios ready to roll within six months. This will allow subscribers to mix and match stations from both services. Other changes will include the option of a $7 monthly plan, which will offer 50 stations from one service, versus the current $13 for the whole lineup. Also many channels may merge or be eliminated to cancel out any repeat programming.
Both satellite radio services first announced plans to merge in February 2007.
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.