It seems like a lifetime ago that Sirius and XM first announced the intentions to merge and form a single satellite radio powerhouse. Subscribers were generally overjoyed by the possibilities; twice the content, a la carte options, the promise that current subscription rates would not increase, etc. It sounded like everyone would be a winner. There was just one problem though… Terrestrial radio and its “relationship” with the FCC. We won’t go into this mockery of government yet again, but suffice it to say that there were some pretty big hurdles that had to be ovecome. Here we are almost 18 months later however, and the merger has finally been approved! Of course there are some conditions to the $3.3 billion deal, first and foremost is the fact that the companies will have to cough up $20 million in fines to the FCC right out of the gate. These fines are a result of FCC claims that several radio models and signal-boosting towers violate FCC regulations. Ok fine, moving on. The other notable stipulation is one that we can’t say we disapprove of:
The companies must cap prices for three years after joining and allow consumers to choose the channels they want and pay less for packages of channels.
Work on a la carte-friendly radios is already underway although it sounds like despite claims made by several on-air personalities, current radio models may not be capable of receiving both Sirius and XM streams. As much of a shame as that would be, we’ll have to wait for some formal announcements before it can be confirmed or denied. Whatever the case may be, last night’s announcement was a big step forward and only time will tell how it plays out.