Wednesday, March 07, 2007

FCC Chairman Martin Wants More Clarity On Rates

Last night, the boards were buzzing with a Drudge Report teaser headline indicating a "new" twist in the Sirius-XM merger story. There was no link, causing lots of speculation. Well, here is the story, and it's nothing out of the ordinary....Kevin Martin wants to get a better understanding of the proposed rate structure, post merger.

F.C.C. Chief Questioning Radio Deal
By STEPHEN LABATON, Mar 7, The New York Times

WASHINGTON, March 6 — Kevin J. Martin, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has privately questioned recent Congressional testimony by the architect of a proposed merger of the nation’s two satellite radio companies that subscribers would both pay the same monthly rate and receive significantly more programming.
As he sought to sell the proposed merger of Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio to Congress, and by extension to regulators like Mr. Martin, Mel Karmazin, the chief executive of Sirius, vowed last Wednesday that prices would not be raised and that listeners would benefit enormously by getting the best programming from both companies.
But in separate conversations with two people after Mr. Karmazin’s testimony to a House committee, Mr. Martin said that subscribers may be surprised to learn they may actually have to pay more than the current monthly rate of $12.95 if, for example, they want to receive all the games of Major League Baseball (now available only on XM) as well as all the professional football games (now only on Sirius).
Mr. Karmazin, reached on Tuesday, said his testimony was not misleading and that he meant to say two things: subscribers wanting to keep their existing service would not face a price increase, and listeners who wanted the best of both services would pay less than the combined rate of $25.90.
Mr. Martin, in an interview on Tuesday, suggested that the details had not been clear from the testimony. He emphasized that he was not questioning the motives or candor of Mr. Karmazin but that there was “a need for greater clarity” over what was being proposed for fees and programming....read more: here

3/07/2007 05:16:00 AM

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