Sep 27, 2007 3:24 PM (ET)
By IEVA M. AUGSTUMS
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Broadcasters nationwide need not worry about local
advertising revenue disappearing if the proposed takeover of XM Satellite
Radio Holdings Inc. by Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. goes through, the FCC's
chairman said Thursday.
The National Association of Broadcasters, which counts Walt Disney Co.'s
ABC division and radio station owner Clear Channel Communications Inc.
(CCU) among its members, opposes the estimated $4.7 billion acquisition on
the grounds that combining the nation's only two satellite radio companies
would create a monopoly.
Speaking before hundreds of broadcast executives and on-air personalities
at breakfast during a broadcast association conference, Federal
Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said there is a "higher
burden" to examine the transaction carefully.
"I would be concerned if they were trying to become a local broadcaster,"
Martin said, however.
"We don't have any prohibitions on where ad revenue can come from, but we
do say because they are a national service ... they are not allowed to be
on localized content.
But NAB Radio Board Chair W. Russell Withers Jr. said that seems like what
XM and Sirius are doing because they are offering up-to-the-minute weather
and traffic reports for local markets. The reports are accessible nationally.
Sirius announced in February that it would acquire XM for $4.7 billion. The
Justice Department's antitrust regulators and the FCC must both sign off on
On Wednesday, the testimony of a U.S. Justice Department official
strengthened the perception that the two digital radio companies will be
allowed to join forces.
Both companies' stocks have risen sharply since mid-August on heightening
optimism that U.S. regulators will clear the proposed takeover.
Shares of Sirius climbed 8 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $3.50 in afternoon
trading Thursday. Shares of XM were up 21 cents, or nearly 1.5 percent, to