NPR joins battle over satellite radio merger

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The Washington Post reports on why the proposed merger of two “bit players in the media world“–satellite radio companies XM and Sirius–has stoked such a huge lobbying battle in Washington. The National Association of Broadcasters has mounted an aggressive public relations and lobbying campaign, while NPR quietly petitioned the FCC on July 9 to block the merger. Granting one company a monopoly on digital satellite radio would “substantially harm the diversity of voices” heard on the media platform, NPR lawyers wrote in the petition, because the merged companies would pare their channel line-ups and very likely drop some public radio programming. “A monopoly . . . would certainly be able to demand less favorable licensing terms, thereby forcing NPR and others to decide between program quality and carriage,” NPR said. Sirius distributes many NPR talk shows and weekly series; XM offers the Bob Edwards Show and programs from Public Radio International and American Public Media.