Satradio merger okayed without pubradio provisions

The compromise package of fines and consumer protections imposed by the FCC in exchange for approving the merger of the Sirius and XM satellite radio companies July 25 did not include key provisions sought by public radio advocates. Pubcasters lobbied members of Congress and commissioners to triple from 8 to 25 percent the spectrum capacity that the merged company would have to set aside for public interest and minority programming. They also asked the commission to require the inclusion of HD Radio receiving chips in satellite radio receivers, allowing subscribers to receive free digital signals from terrestrial stations. Neither provision was in the final agreement approved in a 3-2 party-line vote on Friday. Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who backed the provisions, ended up voting against the merger.