Anti-Satellite Radio (and NAB backed) legislation introduced to Congress

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 2:47 PM
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Anti-Satellite Radio LegislationYesterday, legislation H.R. 983 - backed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) - was introduced in Congress by Representative Gene Green (D-TX). The legislation was co-sponsored by Representative Charles W. "Chip" Pickering (R-MS).

The purpose of the legislation (given the title of the "Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act of 2007") is meant to "preserve local radio broadcast emergency and other services and to require the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a rulemaking for that purpose."

Interesting since currently, satellite radio services transmit local traffic, weather, and public safety information nationally, to all subscribers, regardless of location. This bill would prevent satellite radio from transmitting these local services - including public safety/emergency information.

A great example of the benefits of satellite radio - the public benefits - was during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath when XM and the Red Cross both setup Red Cross Radio. This allowed relief workers, shelters and aid stations to receive vital information during a time when local terrestrial radio was knocked out of service.

In response to H.R. 983, XM Satellite Radio has issued this statement:

"This special interest legislation would prevent satellite radio from broadcasting local traffic, weather, and emergency alert information on our national platform so that all of its more than 13 million subscribers can hear it.  Why doesn't the NAB want satellite radio to be able to broadcast local Amber Alerts?  Because of their selfish desire to avoid competition in the marketplace.  Congress should reject this outrageous attempt to stifle competition and harm consumers."

Kudos to XM for taking a stand against this. It's amazing to me that the NAB, and those on Capitol Hill, would even consider the prevention of local emergency broadcasts, like Amber Alerts, to be a good idea

This isn't the first that that Rep. Gene Green and his cohort Rep. Chip Pickering have tried this. Back in 2004 they tried to introduce the "Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act" which failed, and amazingly enough they've actually tried to introduce this legislation three times in the past.

So why does Rep. Gene Green and Rep. Chip Pickering seem so intent on preventing these public services from being delivered to you? Perhaps a look at their campaign contributors (here and here) might answer that. Or better yet why contact Green and Pickering find out for yourself?

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Comments

OK, I'm getting a little sick and tired of Sirius sitting back and enjoying XM taking the lead on spearheading all these issues with the industry. XM deserves some credit here for being the leader of this industry for good while Sirius continues to sit back and announce their awful earnings the day after XM every time while take the brunt of the blow. Sirius management = pussies, XM management = innovators.

Ridiculous.

It does seem ridiculous. Sirius stays very quite when it comes shit like this.

I'll fire off an email, we all should

You would think someone in Congress would say "hey, if that infomration is so important, doesn't it make sense to broadcast in as many ways as possible?" What a joke.

>>>You would think someone in Congress would say "hey, if that information is so important, doesn't it make sense to broadcast in as many ways as possible?" What a joke.

They would if you paid the right amount.

Another reason for a merger IMHO.

Satrad is divided and so very easy to pick off.
Unite and fight.

Bi-partisanship at it's finest!

Someone with more time than I should fire off an e-mail to Bill O'Rielly of the Factor on FOX. He loves this kind of stuff!

This thing = bullshit

Unless you have a picture , it's kind of pointless to broadcast Amber Alerts on the radio.

I have to agree with Plowboy1 on this! Once the companies are merged, we wouldn't have to worry about one company taking action while the other reaps the benefits. Instead we would have complete inaction.

Viva la merger!

A merger would worsen things.

My thoughts on why Sirius doesn't take a stand is this. XM's corporate culture is designed more for music and variety and consumer choice. I don't believe Sirius has that same corporate culture. Sure, Mel K. will defend Howard Stern's content, but Howard makes money. Sirius doesn't seem to be as consumer choice driven as XM is.

Something tells me Sirius is more likely to be akin to Clear Channel than XM would ever be. A merger would probably attempt to choke XM's viewpoint on music and the consumer. And Monopolies on Sat Radio = Higher Prices, Job Cuts, etc.

Change Sirius's corporate culture if you want them to fight the NAB.

Ha "stifle competition"?!?!?! I can't think of a better example of stifling competition than a merger between XM and Sirius. Go C3SR!!! Check out www.c3sr.org

A merger would be the worst thing to ever happen! Stop kidding yourself.

Here's how it goes for those of you not in tune with Washington and the money flow.

1. The NAB and RIAA get a cookie from Congress.
2. Congress gets a pay off ( donations ) from them.
3. Congress ( FCC/FTC ) allow the merger.
4. SIXM locks rates for the consumers.
5. SIXM donates money to Congress.

----

Same thing that is happening in Iraq. We're not there for us or the USA. We're there for Israel who kicks money back to our politicians.

What a better cause to lose our young men/women...? and spend 700B ... fighting for the Jews.

I fired off an email to Green (of course he only accepts email if you live in his district so I created an address) and one to Pickering and my congressment basically pointing out the issue of emergency info being unavailable during Katrina for local residents and how Sat Rad was the our only source of info.

I encourage you all to contact the two NAB shills (I mean congressment) along with your local congressman.

I've written the following letter to my representative as well as Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce where the bill is currently sitting. Feel free to copy and paste the letter and use it to send to your representative.

--------------------------------------------------------------

I am writing regarding H.R. 983, The Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act of 2007, as introduced by Rep. Chip Pickering of Mississippi, and Rep. Gene Green of Texas. I strongly oppose this legislation.

This bill would prevent satellite radio from transmitting these local services - including public safety/emergency information.

A great example of the benefits of satellite radio in an emergency situation was during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath when XM and the Red Cross both setup Red Cross Radio. This allowed relief workers, shelters and aid stations to receive vital information during a time when local terrestrial radio was knocked out of service. I would think that Rep. Pickering would praise this service rather than oppose this service, seeing that he serves constituents from Mississippi that were directly affected by this major emergency and could not receive emergency information from local radio.

In my opinion, this bill represents the influence of big business, rather than a service to the public. Rep. Pickering, since 1989 has received $ 48,500 from the National Association of Broadcasters, and $ 46,498 from the National Cable & Telecommunication Association, in addition to being sent on a trip to Vail, CO in August of 2005, paid by the Telecommunications Industry Association. In addition, Rep. Green, the billís primary co-sponsor since 1989 has received $95,500 from the Communications Workers of America, and was sent on trips to Las Vegas in April of 2005 and April of 2003 paid by the National Association of Broadcasters.

I believe that the American people spoke with a loud voice in the last election, and would be mortified that this legislation really has nothing to do with public service, but is payback for receiving campaign contributions from big business contributors.

This particular bill was introduced three times in the past, with all three efforts ending in failure. It is time the issue should be dropped, and Congress should worry about bigger and much more important issues such as healthcare, education, and the war on terror.

I appreciate your time and your vote against H.R. 983.

I agree that Sirius needs to step up but I do have one odd little point to toss into the mix....XM currently receives some ad revenue from ClearChannel. Strange bedfellows. Sirius is the only one with clean hands here. Besides, maybe it's not so much that Mel's a pussy, but rather he just wants to let XM spend the money to fight this. He's busy with other projects.

Anyway...I sent this off to my local tax maker.

I'm writing in regards to H.R. 983 - "Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act of 2007".

I'd like to urge you to vote against this in the interest of public safety. While the traditional radio industry is asking for this bill because they feel that the delivery of local emergency information will be hindered by satellite radio's ability to do likewise, I feel they are missing on important point: If I'm listening to satellite radio, I won't hear the emergency information on the local station anyway. As a satellite radio subscriber, I can attest to the fact that if I'm listening to a satellite radio station I'm not listening to a local radio station. Yes, that should seem obvious but it's worth stating. Again, this means that in the case of emergency, should the local stations break in with emergency information, I won't hear it. If the satellite radio providers were able to interrupt my listening to provide location based emergency information, in that case I would hear it.

Allowing the satellite radio providers to provide local emergency information provides just one more channel for delivery and as such could save lives, contrary to what the traditional radio companies would have you believe.

Thank you for your attention,

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