Orbitcast: Merger News Archives

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Requiring FM radio in mobile devices is absolutely ridiculous

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Old mobile devices
The National Association of Broadcasts, the same lobbyist group that was "astonished" by the approval of the Sirius/XM merger and helped cause one of the longest media mergers in history, is now urging the government to require the inclusion of FM Radio chips into mobile devices.

The proposal is absolutely ridiculous, of course, and six trade groups including the CEA and CTIA feel the same way.

Yet the NAB says it's necessary for "public safety" - but what really is the motivation behind this proposal?
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FCC postpones Sirius XM's channel lease requirement, again

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FCC
The FCC requirement that Sirius XM Radio Inc. lease out 4 percent of its bandwidth to 3rd parties has once again been extended.

Only, it's not Sirius XM's fault the deadline was extended, but rather the reason for the deadline extension is the FCC's own doing.
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Sirius XM selected as one of World's Most Influential Companies

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The Foxxhole on Sirius XMSirius XM Radio Inc. has been selected by BusinessWeek as one of its "World's Most Influential Companies" for 2008.
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FCC grants Sirius XM extension for 3rd Party Channels

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Kevin Martin
The Federal Communications Commission has granted Sirius XM Radio Inc. an extension on the deadline to lease a portion of its channel capacity to third-parties.

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New Talk and Sports execs announced for Sirius XM Radio

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Sirius XM RadioThere's been more Sirius XM Radio management announcements, this time in wild and wacky world of the Talk and Sports programming.

Here's the Talk and Entertainment rollcall:
  • Dave Gorab, VP/Original Talk (Sirius)
  • John McDermott, VP/Comedy and Entertainment (Sirius)
  • Frank Raphael, VP/News and Operations (Sirius)
  • Todd Stack, Sr. Director/Talk Production (Sirius)
  • Don "Wicky" Wicklin, Sr. Director/Partner Programming (XM)
  • Jason Schramm, Director/Programming Development, with Sr. Directors Kenny Curtis, Craig Schwalb and Maurice Tunick.
These Talk/Entertainment execs will report to Senior VP Jeremy Coleman (from Sirius).

And for the Sports Programming roster:
  • Brian Hamilton, VP/Sports Programming (Sirius)
  • Doug Mortman, Director/Sports Programming Operations (Sirius)
  • Daniel Norwood, Director/NASCAR Radio (Sirius)
  • Nick Pavlatos, Director/NFL Radio (Sirius)
  • Matt Fishman, Director/College Sports Programming (XM)
  • Chuck Dickemann, Sr. Director/MLB Home Plate (XM)
  • Steve Torre, Director/Mad Dog Radio (Sirius XM Radio)
  • Joey DiFazio, Director/Sports Imaging
  • Chris Castleberry, Director/PGA Radio (XM)
The Sports execs will report to Senior VP Steve Cohen (also from Sirius). Both Coleman and Cohen were announced into their positions shortly after Sirius and XM merged.

Additionally, Kevin Straley (from XM) will be leaving his position as Senior VP/Talk and Sports. Straley will assist in the transition until November 15th.

[FMQB]

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Sirius XM Radio spent over $700k on merger lobbying in 2Q

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Mel Karmazin and Gary Parsons

A recent Associated Press report shows that XM Satellite Radio Inc spent $240k on lobbying in the second quarter of 2008.

Meanwhile, Orbitcast has learned from recent disclosure reports with the House clerk's office that Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. spent approximately $475k on lobbying during the same period.

This brings the total spent on lobbying by Sirius XM Radio Inc. to $715,000 for the second quarter of 2008.

The merger wasn't the only reason for the lobbying - but I'm sure it took a lionshare of activity. Other topics included "copyright issues," and legislative/policies impacting the SDARS licenses (read: merger stuff).

Compare this to the $1.2 Million in lobbying spent by Clear Channel Communications Inc., much of which was in opposition of the Sirius XM merger.

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Clear Channel CEO lambastes FCC over Satellite Radio Merger

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Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays
Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays had words about the FCC's approving of the merger between Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio at a panel during this week's NAB Radio Show.

"I don't know how they [the FCC] allowed XM and Sirius to merge into a monopoly," said Clear Channel chief Mark Mays (pictured left, next to his father and Clear Channel chairman, Lowry Mays).

Of course, that criticism didn't prevent Clear Channel from revamping their channels on XM following the Sirius XM Radio Inc. merger. The Clear Channel controlled channels are reported to earn the radio conglomerate "seven figure revenue" annually.

Mays continued his remarks about the FCC, "They clearly didn't have the backbone right now to do the right thing." Mays added that "the right thing" would be to mandate that HD Radio be included in all receivers.

I wonder if calling Chairman Kevin Martin, as well as Commissioners McDowell and Tate, as having no "backbone" will encourage the FCC to do "the right thing"?
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Audio: Mel Karmazin at Sirius XM town hall meeting

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Mel KarmazinMel Karmazin recently held a town hall company meeting to talk about the future of Sirius XM Radio, and below is the full audio from the event.

Karmazin talks about the duplicate channels/programming, the future of the company, the health of the OEM channel and much more.

Listen below:

(Duration: 1 hour)

Thanks Alex!



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Commissioner Tate issues a (new) statement on Sirius-XM

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FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor TateIt seems that the original statement sent out by the FCC wasn't the right one, and so Commissioner Tate has issued a new statement regarding the Sirius and XM merger.

This time around, Tate says that few decisions "have been more difficult" than the Sirius and XM one.

"As a strong supporter of free-markets and limited government regulation, I am predisposed to allow private companies the autonomy to make business decisions without the heavy hand of government regulation," said Tate.

"My personal office received hundreds of phone calls from individual citizens and organizations in at least 30 states," she added. "It seems that every segment of society has an interest in this merger."

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Karmazin: "Hats off to the head of the NAB. We all owe him."

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NAB's anti satellite radio merger banner

Sirius XM Radio Inc. chief Mel Karmazin mocked the National Association of Broadcasters head David K. Rehr in a recent appearance on the Opie & Anthony show, saying that their opposition to the merger might have had a part in its approval.

"We needed the broadcasters to be very aggressive in opposing the merger," said Karmazin [via FMQB].

"One of the things [NAB] did... is they put a banner on their building that said, 'Stop The Monopoly.' We took pictures of it and sent it to everybody who was on our list," said Karmazin.

"Our viewpoint was, the fact that they were doing it... they're not lobbying every merger that goes on, why would they care?"


"
If we are a duopoly on our way to a monopoly, by definition, [terrestrial broadcasters] are not in that pie," added Karmazin. "Thank goodness for it and hats off to the head of the NAB. We all owe him. When we all get to toast this merger, I will be celebrating him first."

I think we all owe Mr. David Rehr a big round of applause, don't you think?

[FMQB]

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