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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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Gayle King is no longer exclusive to Satellite Radio

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Oprah and Gayle KingOprah's BFF Gayle King, and trusted medical guru Dr. Mehmet Oz, are no longer exclusive to the satellite radio airwaves thanks to a deal inked with terrestrial radio broadcaster Westwood One.

"Today marks an exciting new day for Harpo Radio," said former-XMer Erik Logan, now President of Harpo Productions, Inc.
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Radio censoring the word "satellite" from Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom Pow lyrics

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Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom PowFM radio stations across the country have been censoring the word "satellite" from the hit Black Eyed Peas song "Boom Boom Pow" according to a report by The State Press.

Instead of the lyrics "here we go, here we go, satellite radio" the radio-edited version of the song garbles the word "satellite" - censoring a word that is both family-friendly and unoffensive.

That is, unoffensive to listeners at least, but apparently offensive enough to warrant nationwide censorship by those in the terrestrial radio industry. If you needed further proof of the travesty that regular radio has become, this is it.
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Zune HD coming this Fall, features built in HD Radio

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Zune HDMicrosoft has finally come clean on the rumors of its new touch-screen Zune HD, set to go on sale this Fall. The new Zune is an attempt to take on the iPod Touch, but it's not the interface I'm interested in - it's the "HD" in the new Zune HD.

Nearly three years ago, the old-school Microsoft Zune touted a built-in FM radio - not exactly a feature that would make it an "iPod killer" (as history shows, the Zune barely made a dent in iPod sales), but it was a feature nonetheless. Including a radio tuner gave consumers the choice to listen to their own collection, or live content from over-the-air radio.

And now, the new Zune HD will include an "upgrade" to its featureset: built-in HD Radio.
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Satellite Radio is #1 says Karmazin

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Mel KarmazinSirius XM Radio Inc. chief Mel Karmazin said in an internal memo to staffers that the company now has the most revenue of any other radio company - not just in the United States, but in the world.

"Based on revenue in the first quarter of 2009, SIRIUS XM is the largest radio company in the U.S., which means we are also No. 1 in the world," wrote Karmazin in the memo to employees.

Orbitcast has obtained Mel Karmazin's note to Sirius XM employees, read it after the jump...
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Bubba adds four new markets; status at Sirius XM remains unknown

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Bubba the Love Sponge
Following last week's rumor mongering, official word has come out that Bubba the Love Sponge will soon be heard on four more radio stations covering Miami, Orlando, Ft. Myers and Richmond, Virginia.

Bubba's status at Sirius XM Radio Inc. was not addressed.

Cox Radio stations WHDR in Miami (93 Rock), WHTQ in Orlando (96.5), and WDYL in Richmond (Y101), along with Beasley Broadcast Group station WRXK in Ft. Myers (96 K-Rock), will start airing the Bubba the Love Sponge Show on January 5th, 2009.

The show is broadcast live from 6am - 10am ET from Bubba's own custom, multimedia studio in Tampa.

Because the Bubba the Love Sponge Show is now available for syndication, and Bubba's agent, Thomas J. Bean, is currently talking with additional interested radio stations, additional markets will subsequently be announced.

UPDATE: A representative has informed us that Bubba is still in talks with Sirius regarding his future there.

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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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Rehr: "Negativity is pervading the radio business"

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David Rehr"Negativity is pervading the radio business and threatens to paralyze us."

Those were the words from the NAB's el presidente David Rehr at the NAB Radio Show this week. He's right, of course. Negativity is pervading the radio business, and does  threaten to paralyze the industry.

And the NAB hasn't helped in propagating this negativity. In relentlessly fighting new technologies. In resorting to smokey-room lobbying tactics. In setting up front-groups to appear as "consumers." In resisting the current of change, as opposed to embracing it.

"Never before has our business faced so many challenges -- a rapidly changing media landscape that makes us feel unsure and unbalanced, turbulent economic conditions that impact our bottom lines, and regulatory and legislative hurdles that threaten the way we conduct our business."

It's like a mallet has hit
Rehr on the head (or, in the rear). You almost think he finally gets it. Until...

"...in order for us to move forward and build a successful future, we cannot continue to operate as we have in the past. We must stop listening to the negativity and false messages, many of which come from our own people. And we must commit to spreading the positive news about radio."

No. No. No. Spreading the "positive news" won't solve the negativity. Radio needs to be the positive news. There's no need to tell the world how wonderful radio is - the audience is far smarter than you think - radio just needs to be wonderful.

The thing is, Satellite Radio is already wonderful because of the niche content. It's relevant to its audience. It provides content that you can't hear anywhere else. Subscribers love what they hear, and over 18 million people are willing to pay for it every month.

The challenge for Sirius XM Radio is
to not lose their way. In the goal to reach a mass audience, do not forget what got you this far to begin with.

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Broadcaster files petition against Sirius-XM merger

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FCC
Los Angeles-based Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters has filed the first petition for reconsideration with the FCC over the merger between Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

Mt. Wilson is the licensee of L.A. radio stations KKGO and KGIL.

The broadcaster is asking the Commission to take a second look at the conditions imposed on Sirius XM Radio Inc. The company argues that the conditions are not adequate, and that the satellite radio companies should be subject to the same indecency regulations over "unauthorized frequencies" that terrestrial radio follows.

[View Petition (PDF)]

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NPR wants more conditions in Sirius-XM merger

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Mel KarmazinNational Public Radio (NPR) is continuing the assault by terrestrial broadcasters in opposing the proposed merger of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

In a letter sent to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin earlier this week, NPR called for an HD Radio capability mandate and 25% of the spectrum to be reserved for non-commercial programming - as opposed to the 8% proposed by the companies.

NPR, which is also carried on Sirius, touted that public radio has been at the forefront of HD Radio broadcasting and "a merger condition requiring the inclusion of HD Radio technology in all new satellite receivers would ensure a competitive market for digital terrestrial broadcasting, while preventing monopolistic market forces from squeezing out this growing service."

As for the spectrum set-aside requirement, NPR CEO Dennis Haarsager said, "Reserving an appropriate percent of the satellite radio spectrum for programming from non-commercial public and minority broadcasters will contribute to the multiplicity of voices that is an inherent component of the dialogue of America's democracy."

[FMQB]

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