Entertainment: TV & Radio










FCC commissioner wants more concessions in satellite merger

Posted: July 20, 2008
Inside TV & Radio

Tim Cuprisin


While it still looks like the Federal Communications Commission will approve a merger of the two competing satellite radio services, the ridiculously long process has taken yet another turn.

A potential swing vote on the commission said last week that he’d vote “yes” if some new requirements were added to the deal to combine XM and Sirius satellite.

The Associated Press reported last week that commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said he’d vote for the deal if it included a six-year rate cap and 25% of the capacity for public service programming.

That essentially doubles the amount of giveaways that have been under discussion.

Two of the five commissioners are already in favor of the merger, and while waiting on a third, according to speculation in the AP report, Adelstein stepped into the breach to try to drag more concessions out of the two companies.


The proposed merger was announced Feb. 19, 2007, and has already been approved by the Justice Department.

Traditional radio broadcasters have lobbied hard against the merger, which may benefit subscribers but also creates a major rival for the ears of listeners.

So far, subscribers have been expecting prices to stay the same for three years, and an ability to pick programming from either service on an a la carte basis.

Another expected requirement for merger approval has been that two dozen channels of programming be allocated for non-commercial and minority programming.

Last month, it started looking like a done deal when FCC chairman Kevin Martin said he’d vote for it.

It still looks like a deal, although it’s not quite done.

THE CLASS OF 2009: After an online vote, the Chicago-based Radio Hall of Fame has announced the latest round of inductees, with Art Bell heading the list.

The quirky king of spooky late-night radio, Bell still hosts an occasional weekend show.

The syndicated show he launched, “Coast to Coast AM,” can be heard at midnights every night on WISN-AM (1130).

Inductees include:

James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family,” which airs at 7 a.m. weekdays on WJYI-AM (1340). It’s on more than 4,000 stations around the world.

• The late Bob Collins, who was the morning host on Chicago’s WGN-AM (720), when he died in a 2000 plane crash. His career included time on Milwaukee radio.

• Outspoken Boston talker Howie Carr, who openly asked listeners to vote for him.

The induction ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 8, with details and bits of audio from the inductees at www.museum.tv.

SHE’S STAYING: That’s what CBS News anchor Katie Couric told TV writers in Hollywood.

Couric was quoted by Broadcasting & Cable as being unequivocal about her connection to CBS:

“We have no plans to part company any time soon.”

CBS News president Sean McManus also went on the record denying reports that the third-place anchor is leaving the network that lured her away from NBC’s “Today.”

“I can say and I have said that that’s not true,” McManus was quoted as saying.

Reach Tim Cuprisin at (414) 224-2397 or tcuprisin@journalsentinel.com.

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From the July 21, 2008 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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