If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Regulate the Hell Out of ‘Em

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Now that the Justice Department has handed defeat to the National Association of Broadcaster’s high-profile (but laughable) campaign against the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger, they’re taking a new tack: regulate away satellite’s advantages.

Clear Channel is asking the FCC to slap a series of regulations on satellite radio before approving the merger, including requiring XM-Sirius to abide by FCC decency regulations, banning any local broadcasting or advertising (both companies currently offer traffic and weather for large metropolitan areas), minimum public interest programming requirements, and—somewhat surprisingly—licensure for a competing satellite provider.

I actually agree with the last one. I’ve never understood why the federal government only allowed for two satellite radio providers in the first place.

The other requirements are ridiculous. Whatever you think of FCC decency regulations, satellite radio is a subscription service. Customers pay for what they’re getting. You can also easily block objectionable material. As for barring local programming, I’m intrigued to see how Clear Channel plans to argue that limiting competition to terrestrial radio’s local coverage would in any way benefit consumers.

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

7 Responses to “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Regulate the Hell Out of ‘Em”

  1. #1 |  Justin | 

    Didn’t we see all of this same stuff with Satellite TV? Why wasn’t satellite TV allowed to have local broadcasts initially?

    And, as for only allowing 2, I have no idea, but, there are only so many geosynchronous slots for these satellites to sit in. It could be a factor, but again, I have no idea.

  2. #2 |  Josh | 

    What are the odds that a Democratic-controlled Congress enacts those sort of regulations? Hasn’t Clear Channel been a whipping boy of the left for years??

  3. #3 |  Wil | 

    Coming from Clear Channel, this is rich with irony. Their sudden concern for preserving local programming is just heartwarming and precious.

  4. #4 |  David Chesler | 

    “Whatever you think of FCC decency regulations, satellite radio is a subscription service. Customers pay for what they’re getting. You can also easily block objectionable material. ”

    That pretty much applies to broadcast TV now. Even if you’re not paying for basic cable, you pay for the set, and maybe watch commercials. The V-chip makes blocking easy.

    I always thought the save-the-children aspect of the decency rules were based on “So many children are in households with TVs, and they might be flipping through the channels, and they could see something they couldn’t, especially before 10pm when they’re more likely to be awake and doing that.” But at a certain point, satellite radio will have as much saturation as broadcast TV had when those rules were adopted.

  5. #5 |  ParatrooperJJ | 

    I doubt there are any companies wanting to enter the market. The entry cost (launching satilites) is huge.

  6. #6 |  Jim Collins | 

    Uhhhhh……..you don’t launch satellites, you buy bandwidth on existing satellites.

  7. #7 |  ParatrooperJJ | 

    I believe they have their own systems.

Leave a Reply