XM, Sirius, NAB buoy outreach

WASHINGTON: Public outreach by parties for and against the proposed XM Satellite Radio Holdings-Sirius Satellite Radio merger have entered a new phase with the opening of a 180-day review period by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

WASHINGTON: Public outreach by parties for and against the proposed XM Satellite Radio Holdings-Sirius Satellite Radio merger have entered a new phase with the opening of a 180-day review period by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The proposed merger, first announced in February, needs approval from both the FCC and the Justice Department. It has sparked aggressive lobbying of Congress and regulators by the companies themselves and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which represents thousands of local radio stations and has been strongly against the merger.

Both XM and Sirius have launched microsites - at www.xmmerger.com and www.siriusmerger.com. The NAB has countered with www.xmsiriusmonopoly.org. All three provide the means for visitors to submit comments directly to the FCC.

XM and Sirius have said that, combined or separate, they compete with radio stations across the US, while NAB, which has hung a banner on the front of its headquarters stating "XM + Sirius = Monopoly," argued that XM and Sirius got licenses on the condition that there would always be at least two satellite radio providers.

"We have a number of issues here, but this is definitely a top priority [for us]," said NAB media relations director Kristopher Jones.

Jones declined to discuss what firms are assisting with outreach, though Crosby-Volmer International Communications said it has assisted NAB on the issue.

Third-party support has been a part of outreach, with the Consumer Federation of America supporting NAB, and the Latino Coalition backing XM and Sirius, which are represented by Brunswick Group and Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, respectively.

XM declined to comment and a rep from Joele Frank didn't return requests for comment.

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