WASHINGTON The U.S. Federal Communications will
act soon on Sirius Satellite Radio's proposed purchase of rival
XM Satellite Radio, the chairman of the FCC said on Thursday.
In an interview on CNBC television, FCC Chairman Kevin
Martin said the XM-Sirius deal raised difficult regulatory
issues. But he noted the companies had agreed to concessions
and said the agency "will hopefully be able to do something on
The merger would bring entertainers such as Oprah Winfrey
and shock jock Howard Stern under the same banner. It has been
criticized as anti-competitive by the traditional radio
industry, and by some U.S. lawmakers.
Antitrust authorities at the Justice Department approved
the combination in March after concluding it would not harm
consumers. The department said satellite radio companies face
stiff competition from traditional AM/FM radio, high-definition
radio, MP3 players and audio delivered by mobile phones.
Under U.S. law, the FCC must determine whether a
communications deal is in the overall public interest. In the
case of the XM-Sirius deal, the agency also has to decide
whether to waive a rule that barred the two satellite radio
companies from merging.
Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin has promised that the
combined company would let customers buy channels individually
as well as let them block adult channels and get refunds for
those blocked channels. Sirius has also said all existing XM
and Sirius satellite radios would continue to work after the
(Reporting by Peter Kaplan; editing by Maureen Bavdek)