Sunday, July 27, 2008

Democrats should help XM-Sirius fight the government

According to the numerous reports, there are many conditions that the FCC set for allowing the XM-Sirius merger to proceed.
During this process the merged company has spent valuable time trying to propose an acceptable arrangement to the government. ves_xm_sirius_merger.php
Here are some of the details:
As a result, under the deal reached with the FCC yesterday, XM agreed to shut down 50 of its variant terrestrial repeaters and bring an additional 50 repeaters into compliance within 60 days of the merger's approval. Sirius agreed to completely shut down 11 repeaters that Sirius turned off in October 2006.
Other merger conditions reportedly include: no rate hikes for a minimum of 36 months after the merger; smaller packages at lower prices; an open standard for the manufacturing of radios; interoperable radios within one year; a la carte programming for XM and Sirius in the first three months after the merger; and additional public interest channels.
------------This is all wrong.
Democrats should oppose this merger as it is. Senator Obama should flex his "Change" muscles.
The idea that a group of government watchdogs should dictate the terms of a private agreement is outrageous.
When the Satellite Radio business began years ago it had the promise to do for radio, what cable tv did for television.
Regulators feared a monopoly and extreme concentration of power in the hands of too few people. Therefore there were limits and rules placed on the companies. Now those rules are unraveling because the whole world has changed.
Since then, the ability of different electronic, digital, and other services to compete in different entertainment markets has multiplied.
There's not a "radio" market any longer. Radio is a part of a larger entertainment market where consumers can get news, sports, entertainment, whatever from so many sources, and in so many ways.
The use of wireless internet, and mobile technologies are direct competitors with any kind of radio today.
So for the government to demand "consumer" protection in the satellite deal is counter productive and foolish.
This will either be meaningless if the companies can work out it or outright detrimental.
Who cares if XM or Sirius or the combo raise prices, cut services, etc.
If we don't like what they offer we have:
ipodsiphonesother cellphone technologyregular radiointernet in generalinternet radio
and who knows what else.
If there is a market that is underserved it will be addressed in our free market.
Democrats should establish a principle, and Senator Obama is in a great position to do this:
We should use government power to help in important areas where without that intervention the consequences are dire.
If people have to pay more for their sat. radio, get less channels, or whatever else, it is not an urgent matter.
Whether there is "minority" programming on sat. radio is an almost theoretical question. The number of people who will listen is very very very small.
Even if you like this deal, you should reject the whole premise of it. The companies should try to do what they think is best in the marketplace. They have a duty to maximize profits for their shareholders. Let the shareholders decide what's best for the companies, let consumers decide if they agree/disagree by their consumer dollars. Democrats should draw a line in terms of govt. intervention. Right now, Republicans are asleep at the switch in terms of representing American values. This is a great opportunity for Democrats to define a "progressive" agenda that will work for our future.--
Senator Obama should declare:
We should be using the government to:
-ensure every child has the best possible education and no one is defined by their chance at birth.
-offer quality and affordable healthcare to each citizen regardless of their economic circumstance.
-provide economic opportunity to those trapped in a cycle of poverty
-provide safety both here at home in terms of crime and homeland security, and world-wide in terms of national security
-ensure we have a clean environment and pass on a great planet to our children
-build strong families that will help us prosper as a nation
and yet
we should not use the government to pick/choose people's entertainment choices. Nor should we particularly care which companies win/lose in the marketplace.
As long as contracts are honored and the rule of law is maintained, we should promote a vibrant free market and let the beauty of America shine through.
This statement of principle would be a welcome change from Senator Obama.
I don't have any shares in either company.I have never owned a sat. radio.
I have listened to aol radio online which used XM channels.It was pretty good! It was also at no additional charge!
Just goes to show, you can never predict how we the people will use/accept your product.
It would define a "progressive" view of Democrats in relation to the government, yet make it clear that we believe in the vibrancy of the free market that has produced wonders here and abroad.

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