Saturday, July 26, 2008

Is the Sirius/XM Merger A Good Thing?

Stations like Oprah Winfrey's Oprah Channel will now be under the Sirius Channel with the approval of the Sirius/XM Merger. But is the merger really in the consumer's interest?

By Allen Bacon
The Daily Bosco

You just knew it was going to be a matter of time. XM Sattelite Radio and Sirius are going to be merging. Federal regulators formally approved the merger of the nation's only two satellite radio operators Friday, ending a 16 month stalemate.

Sirius buyout of XM Satellite Radio will mean 18 million plus subscribers will be able to receive the programming from both services.

This is supposed to initially reduce the price for the subscription-based service and add to the programming options. I say not so fast.

What we have here is a monopoly pure and simple. Nobody in their right mind is going to go and setup shop as a new satellite radio company against this juggernaut. And what is going to keep this new entity from jacking up prices in the near future on the basic subscription rate?

Don't get me wrong...I love the services. I was on a flight a couple of weekends ago from Baltimore to Los Angeles. I didn't seem to mind the fact I had no inflight movie because I had XM Satellite radio. I am a baseball fan and having all the major league games at my in the air (this is satellite radio remember) was a real cool thing.

But why does Sateliite Radio get to play under a different set of rules than the rest of the radio world? Isn't it really just another band. Like the FM band or the AM Band. Why does it have the same model as Cable Television? Shouldn't each of the stations stand alone and be able to sell advertising and just lease the satellite space from Sirius. And while we are on the subject..why doesn't internet radio get to do the same thing?

Do you know what I miss? I guess I am a little old fashioned. I miss traveling from town to town and region to region and listening to the local radio stations in that area. Or trying to pick up the skip at night and listening to AM stations from all over. First it was the mass syndication of radio programming where almost all radio stations coast to coast have the same programs. Then it's satellite radio. Where you can keep your same station on and listen litterally as you drive coast to coast. I miss the old days. It was more fun.

No comments: