Washington

FCC Chairman Gives No XM/Sirius Timetable

6/05/2008 04:27:00 AM Eastern

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin Thursday gave no timetable for a decsion on the merger of XM and Sirius, which has already gotten the go-ahead from the Justice Department and is being anxiously awaited by the two companies.. 

In an intervew on CNBC, Martin said he hoped to be able to come up with a decison "soon," but when pressed for a date did not offer one.

Martin has said recently that he hoped to have a decision by the end of June. And that came after earlier suggesting it might have been done by the end of March..

When asked why it had taken so long to make the call--at press time the FCC's review was in day 361--said that the FCC had "a rule" in place prohibiting such a merger. He has said before that the companies faced a high hurdle, in part because when the commission, then headed by REed Hundt, handed out the licenses in 1987, it said that it did not think it would be a good idea for one company to own the only two national satellite licenses.

What.the FCC meant by that has become a point of contention between the satellite companies and terrestrial broadcasters, the latter of which have argued that the commission meant just what it said. But in a submission to the FCC last fall, Hundt instead said that it was at least his intention that the prohibition not be written in concrete.

 

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