Boucher Backs XM-Sirius Satellite-Radio Merger

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Rep.

Rick Boucher

(D-Va.), a member of the House Telecommunications and Judiciary subcommittees, wrote Federal Communications Commission chairman

Kevin Martin

in support of the

XM Satellite Radio-Sirius Satellite Radio merger

.

According to a copy of the letter, Boucher argued that satellite radio is part of a larger national audio market and that allowing the only two satellite-radio providers to merge would represent only a small part of the market and would provide consumer benefits.

Among the benefits he cites are the proposed a la carte offerings and synergies that would free bandwidth for more public affairs and diverse programming.

"Therefore, I believe the merger is in the public interest and urge that the commission approve it," he said. Boucher cited the strong opposition to the merger by the National Association of Broadcasters as "lending credence to the reality that terrestrial and satellite radio are in direct competition."

The NAB argued that its opposition is because its local stations are unable to compete directly with a national service, while XM and Sirius get to compete with its stations for local listeners.

The FCC is at the exact midpoint -- 90 days -- of its informal shot clock on considering the merger, which Martin has said he hopes to complete by year's end.

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