Forecast Sunny for Local Satellite Services

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XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite are likely to win formal Federal Communications Commission approval for locally targeted weather and traffic channels they offer over their national feeds.

A vote in the satellite radio providers’ favor is expected at the FCC’s Nov. 9 meeting.

NAB asked the agency to outlaw the satellite radio channels in April. The broadcast group said they violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the government's plan for satellite radio to be a truly national service, which included a prohibition on using its FCC-licensed repeaters for inserting local programing.

Competition for local programming from XM and Sirius could jeopardize profits and viability of broadcast radio stations, NAB argued.

This year, the satellite radio providers began rolling out channels focusing on individual markets such as Boston and Los Angeles. The channels, however, are available to all XM and Sirius customers.

In March FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin warned NAB it faced an uphill battle outlawing the service. "Just because there might be more interest in a channel in a particular city does not mean it can't be considered national programming," Martin said.

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