House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) has sent a
letter to Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell expressing renewed concerns about XM
Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.'s ability to morph into a local service and asking the FCC to
require XM to "fully disclose" any plans for localized programming.
XM has a network of repeaters, for which it is seeking permanent licenses,
that allow it to retransmit its national service.
But XM has the technology to localize that service -- a prospect that troubles
Tauzin, as well as a number of traditional broadcasters.
Citing XM's announcement of a service to deliver local weather to "marine,
aviation and emergency subscribers," Tauzin said, "It is clear that nothing
now stops XM from taking this a step further and offering local programming in
the terrestrial-radio market to hundreds of thousands of automobile
Tauzin pointed out that the commission has already indicated that XM should be
prohibited from delivering local programming.