XM Reassures Subs About Post-Merger Programming

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In an effort to reassure customers about the planned merger with Sirius Satellite Radio, XM took out an ad in USA today Friday and has created a new area on its Web site with that "customer promise"

In the ad, XM said it was staking its claim that its 7.6 million subs would continue to get such shows as Major League Baseball, Oprah & Friends, Bob Dylan, Opie & Anthony.

While it was definitive about subscribers continuing to receive XM programming, it was less definitive about the Sirius side, saying it "expects" exisiting radios will be able to receive programs from both services.

In any case, Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin has pledged to Congress that nobody will have to buy new receivers post-merger.

The two services have some hurdles to overcome if they are to merge. The FCC, Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department all have to vet the deal, including deterimining whether it will reduce price and service competition in the delivery of audio services. That, deterimination, in turn will likely come down to defining what the market is and how many players there are.