Another senator has weighed in on the XM/Sirius merger still pending at the Federal Communications Commission.
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) wrote Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin recently about the transaction, calling into question proposals that would require a merged satellite radio entity to set aside a portion of capacity for non-commercial, educational programming. At the moment, a 4 percent set-aside for that type of programming, along with a talked-about 4 percent for minority and women's programming, appears to be the proposed merger conditions on most everybody's minds.
Klobuchar told Martin that the combined 8 percent set-aside is "not enough to serve the public interest and ensure a viable, independent and diverse broadcast media." She said the FCC should require a merged satellite radio company to set aside more capacity for non-commercial programming.
"By dedicating a significant block of the satellite radio spectrum to public interest programming, the FCC can help ensure that satellite radio - a relatively new and important communications medium - contains a diversity of voices and opinions," said Klobuchar.
Last week, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told the FCC that "the wisest course of action" would be to reject the satellite radio merger proposal. But they also added that conditions could mitigate any harms to consumers
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