Clayfoot (clayfoot) wrote,

XM & Sirus: Please merge now

My local public radio station has been off the air for a week, while they've been upgrading the antenna to digital. They promised to do it without disrupting listeners, so I can only assume they believe we weren't listening, anyway. If there was another choice, I wouldn't. Since Mercer University took over operation of the station, it sounds like it's being run by monkeys. Not even trained ones, just wild monkeys. In the middle of one live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion (the most popular show ever on public radio), the station cut over to some prerecorded jazz show. No explanation, just changed. During the news on more than one occasion, I've heard people chatting or operating hand tools, apparently because the local studio left it's microphone open and live. At times, they've played one prerecorded show over another for 30 minutes or more.

The obvious solution is satellite radio. The commercial radio stations around here are a barren wasteland, anyway. I've set the FM tuner to scan through the stations, and gone down the dial twice without finding anything I wanted to hear. Sirius satellite radio broadcasts A Prairie Home Companion in perfect fidelity every week for just $13/month. Unfortunately, NPR news is on XM radio for another $13/month. It would be way too much trouble to install two different satellite radio systems in the car or in the house, even if I could justify the expense for both subscriptions. What I need is a satellite radio merger.

And indeed, XM and Sirius have been in merger talks, held up only by the FCC for a year. 374 days ago, the two companies announced their merger plans, and FCC regulators have been hedging about whether to let them do it ever since. Meanwhile, both companies have pleaded with their stockholders to have patience. Now, I'm getting impatient, too. I can't get my NPR news or A Praire Home Companion from my local crappy public radio station, and I can't get satellite radio service that offers both of them, either. Is there any good reason for the holdup? Has the FCC just forgotten about satellite radio?

UPDATE: The local public radio station, hearing my plea perhaps, resumed broadcasting this morning. For one and a half hours. Then, dead again. FCC, please hurry up.
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