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Statement from NAB on Reports Regarding XM-Sirius Monopoly-Merger


WASHINGTON, DC -- NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton issued a statement today following several news reports regarding statements made by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin on the proposed monopoly-merger of XM and Sirius Satellite Radio.

“Given their systematic breaking of virtually every rule set forth by the FCC in their 11 years of existence, it would be curious if the Commission now rewards XM and Sirius with a monopoly,” said Wharton.

Earlier this month, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee related to XM and Sirius’s failed promise to the FCC to develop an interoperable radio receiver.

Additionally, Sirius has admitted requesting manufacturers to produce Sirius radios that operate beyond the interference regulations set by the FCC. In Sirius’s annual report (Form 10-K) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year, the company disclosed on page 26 that “certain SIRIUS personnel requested manufacturers to produce SIRIUS radios that were not consistent with the FCC’s rules.” In April 2007, Bloomberg reported that at least one-third of the 800 antennas used by XM were “placed in unapproved locations or emitted signals that were too strong.”

A 2006 study of 17 wireless devices commonly used to transmit audio signals from satellite radio devices and MP3 players to in-dash car radios showed that 13 of the 17 devices exceeded field strength limits set by the FCC. Six of the noncompliant devices exceeded strength limits by 2,000 percent, and one surpassed strength limits by 20,000 percent. The Associated Press reported in 2006 that such interference resulted in some Christian radio listeners being inundated by Howard Stern programming.


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