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Saturday, July 26, 2008

The FCC Is Costing Me $17 A Month

The FCC is going to cost me $17.00 a month (actually $16.99) pretty soon. They finally, after nearly a year and a half, approved the XM/Sirius satellite radio merger. Now I'll pay for the service.

Right now I'm using my 3 months free subscription to XM with my new company truck. I love it, but have resisted in the past getting satellite radio because MLB is on XM and the NFL is on Sirius. I didn't really have a desire to have redundant receivers in my vehicle so I could listen to both when I'm out of town. So, neither of them got my money.

Now that they will be offering the "best of both package" on XM for $16.99 a month, I'll have to subscribe.

The 18 month wait for this merger; 4 months for the FCC after the Department of Justice approved it; shows the power of other media lobbyists in DC. Terrestrial broacasters are screaming this is unfair to them, because it will be a "monopoly" for the satellite folks. However, I disagree, based on my own radio usage.

I (used to) listen to AM radio about 45% of the time, so I can hear local news and talk shows. I'd listen to FM for music about 30% of the time. The other 25% was listening to CD's when I'm out of broadcast range of stations I like or know.

While XM has reduced to time I listen to both AM and FM, and CD's it hasn't become the dominant form of entertainment in my vehicle. I still find uses for all three other options.

Other folks use IPods in the car, along with the radios, and CD's so the idea that there is suddenly some sort of "radio monopoly" is a joke. It was never just about radio, it's always been about entertainment availability.

The ground based radio industry's worry is that with no competition in satellite; and all of the options now available on one receiver; folks like me would subscribe and stop listening to the commerical supported folks. While I will subscribe, I'll still be listening to both AM and FM, there are local news stories, and personalities I enjoy listening to on them. I'll just have more choices on what I listen to now.

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