Numerous questions remain about the just-proposed union between XM and Sirius, including: Will the FCC see the newly formed company as a monopoly? What will happen to their combined staff? And, most importantly, how will this affect Ludacris?
XM and Sirius will also need to address what might be called the Howard Stern problem: The foul-mouthed radio host is among several edgy radio personalities that decamped to satellite radio, where regulators have no jurisdiction to enforce federal indecency rules. The FCC can only enforce indecency rules on free over-the-air broadcasts.
Requiring XM-Sirius to voluntarily abide by federal indecency standards could be one condition that is placed on the deal. The companies appear to be trying to address that issue by allowing consumers great flexibility in programming. That might include allowing consumers to purchase a tier of service that didn’t include Mr. Stern and other radio personalities whose shows might be considered inappropriate for children.
Of course, Stern isn’t the only host whose banter could come under scrutiny, as the combined networks’ line-ups include such potentially potty-mouthed stars as Luda, Snoop Dogg, Trick Daddy, Rancid, the Who, Eminem, and “Mista Shitstorm” himself, Richard Simmons.
Sirius-XM’s Fate Hinges on Definitions [WSJ.com]