Women for space radio merger

Fans and other folks are obviously divided on the wisdom and legality of the proposed Sirius-XM satellite radio merger. As we've all heard, loud opposition comes from, among others, the National Association of Broadcasters, which has called on regulators to block the deal and sent the FCC an analysis it obtained from Crowell & Moring, an international law firm specializing in antitrust, characterizing the proposed merger as "clearly anticompetitive."

And as I mentioned in the Flybys last Friday, two lawmakers have sent a
letter to DOJ and FCC asking for help with some thorny antitrust questions in connection with the matter.

But we might have missed the gender angle in this satellite radio affair. That is, until last week, when the
National Coalition of Women's Organizations, "a nonpartisan, nonprofit coalition of more than 200 women's organizations across the nation collectively representing over eleven million women" called upon FCC to approve the merger.

As NCWO Chair Susan Scanlan reasons, "Today, satellite radio is a mere 3.4 percent of the overall radio market --a market dominated by men. A stronger satellite offering can increase the audience for satellite radio. A more affordable and more diverse satellite radio market would be valuable not only to our members, but also to women across the United States."

(So it ain't just Howard Stern's strippers?)

Stay tuned, as we say. The off-air maneuvering can be more interesting than some of the radio programming itself. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen how much the antitrust regulators take all this into consideration in deciding whether one satellite radio company is better than two.

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IMAGE: Oprah Winfrey and Hugh Panero, CEO of XM Satellite Radio, ring the NASDAQ opening bell to celebrate the debut of the "Oprah & Friends" channel, September 25, 2006. Courtesy NASDAQ.

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