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Sirius XM launches channel leasing site; Radio One still not happy

Sirius XMAnother step forward for applicants who want to lease out those Sirius XM “qualified entity” channels that the satellite radio service promised to offer after it merged two years ago. Sirius XM has now thrown up a website where applicants can make their case for a show (or an entire channel).

What is Sirius XM looking for? Here are the deets:

In selecting programming for this set-aside, we are looking for the following:  Programming representing diverse viewpoints and/or diverse entertainment content; improved service to historically underserved audiences; original content of a type not otherwise available to Sirius XM subscribers; access to new sources of content and new entrants to mass media.  Applications should demonstrate that proposer has the financial, operational, and technical ability to perform its obligations under the lease.  We will select programmers that, in our judgment, will be able to meet their obligations and deliver their proposed mix or type of programming for the duration of the lease term.

The deadline for applications is January 7, 2011.  Sirius XM has to disclose its “tentative selections” by March 2 and sign leasing agreements by April 17.

But Radio One, the black oriented radio station network, doesn’t like Sirius XM’s definition of a qualified entity, which, in fairness, was created by the FCC.

The FCC has made this set-aside available only to lessees that (1) are not directly or indirectly owned, in whole or in part, by Sirius XM or an affiliate of Sirius XM; (2) do not share any common officers, directors or employees with Sirius XM or any affiliate of Sirius XM; and (3) do not have any existing relationships with Sirius XM for the supply of programming during the two years prior to October 19, 2010.

Radio One in a recent filing to the FCC protests this definition.

As shared by Radio One in prior comments and during ex parte communications over the course of these proceedings, we believe that it also is critical that a Qualified Entity possess sufficient

financial capability to provide the proposed services, as well as the resources to offer programming consistent with broadcast industry standards and any applicable laws. That an entity may have had limited prior interaction with Sirius XM should not, on its face, act as an absolute disqualification from the lease channel set-aside process.

So Radio One supports a proposal already made by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council to provide that “a party will not be disqualified if it has supplied programming to Sirius XM, but: (l) the party did not supply a majority of the programming heard on the designated Sirius or XM channel; (2) the party did not have its brand associated with the designated Sirius or XM channel; or (3) the party derived nominal or no net revenue (e.g., due to a programming swap) from Sirius or XM from supplying the programming.”

It’s pretty obvious that Radio One doesn’t want to be left out of this opportunity. But the whole point of those channels was to give programmers who don’t have air time elsewhere a break. We’ll just have to wait to see how the FCC and Sirius make this call.

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0 Responses to Sirius XM launches channel leasing site; Radio One still not happy

  1. Will_Tucker_FMX December 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    I recently went a couple of rounds with one of MMTC’s zombies on this issue, speculating Sirius XM’s apparent inability to meet the ‘minority ownership’ requirement from the FCC was the corporation’s way of explaining no entity with >51% “minority ownership” qualified financially to lease all or part of a channel. She suggested Radio One could still meet a revised standard, from which racial classifications have since been removed. I replied by pointing out Radio One’s ongoing financial struggles and its divestiture (forfeiture?) of four channels back to (then) XM Radio in 2008 likely disqualifies the broadcaster from entering into a lease at this time.

    Taking your report as accurate, it’s seems Radio One can’t meet the revised standard either — minus some new clause which would exempt its earlier failure in satrad.

  2. Matthew Lasar December 1, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    Will: We can all disagree with each other on these things, but it isn’t very kind or helpful to call people “zombies.”

  3. Jenebaspeaks December 6, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    William, you idiot. Who are you calling a “zombie”?

  4. Jenebaspeaks December 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    You go around the internet with half understandings of a wide variety of issues, and pretend to know more than those whose site you troll for information. You are so clueless about these issues. You have half information and go around purporting to know the ins and outs. You are exposed.

  5. Jenebaspeaks December 6, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    I DID NOT purport that Radio One could meet any requirement. All I did was point out the history of the issue to my readers. All that other stuff, it appears you did not understand AGAIN and went on your own tangent and got all confused, As USUAL!

  6. Matthew Lasar December 7, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Ok kiddies, time for everybody to behave.

  7. Jenebaspeaks December 7, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Okay, Sorry to SPAM your blog like this Matthew. I just can’t stand the idea of being misquoted and misrepresented. Once upon a time, I followed the Sirius/XM merger and had several clients who thought they’d benefit for the carve-out as initially delineated by Siriux/XM itself and later ratified by the FCC and put into an Order.

    The Order back then had the race-based language in it. So, on behalf of my clients, we wrote the FCC, visited their offices on numerous occasion and were technically competitors or opponents to Radio One who was after the same or similar benefit.

    In any event, we chased after the FCC until my clients all gave up. In between then and recently, the rules were race based. The FCC started getting signals from various Constitutional protection think tanks that they would sue the FCC should they institute a rule that has any racial language in it without first justifying the value of inclusion of such language pursuant to a requirement by the US Supreme Court in Adarand. v. Pena.

    Under that case, federal agencies are prohibited from using race in any statute unless and until they commission and release studies that justify the use. It is to meet the Strict Scruitny standard which that court decision expanded. The prior standard was rational basis.

    In any event, since the FCC had NOT done those studies and feared a law suit, it changed the language of the Order and requirement to what it is now.

    Of course, as is, it takes away the core basis for the concession in the first place: a diversity carve out. The point of the carve out was to ensure that only qualified minorities program those channels and to increase diversity of voices in content and ownership.

    With this new broader language, the pool of qualified applicants can expand so much that if Sirius/XM wanted, it could choose not to open those channels to any person of color at all.

    So I was trying to explain that history in my post – which was pre-current rules.

  8. Will_Tucker_FMX December 7, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    As much as I’m hesitant to make you the issue, Jeneba, I’ll happily debate you on this issue, point by point, any time, any place.

  9. Matthew Lasar December 7, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    Any place but this comment thread, which is now closed.

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