WASHINGTON, DC – - NAB today asked the FCC to defer action on XM and Sirius's request for a government-sanctioned monopoly until it had sufficient time to review pending documentation to be released through a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
"Specifically, NAB requests that the Commission formally toll its 180-day 'timeclock' until NAB has a reasonable opportunity to review and supplement the record with certain documents relating to the serious apparent wrongdoing by XM and Sirius 'executive and senior-level employees' regarding the operation of FM modulators/transmitters and/or terrestrial repeaters," read the nine-page filing. "[T]here is a compelling public interest in having these documents considered and evaluated in the context of the merger proceeding."
Earlier this year, NAB filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the FCC seeking information related to the satellite radio companies' history of various rules violations. Following a ruling that granted the partial release of the requested information, the satellite radio companies and several current and former employees filed applications for review, delaying the release of key facts that hold a direct bearing on XM and Sirius's merger application.
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, 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, 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."
On multiple occasions, NAB has urged lawmakers and policymakers to investigate the tactics employed by both XM and Sirius. A 2006 study of 17 wireless devices commonly used to transmit audio signals from satellite radio devices and MP3 players to in-dash cars 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 National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at www.nab.org.