SiriuX Satellite Radio?

Satellite merger?As you’ve probably heard, Sirius and XM have announced plans to merge their two companies into one larger satellite radio provider. It’s still unclear at this point if regulators will allow it though.

CNN Money reports that both companies will need to seek shareholder approval, and with that done the new company would need FCC approval as well. Congress is also looking into the matter in the form of a review by the House Judiciary Committee. Committee Chairman John Conyers issued a statement recently about the planned review by an antitrust task force.

We are holding this hearing to allow members to probe whether this merger will enhance or diminish competition in the digital music distribution industry,

Just a few years ago, regulators rejected a similar proposed merger between satellite TV providers, DirecTV and DISH Network. It remains to be seen whether they will allow the merger of the only two providers of satellite radio.

Ultimately, it seems there will be only one satellite radio provider, either due to a merger or simply one or the other going out of business.

If the merger is allowed by regulators, the two companies plan to offer listeners an “a la carte” option as to which channels they subscribe to. This could be a nice feature for those wanting a limited number of stations and desiring not to have offensive channels such as the one carrying Howard Stern.

How this might affect the bluegrass listeners is yet to be determined. Based on this comment found on the XM website, it seems certain that there will be a combining of the bluegrass channels.

a merger would ultimately allow the new company to eliminate duplicative music programming and free up bandwidth

I know this sounds bad, but, if they were to retain the best of each (Sirius and XM) channel, the emerging bluegrass programing could be quite good. On the other hand, it will mean the cancellation of some shows, which is sure to upset fans of those shows. Sirius currently makes use of a large number of “part-time” bluegrass DJs recruited from among the ranks of professional bluegrass musicians. XM, on the other hand, leaves the majority of hosting duties in the hands of professional DJ, Kyle Cantrell. What balance would be struck between the two formats is unknown at this point.

One wonders how Sirius and XM subscribers feel about the impending shift in programing. Will the merger be a good thing for bluegrass fans? You tell me…