An update on the merger of satellite radio monoliths XM and Sirius. Plus, listeners weigh in about our program marking the fifth year of the Iraq war.
BOB GARFIELD: And I'm Bob Garfield with an update. Sirius and XM, the two satellite radio monoliths that make up the entire satellite radio universe, cleared a major hurdle on the way to becoming a single colossus this week. The Justice Department's Antitrust Division approved the 4.6 billion-dollar buyout of XM by Sirius, a merger first proposed in February of 2007.
Satellite radio subscribers are now one step closer to hearing Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey and Bob Edwards on the same channel. Dare to dream.
The Federal Communications Commission has yet to weigh in, but most media watchers expect it to approve the deal despite critics' objections, including the National Association of Broadcasters, which says the merger will create a monopoly.
But beyond FCC approval lies the ultimate question for satellite radio – how to compete with technologies like Internet radio and podcasts – and, oh, yeah, how to make money doing it. BROOKE GLADSTONE: And now, some letters. Mostly positive mail came into our mailbox about our five-year retrospective on our coverage of the coverage of the war in Iraq. There was a more mixed assessment posted in our comments online. Here are a few of those.
Kathryn Hoffman of Allentown, Pennsylvania wrote in to thank us, quote, "for an incisive, refreshingly trenchant history and analysis of the professional media's weakness in assessing and reporting the Iraq war – from the misleading and deceptions in the buildup to the sorry five-year mark." BOB GARFIELD: kfitz of Mosier, Oregon, was not impressed, quote, "Wow, NPR - for five years you've been the spokespiece for the Pentagon but suddenly you found the courage to report the truth. Is it because you sense a regime change in the White House that might be more supportive of real reporting of the Iraq occupation?" BROOKE GLADSTONE: But Kevin Hales of Durham, North Carolina says we've been too critical, quote, "You should examine what would have happened if during World War II people had held the media, the military and the U.S. to the same rules of conduct that you insist upon today. Being a self-examining, self-critical society is vital. But holding the U.S. to absurdly imbalanced rules of conduct to the point of self-debilitation is horribly dangerous, not only for us, but for the whole world." BOB GARFIELD: Keep those comments coming to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them at onthemedia.org, and don't forget to tell us where you live and how to pronounce your name.