Another 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.