05/29

Show me the Consumers in the “Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio”

From Radio Ink:

In an ex parte filing with the FCC, the Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio has asked the commission to hold hearings on the proposed merger of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio because new documents submitted by Sirius on April 10 “cast the proposed merger in a very negative light and call into question the truthfulness and candor of both Sirius and XM with respect to their dealings with the commission as licensees and during this proceeding.”

A cursory reading might suggest that there is actually a group of consumers who are so riled about this pending merger that they would band together into a coalition to make their voices heard.

But wait. How come nobody is asking the obvious (but harder) questions?

Who, for example, is the “Consumer Coalition for Competition”? And does it actually have anything to do with consumers?

Of course not. In fact, the real identity of this group has been public knowledge for some time. And it should certainly inform the newsworthy-ness of their silly news releases.

The group describes itself this way: “a group of concerned Sirius and XM subscribers have formed the Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio.”

Not surprisingly this group of “concerned subscribers” is financed (in part, at least) by the NAB and their address, it turns out, is a UPS Store in D.C.

According to the Center for Public Integrity:

…all of the lobbying on behalf of C3SR takes place out of the offices of the law firm of Williams Mullen. Attorney [and lobbyist] Julian L. Shepard chairs the firm’s communications practice, and is the former assistant general counsel for NAB

Did you know that the NAB and a slew of high-powered Washington lobbyists lead double-lives as “concerned Sirius and XM subscribers?” i certainly didn’t. But I’ll bet they are certainly concerned!

Look, there’s nothing wrong with building a case. But when you create shell organizations to mask who the “consumer voices” are really coming from, you’re calling consumers “stupid” and slaying your own argument in the process.

These particular “consumers” should be more concerned about credibility than about satellite radio.

And this is a group deriding the alleged “truthfulness and candor” of Sirius and XM?!

Do as I say, not as I do.

* = required field
  • http://gnumakins.blogspot.com/ Rich Tubbs

    Thanks for pointing out the connection.
    It is amazing how reporters in all media are spoonfed press-release news and don’t take the time to check out the backstory. It is a laziness of reporting that begins in the small-markets and continues all the way up the media chain.
    I haven’t read the Radio Ink article, so I don’t want to automatically brand them with this comment.

  • Madmig

    These so-called organizations are so very slimy.
    Big MONEY Big DEALS. Had the ice companies in the early 1900′s invested in refrigeration instead of passing it off as a ‘FAD’ they would still be around.
    Now Free Radio seems to claim and even dictate what we prefer. We prefer CONTENT not ads or prepackaged TV-DINNER type of music that will starve our soul dry.
    Take the corn syrup out of radio (for God’s sake) If it’s gonna be sweet, make it real! Let us, the consumers, dictate what they provide to us!!! It is UNAMERICAN to snafu a legitimate business or technology out of exsistance because of a group of businessmen and/or lobbyists who have failed their constituents-The American Public.
    Next they’ll be selling us cars with block wheels because we ‘Asked for it’ and we’ll get better gas mileage.

  • George

    This is old old old news.
    Even you railed about it a long time ago.
    No one cares.

  • http://www.radioandrecords.com Keith Berman

    R&R pointed out the connection as recently as an article posted on our website on Wednesday:
    The document from the group fails to acknowledge that the group itself, supposedly comprised of a group of George Washington University law students, is financially supported by the NAB, an archenemy of the merger proposal, and handled through the law firm representing the NAB in its effort to stop the merger, Williams Mullen, based in Washington. The filing was signed by C3SR’s counsel, Julian Shepard, a partner in the Williams Mullen firm. In fact, the filing itself, is highly redacted and much of the information in the first 11 pages of the filing is incomplete.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/mramsey1/ Mark Ramsey

    Nice, Keith!

  • Hector

    Didn’t NAB President Rehr admit before the National Press Club that satellite radio is competition? This move is just a sleazy attempt by them to set up a faux group that sounds legitimate that is only trying to stall the processing of a merger.
    The thing is that American’s are getting cheated of a new form of entertainment because of these lowlife tactics but more importantly, by the FCC’s going along with it all. Rural people nationawide love their satellite radio. Without it they’d have maybe one or two choices on their radios. They feel they need this service.

  • bobyoung

    Why doesn’t this news surprise me? Lawyers and politics are ruining this country. I also agree with Rich Tubbs about lazy reporters getting spoon fed press releases instead of working to find out the real story, sickening. I don’t believe anything anymore when it comes to press stuff about radio, HD radio: (especially that) Satellite, TV, FCC etc. They are all on the take and are corrupt. Hopefully we’ll get an honest FCC with a new adminstration.

  • George

    Since when do organizations have to say where their money comes from?
    If you read most of the complaints filed with the FCC, it’s obvious they’re being driven by right wing religious groups. But they never admit it, and they don’t state it in their complaints.
    If you study the GW Law Center’s history, it’s the school that challenged broadcast cigarette advertising in the 60s. The reason tobacco advertising was banned was because law students at this school complained. Did they get money from some group to help them? I bet they did. They’ve been taking on issues like this for 40 years. It’s what they do.
    If they get some money from the NAB, it’s probably not much, and this is a group that would file a lawsuit against a group of grandmas if it got them some attention.

  • http://radioactivegavin.wordpress.com radioactivegavin

    Uh, hey Mark… do you know the history of the satellite radio industry? the fact that the so-called Dept. of Justice is allowing this merger at all is a joke… Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports; Free Press, the largest grassroots media reform group in the country; Consumer Federation of America… Dude! This merger is a roadmap to monopoly. I want to know who is funding you! The nonprofits aren’t pretending NAB isn’t interested. Use your blog for research and information, that’s why I read you. Don’t be a hitman, please.

  • http://www.fantoo.com Carol

    Monopoly? A monopoly is when you are not free to make any choice regarding a product or service. Take cable for instance. I am only allowed to subscribe to Comcast. I have zero choice in the matter. Satellite radio competes with terrestrial radio, iPods, iTunes, CDs, podcasts, and the internet at large. The merger of XM and SIRIUS is not a monopoly, it is a survival tactic. Without the merger we are likely going to lose out on the technology. Jeez…what is the big deal? I truly fail to see how consumers are hurt by this.

  • http://www.orbitcast.com/archives/pot-meet-kettle-c3sr-questions-the-integrity-of-fcc-process.html Orbitcast

    Pot, meet Kettle: C3SR questions the integrity of FCC process

    C3SR, the broadcaster-funded organization with addresses located at a UPS Store, is questioning the decision-making process of the FCC. The group claims that the concessions offered by Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. “r…

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