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Congressman Gene Green

Representing the 29th District of Texas

Congressmen Pickering and Green Introduce Satellite Radio Bill

March 24, 2004
Press Release
Washington, DC - Two Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Representatives Chip Pickering (R-MS) and Gene Green (D-TX), today introduced legislation aimed at protecting local radio broadcasting and more strictly enforcing the licenses of satellite radio companies.
            The Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act, would clarify that Digital Audio Satellite Radio licensees could not circumvent their obligation to provide national audio programming by inserting local content into their network of ground based repeaters.
The Federal Communications Commission licensed satellite radio to be a national only radio service, said Green.   This bill will enforce the Commissions original intent. 
            In the past, several Members of Congress have requested that the Federal Communications Commission look into satellite radios plans for its terrestrial repeater network.   Eventually, in December, the larger satellite radio provider, XM Satellite Radio, signed an agreement stating that it would not use its ground-based repeaters for local programming.  Just a few weeks after signing that agreement, however, the company announced plans to distribute local content via its national channels.  The Pickering-Green bill would also require the FCC to examine whether this practice is consistent with the FCCs intent.
            Over the past 19 months, satellite radio companies have been very evasive about their local programming plans, concluded Green.  At first, they promised to provide national programming exclusively.  Their actions since have demonstrated other intentions.  Our legislation will hold them to their original promise and ensure that satellite radio does not endanger the vital public service local radio broadcasters provide during emergencies.