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AME Church Backs XM/Sirius

Satellite companies XM and Sirius have, appropriately,  looked to the heavens for help in their pitch to merge.

In a release sent out Tuesday, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which serves some150,000 members in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., as well as North Carolina, has thrown its "strong support" behind the merger.

Bishop Adam J. Richardson Jr. said in the release that the reason was that mainstream media companies have "neglected" African American music and culture."

“Major radio stations tend to program for a narrow audience that often excludes African American voices,” said Bishop Richardson.  “It is in the public interest to strengthen the already challenged satellite radio industry in order to lower prices, give consumers more choice and create more options in the radio industry."

XM and Sirius have attracted support from a variety of minority groups who say they have been marginalized by terrestrial broadcasting, while terrestrial broadcasters, led by the National Association of Broadcasters, have drawn strong support from Capitol Hill for their efforts to block the merger.