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Farmer Group Backs XM-Sirius Merger

The latest group to weigh in on the XM Satellite Radio-Sirius Satellite Radio merger is a group that helps out black-owned family farms in the south.

Why the interest in a satellite-radio merger?

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund said rural communities are "underserved" by terrestrial radio and argued that the merger will provide "lower prices and increased programming choice" to its 20,000 member families in 12 states.

XM and Sirius have offered to provide a la carte programming -- although it would require the purchase of new equipment -- to boost their minority-targeted offerings and to cap prices on their service, all with an eye toward gaining regulatory approval for the deal.

This has attracted a number of minority and rural groups who say terrestrial radio is not sufficiently diverse.

But that approval faces some big hurdles, including opposition by major lawmakers and an earlier FCC pronouncement that both satellite licenses should not be held by one company.