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Latino Group Backs XM/Sirius

The Latino Coalition has weighed in in favor of the merger between satellite radio companies XM and Sirius.

The board of directors of the Washington-based groups, which says it promotes government policies it concludes are in the best interests of the Latino community, says the FCC should approve the deal because it would strengthen the satellite radio industry as an alternative to traditional radio companies that they say have "ignored" the Latino market.

The group is careful to describe satellite radio as a competitor in the "audio entertainment marketplace." Backers of the deal argue that satellite radio is one of several competing audio services, including cable and Internet radio as well as terrestrial broadcasting. Broadcasters counter that satellite radio is its own marketplace and the deal would create a monopoly, a view shared by the chair of a key Senate Committee.

"The satellite radio industry has been a launching pad for Hispanic programmers and is an increasingly popular service for a vast number of Latino consumers and other listeners who enjoy the richness of Hispanic culture, arts and news."

The group argues that the elimination of duplicate programming after the merger would provide more room for Hispanics and others. That view is apparently shared by another advocate for minorities.

On Tuesday,  the deal got the thumbs-up from the National Black Chamber of Commerce, which says that the companies have promised more opportunities for African American programmers and already offer dozens of channels and argue that the combined company will offer even more, and at lower prices.