FCC to say yes to XM-Sirius

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said Sunday that he will approve a merger between the nation's sole satellite radio operators, XM and Sirius, a decision that could remove the last regulatory hurdle in the lengthy and heavily criticized move to make the companies one.

Martin came to the decision after the companies agreed last week to several commitments intended to prevent the monopoly from raising programming prices and from stifling competition among radio makers, aides to the chairman said in an interview Sunday.

Critics have argued that a merger of Washington, D.C.-based XM and Sirius of New York would hurt consumers who would have fewer choices of programming and radio transmitters and who would be charged higher prices because of a lack of rivals.

As early as this week, Martin is expected to approve the merger, which at least two of the remaining four commissioners must also agree to, the aides said.