NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sirius XM Radio ( SIRI) star Howard Stern has something of a martyr complex when it comes to the Federal Communications Commission. Stern's martyr complex found a new road to victimhood on Monday, when Stern noted on his show a satellite radio industry news report that his old nemesis, the FCC, was considering a new proposal to allow wireless services to encroach on the wireless frequencies that satellite radio paid to build. A livid Stern -- though not quite as well-informed as the www.satwaves.com reporter who wrote the piece from which Stern quoted -- started off his anti-FCC rant by saying, "It seems that wherever I go the FCC gets up my ass." The FCC issue is related to the wireless spectrum within which satellite radio operates. Stern explained to his faithful flock of listeners that satellite radio operates between 2320 megahertz and 2345 megahertz, and for that privilege, satellite radio spent $170 million to build the bandwidth. However, that $170 million spent by satellite radio may now benefit wireless services that will interfere with the broadcast of satellite radio like Sirius XM. Stern told his listeners that the FCC is considering allowing services that use the space on the wireless spectrum close to satellite's range to encroach on the satellite virtual territory. Stern said "it would destroy our ability to broadcast." What's more, Stern said that Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin indicated that the FCC deliberations were "extremely disturbing." Stern's latest focus of his long-time hatred of the FCC -- which led him to satellite radio in the first place -- led into a long digression on the FCC's attempts to block the merger of satellite radio providers Sirius and XM.
"It took 17 months for the FCC to approve our merger, and some big mergers, like oil companies, went through at a record pace," a typically irate Stern noted to listeners. Stern continued, "It was farcical. Special interest groups representing terrestrial radio were trying to block the merger, and there were lame attempts to make the merger sound like a monopoly." "The merger almost had to stop, and that would have bankrupted one of these companies, and it was hard to work here and keep a lid on it and not talking about it every goddamned minute," Stern said from his 2320 megahertz to 2345 megahertz bully pulpit. Stern summed up his feelings about the latest FCC deliberations, saying, "This is unbelievable." Stern took the opportunity to wax rhapsodic too, about the mission he had when he first came to satellite radio, and one could almost imagine the Satellite Radio Nation hymn playing and the Satellite Radio Nation flag whipping behind him. "My mission was to see Sirius grow, to watch a little form of media grow from 600,000 subscribers when we came here, and we saw it grow to 19 million subscribers ... mission accomplished. I'm declaring this medium will survive." Stern, not known for his financial analysis of anything other than credit-cards bills from strip clubs like Scores, also noted that Sirius was profitable for the first time in its history this year, though he was unsure exactly how to describe the financial performance and turned to a news guru for help, who explained that the Sirius was cash-flow positive for the first time. Stern may not be a CFA, but he is an expert at ranting and raving. Did his latest broadside against the FCC help Sirius shares? Sirius shares began trading Monday at 95 cents, fell to 90 cents by the end of the day, but has since recovered to 93 cents at midday Wednesday. In true mercenary fashion, Stern also used the opportunity to remind listeners that this is his last year under contract, and he doesn't know if he will be back.
Stern even quipped that if he really wanted a new challenge, he would return to terrestrial radio and try to revive that dying form. However, in true martyr fashion, Stern begged off the latest FCC battle by remarking that he didn't have the energy to fight the FCC anymore. It didn't seem that way in his six-minute attack on the FCC's latest attempt to "destroy" both him and Sirius. For Sirius investors as irate as Stern seems at the latest FCC plot, comments are being solicited by the FCC at its Web site. -- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.
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