So where does this put "Howard Stern via Satellite"?

Scott Fybush
Tue Mar 23 21:58:54 EST 2004

At 07:16 PM 3/23/2004 -0500, Sean Smyth wrote:
>Roger Kola writes:
> > "In December 1988, a federal judge ruled the FCC had
> > jurisdiction over all
> > radio signals entering the United States, including those
> > originating from ships
> > in international waters."
> >3) So how would satellite transmission differ from RNI's fate?
>Especially if
> >it originates in the US...wouldn't Stern just be another renegade? Do
>we get
> >to keep the satellite?
>The signal received by subscribers "originates" from the satellite, not
>a terrestrial transmitter or cell phone tower. Yes the programming is
>produced in the U.S. but it's non-terrestrial (I'm guessing hence the
>name XM...eXtraterrestrial modulation). It's akin to cable in the sense
>that cable is a separate for-pay service that's not broadcast over the
>public airwaves, thus out of the realm of court decisions such as
>Pacifica, et al.

The satellite signal differs from RNI in two ways: most important, the 
satellite operators are operating with fully valid FCC licenses, which RNI 
of course was not. Note that both XM and Sirius' uplinks are in the US, and 
the uplinks most certainly require licenses to operate.

Second - and this should answer the Stern question - because the satellite 
signal is encrypted and is made available only to subscribers who 
specifically request it and pay for it, the content regulations that affect 
(I almost typed "afflict," and should have) terrestrial broadcasters don't 
apply here, and there would be an interesting court case if Congress tried 
to extend the FCC's content oversight to this area (and to pay cable, too).


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