Two U.S. satellite radio services on Sept. 6 told Canada's broadcast regulator they can live with Canadian-content obligations imposed on their upcoming rollouts of Canadianized services.


TORONTO (The Hollywood Report) -- Two U.S. satellite radio services on Sept. 6 told Canada's broadcast regulator they can live with Canadian-content obligations imposed on their upcoming rollouts of Canadianized services.

The move comes as the federal government this week debates whether to allow the June 16 decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to license New York-based Sirius Satellite Radio and Washington-based XM Satellite Radio Holdings to operate in Canada, or whether to order the CRTC to review its decision to hand the U.S. satellite radio services Canadian subscription licenses.

Both Sirius and XM met a deadline of 150 days from the June 16 licensing decision by the CRTC to signal whether they could live with the Canadian-content obligations.

Sirius, which has partnered with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Toronto-based Standard Broadcasting Corp. to launch Sirius Canada, and Canadian Satellite Radio, a joint venture between Canadian businessman John Bitove Jr. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings, both said they separately wrote to the CRTC to indicate they would launch Canadianized services as required by the regulator.

The CRTC ordered the U.S. satellite radio services to offer at least eight Canadian-produced channels, and a maximum of nine U.S. channels for each Canadian channel, as part of their Canadianized digital radio packages.

That 10% Canadian-content requirement is far below the 35% Canadian-content obligation facing domestic radio stations here.

The federal cabinet's decision later this week on whether to reconsider the Sirius and XM licenses for Canada will be closely watched by Canadian broadcasters and cultural nationalists questioning whether Ottawa and the CRTC can continue to protect domestic artists, including musicians, in the emerging digital age.