Sirius XM Radio Inc (SIRI) Faces Probe: Is Digital Radio Racist?

Updated on

Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI) might be the subject of an FCC probe after an Atlanta based radio company, Redding Communications Inc., accused the company of suppressing minority voices on its broadcast service. Redding CEO, Robert Redding Jr., is preparing a request for a probe along with his legal team. Sirius stock has been buoyant so far in 2013, this request is unlikely to slow the company down.

Sirius XM Radio Inc (SIRI) Faces Probe: Is Digital Radio Racist?

The compliant relates to the handling of channel 128, titled Urban View and formerly The Power. Earlier in February, the channel cut black political programming for Al Sharpton among others, according to the Redding News Review Website. The programming changes that came with the change in name took the Redding News Review off of the Sirius Digital Radio channel.

The gist of the complaint is that Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI) is reducing the amount of time dedicated to political broadcasts on the channel. The time is being filled with non-political content. The Redding News Review Editor at Large Wade Simmons calls the move a “slap in the face to the black community.”

The economic motives behind the move are questioned, highlighting Al Sharpton’s national profile and his ability to draw an audience. Reverend Sharpton had his time on the digital radio channel cut by an hour. That, according to Simmons, is evidence that there is more than economic motive behind the changes at the site.

The FCC doesn’t open up probes lightly. The claims of racist programming practices may not be enough to sway the body, but the regulator has often surprised the market with its choice of probes.

On the other hand, this move may just be a publicity stunt from Redding News Review. The little known digital radio channel will likely get more visitors to its website in the wake of this legal action. If Redding is to question the motives of Sirius XM Radio, it is only right to question the motives behind the company’s lawsuit.

So far in 2013, Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI) shares have risen by more than 6%. In the last twelve months the company’s shares are up by almost 40%. The last year has been good to the company, and the year ahead looks to promise even more in terms of market domination. It’s earnings reports haven’t been half bad either. The firm’s acting CEO , James Meyer, has done a good job at the firm, and has been touted as a good permanent candidate.

Signup to ValueWalk!

Get the latest posts on what's happening in the hedge fund and investing world sent straight to your inbox! 
This is information you won't get anywhere else!