XM and Sirius join forces to grease the FCC's wheels

It's been a long, arduous, paperwork-strewn path, but at last Sirius and XM Satellite Radio companies are . . . a little bit closer to coming together. The long-awaited merger is still in the hands of the Federal Communications Commission, but both XM and Sirius are inching closer to their goals. The two companies have announced that they are actively discussing possible merger terms with the FCC.

According to a press release Sirius issued today, both companies are attempting to enter a "Consent Decree" with the FCC, to finally end the commission's investigations into concerns about the companies' transmitters. The Consent Decree could involve XM and Sirius agreeing to shut down or modify over 60 repeater towers, and making "voluntary contributions" of $19 million to the United States Treasury.

The agreement isn't finalized yet, but XM radio will probably make the majority of the concessions, shutting down 50 repeaters and contributing $17 million to the Treasury. Of course, since this entire process is to ensure the merger of the two companies, the point seems pretty moot.

No timeframe has been set for XM and Sirius' merger, and there's no guarantee that the FCC will even agree to the consent Decree. By the time everything goes through, we might be listening to singles from Chinese Democracy on XM-Sirius' Oldies station.