You’ve probably heard by now (and we’ve kept it on the downlow here at PBRTV) that the nation’s two satellite radio companies merged in late-July. New York City-based Sirius bought Washington, D.C.-based XM and the company is known as Sirius-XM. With the FCC’s 3-2 vote in favor of the merger, the long 17-month approval process was over. But the move is not without continuing criticism from folks at the FCC and the NAB. Now the combined company has to worry about programming contracts made with celebs like Howard Stern.

There is also the question of how the programming will be presented to the now-combined 18.5 million subscribers. A plan has been put into effect and will roll out in October. Before you run out and get a new receiver though, know that it is only necessary if you desire to get an “a la carte” package containing elements of both satellite companies. The current subscription plans will remain available being souly XM or Sirius and there will be a 3-year cap on prices. But for those interested in receiving both, here’s a brief run down of the options.

A La carte packages include:

  • 50 channels of Sirius or XM with extra channels added for 25 additional cents each month (more for “premium” channels) The total isn’t expected to go above $12.95 but for the 50 channel choice option it will be $6.99 a month.
  • Another a la carte package features 100 channels of Sirius programming with a selection of the best of XMs channels or 100 XM channels with a selection of the best of Sirius’ programming – $14.99 per month.

Best of Both

  • For $16.99 a month you could get the “Best of Both” where you continue to receive the existing service of either XM or Sirius with selected programming from the other service.

Mostly Music, or News, Sports and Talk

  • $12.99/month: Pre-selected packages of mostly music or news/talk/sports.

Discount family-friendly

  • Family-friendly programming from either service will get a one-dollar discount per month – $11.95. A combined package will get a two-dollar discount per month from the “Best of Both” – $14.95.