Current.org has an examination of the issue that I find misses the most interesting point: Isn't a purported "public service" denying service to the public by signing an exclusive contract with one satellite provider that prevents the other provider (which consumers have overwhelmingly selected in a competitive marketplace) from offering NPR content?
I think they should also study whether the deal to keep NPR's two satellite channels exclusive to Sirius benefits the public interest or even NPR itself. I bet a larger audience would certainly draw some of the national underwriters they appear to be interested in obtaining. Then again, I've never understood a good "public service" rationale for encrypting NPR's feeds on the older (large) C-Band satellite services. The rationale there (as in the article above) would seem to be affiliate protection.