HD Radio Gets Boost From FCC
Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin appeared before the House Antitrust Task Force earlier this month to assuage concerns about creating a monopoly, a term he vehemently refutes applying to the current merger. Karmazin vowed that Sirius would not raise prices and may even lower them. He also said he was open to the possibility of government price regulations, if only for a limited time. His point was that government mandates wouldn’t be required, as satellite radio needs to compete with iPods, HD Radio and other forms of in-car entertainment, much of it free.
The Sirius-XM merger will likely live or die based on the actions of the Antitrust division of the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said last month that his agency will review the merger in what will likely be a time-consuming process. FCC approval would mean overturning the commission’s 1997 Satellite Licensing Order, which stated that one company cannot hold both of the existing satellite licenses.