Sirius-XM Update: Karmazin Grilled (Again) at Capitol Hill Hearing


We’re not going to write about every twist-and-turn of the Sirius-XM merger process — that would be close to full-time employment — but we will keep you posted as events merit. Today’s installment picks up with Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin under the heat lamp at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. According to AP, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) didn’t quite take to the idea that the combined company would still have significant competition: “We must view these claims with a healthy degree of skepticism. Over-the-air radio does not come close to duplicating the impressive array of program offerings of satellite radio.” Karmazin stuck to the company line. (He’s good at that: he’s just as fervent a spokesman for sat radio now as he was way back when for terrestrial.) Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), AP reports, was more receptive: “I personally don’t believe that there will be a lack of competition if you’re successful.”
The NAB’s Mary Quass said the real problem was local radio wouldn’t be able to compete with the combined power of a national satellite service: “XM and Sirius want government permission to take two competitive companies and turn them into a monopoly.”
— Karmazin once again said he was open to regulatory oversight of price increases as a condition.
MCN: Ted Hearn focuses on Karmazin’s slight turnaround from saying last month the services couldn’t handle a la carte plans to promising rebates for “adult” content customers don’t want and to block that content. However, he would not promise Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) to ban indecent material from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.



With the intoduction of HD radio that is a free service, (with the cost of the new reciever for your home or vehicle) I dont believe there is going to a problem with lack of competition.


Karmazin is already flip flopping. I knew this was going to happen. We better all hope this merger is blocked.


Amy are you ok? Pension? I don't think Mel is even concerned about that and the fact that he's CEO of sirius and a Sirius stockholder proves that. Let's keep the comments sane!!!

Amy Miller

Given Mel's exclusive background in terrestrial radio, one might suspect he's a mole planted at Sirius to bring down satellite radio from within.

Could there be a seat on the NAB Board being kept warm for him in retirement?

From whence does his pension come? Could it be, after all those years, from terrestrial radio?

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