by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 3rd 2008 9:52am
The Justice Department and the FCC sure are taking their sweet time on approving (or denying) the XM/Sirius merger. The two companies' merger agreement was about to run out, so they've now had to extend it a few more months as they wait patiently for the government agencies to figure out whether or not satellite radio is a unique market or if it actually competes against other forms of audio entertainment. It's hard to justify what could possibly be taking this long. Terrestrial radio stations, as represented by the National Association of Broadcasters, have been the most vocal against the merger, claiming that to allow the merger would create a monopoly in satellite radio. However, the very activity of protesting the merger suggests that they know that satellite radio isn't an independent market and actually does compete with terrestrial radio. Still, the NAB must be thrilled it's been able to hold off the merger approval for this long, even if it eventually does get approved. The real question, though, is whether they've done anything else to try to compete with satellite radio, or if they're just hoping that the miracle of a blocked merger will simply force the satellite competition into bankruptcy.
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