Karmazin Woos FCC, Battles NAB

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin is attempting to bring the FCC around on the proposed XM/Sirius merger agreement by dangling the possibility of alternate price structures for the newly combined company.

According to a report by Variety, Karmazin is hoping to persuade regulators that their fears of monopoly are unfounded and the merger will provide consumers with more variety at a lower price.

"We've had a number of meetings since we announced the deal," Karmazin told Daily Variety. "We hope we can draft an offering that will be something the commissioners will see is in the public interest."

One potential price point Karmazin has reportedly offered would be substantially cheaper than the current 12.95 fee that both networks currently charge. The counterpoint to this frugal option would be the "best of" option which would include premium programming from both networks, including Howard Stern, the NFL, Major League Baseball and Oprah.

The proposed merger between the two satellite broadcasters is entering a challenging phase as they work for FCC approval. The FCC has initiated the public comment phase, inviting critics and supporters to make arguments about the deal. The Justice department is also swinging into action, primarily to determine the extent of the market in question.

A number of powerful opponents are lining up against the deal, including a number of Capitol Hill lawmakers who grilled Karmazin during a congressional hearing and perhaps more importantly, the National Association of Broadcasters who recently sent a letter to Karmazin, urging him to abandon his merger plans.

"We respectfully urge Sirius and XM to withdraw their application in the best interests of consumers and competition," wrote David Rehr, head of the NAB. He also accused Karmazin of misrepresenting the benefits that the public might expect as a result of the agreement. The letter was prompted by comments Karmazin made at a recent industry conference in which he described the NAB efforts as "disgraceful" and accused them of attempting to skew data against the merger.

Karmazin has also seemingly extended an open offer to disgraced talk radio host Don Imus, who was cast from the hallowed halls of commercial radio after finally making enough racist comments to inflame the public against him.

"I've had no conversation with Imus or his people since he left, but I would assume that one of the first phone calls he would make if he came back would be to satellite radio," Karmazin said. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

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