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Would a Satellite Radio merger constitute a monopoly? “Most observers say no.”

Yes, I’ve been saying this for a year. Now the chorus rises:

Regulators presumably have been considering for more than a year now the question of whether a merger of the only two satellite radio firms in the nation would constitute a monopoly that would harm consumers. But most observers seem to have come to the conclusion long ago that the answer is no, considering that sat radio is used mostly in vehicles where competing devices like free radio, iPod docks and CD players are also options, as are DVD players. Soon, the Internet and satellite television will become mainstream attractions in cars, as well. Anyone blocking the deal on the grounds that merging the two companies would stifle competition “may as well lay on the ground and become fossil fuel for that kind of dinosaur thinking,” Motley Fool senior analyst Rick Munarriz said. Munarriz, like others, worries that two competing satellite radio services can’t survive. If they don’t merge, Munarriz predicts, “one or the other will fail, and that will give the victor the monopoly it wanted.”

Wouldn’t it indeed be ironic if one of the satellite companies shuttered their doors and left the radio industry with the single “monopoly” it so ludicrously fears?

I don’t know about you, but “dinosaur thinking” is not my cup of tea.

The radio industry should get past this satellite issue, abandon its opposition to the merger, and get about its real business: Competing against a plethora of digital alternatives in a new media world. This satellite straw man is a massive distraction which saps valuable attention and energy from the real job at hand.

The choice is yours. Just remember, one day, audio entertainment fan paleontologists may be digging up your bones.

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