Sunday, April 22, 2007

WSJ: NAB'S Argument Is Remarkably Weak

What's the Frequency, NAB?
Wall Street Journa, April 21, 2007; Page A8

Ever since satellite-radio companies XM and Sirius announced plans to merge back in February, the National Association of Broadcasters, which represents commercial AM and FM radio stations, has been urging federal regulators to quash the deal on antitrust grounds.
The NAB's argument is a remarkably weak one, and the government would be remiss if it became a party to the group's transparent agenda, which is to stop satellite radio from luring away any more of its listeners than it already has. Which isn't much, otherwise the two satellite-radio companies wouldn't be merging.
In the name of preventing some phantom "monopoly" from forming, the NAB is effectively asking regulators at Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to help it keep the competition in check and thus deprive consumers of figuring out whether this is a viable alternative radio service.
Don't take our word for it, by the way. Last October, just months before XM and Sirius unveiled their plans to combine, NAB President David Rehr spoke openly about the make-up of the current marketplace for audio news and entertainment. "We still must address new competitors," he said in a speech to the National Press Club in Washington. "On the radio side, we have satellite radio, Internet radio, iPods, other MP3 players, cell phones, and many, many other things. How will we compete?" Not much we can add to that...read more: here

4/22/2007 06:43:00 AM

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