Why Creating A Monopoly Always Merits Caution

F.C.C. Chief Questioning Radio Deal

As he sought to sell the proposed merger of Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio to Congress, and by extension to regulators like Mr. Martin, Mel Karmazin, the chief executive of Sirius, vowed last Wednesday that prices would not be raised and that listeners would benefit enormously by getting the best programming from both companies.

But in separate conversations with two people after Mr. Karmazin’s testimony to a House committee, Mr. Martin said that subscribers may be surprised to learn they may actually have to pay more than the current monthly rate of $12.95 if, for example, they want to receive all the games of Major League Baseball (now available only on XM) as well as all the professional football games (now only on Sirius).

Mr. Karmazin, reached on Tuesday, said his testimony was not misleading and that he meant to say two things: subscribers wanting to keep their existing service would not face a price increase, and listeners who wanted the best of both services would pay less than the combined rate of $25.90.

“Tomato, to-mah-to.”