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House Judiciary Task Force Slates XM/Sirius Hearing

The House Judiciary Committee's new antitrust task force has scheduled a hearing on the XM/Sirius merger as its first order of business.

Headed by

media consolidation critic John Conyers (D-Mich),

the task force has scheduled a Feb. 28 hearing. Sirius CEo Mel Karmazin is scheduled to be a witness.

“XM and Sirius provide unique programming options for millions of customers nationwide," said Conyers. "Consumer’s interests should remain our priority. This hearing will help determine whether customers will get higher or lower prices and more or fewer programming options with the proposed merger. In particular, the Committee will examine whether satellite radio competes against terrestrial radio, the Internet, or other emerging technologies.”

Ranking Republican Lamar Smith said one of the committees focuses will be on whether satellite radio competes against terrestrial radio, the Internet or other "emerging technologies," which might include cable radio or wireless devices.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.