One week after announcing plans to merge with XM Satellite Radio, Mel Karmazin, the CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio, testified before the House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Task Force on the benefits of the $13 billion deal. Karmazin was one of several key witnesses (including National Association of Broadcasters President David Rehr, Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn, and Consumer Federation of America President Mark Cooper) who were called before the task force on Wednesday. As Judiciary Committee and Antitrust Task Force Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) promised to approach the merger with an open mind, he stressed that the key issue facing regulators is how competition against XM and Sirius should be defined. Arguing that XM and Sirius are faced with stiff competition in the form of free terrestrial and Internet radio services and that the companies do not compete against each other exclusively, Karmazin asserted, “this merger will give consumers more choice at a lower price and more importantly, less confusion.” Karmazin also said the programming assets of each company are complimentary, noting, for example, that one network carries Major League Baseball and the other carries National Football League games. As such, Karmazin observed that sports fans would benefit, as they would no longer be required to subscribe to both services and to purchase two different radio receivers. Although Karmazin said XM and Sirius would be willing to agree to certain concessions, including price reductions, to win regulatory approval, NAB President David Rehr warned lawmakers that the deal would create an effective monopoly and that the merger would “undermine audio content competition, not enhance it.” One task force member, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), declared, however, that the term monopoly “might serve to send shivers into the spine of regulators, but it doesn’t have much effect if it has no foundation in the realities of the world today.” Agreeing that a merger between Sirius and XM may serve the public interest, Sohn said: “I believe consumers will be better off subject to conditions that protect choice, promote diverse programming and keep prices in check.”