The NAB opposed the merger because it would create a monopoly.
Why was the NAB's opinion considered relevant or even listened to?
Because the NAB is SatRad's competition.
It's not a monopoly just because the delivery method is different. XM/Sirius competes directly for your time and dollars with not only AM and FM stations but, as said, iPods and CDs on the road and both of those plus Music Choice and the internet at home.
A DBS merger between Direct and Dish might raise monopolistic concerns because for many in rural areas it's the only way to receive anything other than broadcast (or perhaps anything at all), and it most areas it's the only alternative to cable (other than OTA). But XM/Sirius delivers different channels that fall in line with the terrestrials you already receive. There is no public interest in keeping them divided; if they jack rates or decrease customer service, every customer can drop them without really being forced to sacrifice. Such an occurrence with the DBSers would actually cause some to pay more or lose any possible service, but that isn't the case here. You may prefer the music, talk, sports, et cetera on SatRad (which I certainly do), but there are still alternatives even post-merger.
Besides, the only terrestrial stations that have anything to fear from SatRad are the cookie cutter cluster stations that do nothing to differentiate themselves from every other station of their format and/or your iPod. Great large market stations like WGN-Chicago and their ilk that produce live, local programming don't need to worry, nor do the small market stations that actually have a warm, talented butt behind the console rather than SS32 filling in spots in Fox News or WW1's local avails. SatRad, great as it is, has nothing on them.
Originally posted by brickA market that competes with Ipod, terrestrial radio, etc...
I don't own an Ipod, but I'm pretty sure that you can't listen to any live sporting events on it as they happen.
Now this is just my opinion, of course, but to state the above quoted text is the equivalent of stating that local television cable providers don't have a monopoly because they have to compete with radio, movie theaters, DVD rentals, over-the-air television, etc. Sorry, but that's just not a credible argument.
Mind you, I'm not saying that the merger shouldn't happen. I look forward to the day when I can plunk down and purchase a satellite radio system without having to decide if I want the one with Major League Baseball or the one with the NFL. But the bottom line is that it will be a monopoly, and as such it will have to accept the government regulations and oversight that goes along with such status.
The phrase "reasonably interchangeable" comes to mind. And while terrestrial radio comes close, I'm not sure there's a plausible argument for saying that CDs or MP3 players are even in the ballpark of meeting that standard.
Anybody that has tried to find something decent to listen to on the radio while driving across the south towards the midwest can attest to the fact that sometimes, terrestrial radio can look damn near obsolete compared to satellite radio.