Radio Waves

SF Gate


"In general, yes they do," answered Howard Shelanski, a law professor at UC Berkeley and former chief economist for the FCC. "But you have to be careful."

He said the main problem here would be if it did indeed require a monopoly for satellite radio to take hold with consumers, but then the monopoly persisted as potential competitors stayed away because the barriers to entry are too steep.

On the other hand, Shelanski said market forces could prove a potent deterrent to a satellite-radio monopoly holding too much sway over consumers.

"People can get around this monopoly," he observed. "If the company tried to exercise monopoly power, people would just program their iPods and walk away."

For this reason, he predicts that the deal will go through.

"I think the commission will, by divided vote, approve the merger," Shelanski said. "I think they'll be inclined to accept more generous market definition."