The National Association of Broadcasters has issued a statement regarding the news reports that the FCC will approve the merger by a 3-2 vote. Once again, the NAB has chosen Executive Vice President David Wharton to be the spokesman, which leads to the question why Rehr is in the back (pun intended). This publication pointed out early on that Rehr was risking a lot by being the frontman of the NAB campaign. Rehr made fighting the merger a central point in his platform. By distancing himself, perhaps the blame pie will not rest solely on him.

Wharton stated:

“This sweetheart deal for Wall Street speculators is premised on a promise that a monopoly will provide consumers with lower prices, better service and more programming formats. Only members of the Flat Earth Society would buy into such specious nonsense.”

A sweetheart deal for Wall Street speculators? Perhaps Wharton was holding the stock chart for these equities upside down. Thanks in part to the NAB delay tactics, this merger has dragged on and on, and investors have actually suffered. Do members of the Flat Earth Society believe that 20 minutes of commercials per hour is good? Is it true that only members of the Flat Earth Society can be members of C3SR? What was their membership again? Oh, they (or you) never did tell us that.

“Just six years ago, the FCC denied a monopoly to the nation’s only two satellite TV companies in a 5-0 vote. Yet today, the Commission is apparently preparing to grant a monopoly to the nation’s only two satellite radio companies that in their 11 years of existence have had more luck flaunting the FCC’s own rules than creating a successful business model.”

If the business model was such a failure, or is going to be such a failure, why did the NAB spend millions to campaign against the merger? If SDARS is such a failure, why did the NAB seek inclusion of AM. FM, and HD capabilities in all SDARS receivers? You seem quite worried about something you think is such a failure. Perhaps it is time that the terrestrial members of the NAB looked at their own business models going forward. If we want to discuss flaunting of FCC rules, lets take a look at payola.

“Historians will view this satellite radio giveaway as an irrational departure from 118 years of antitrust law wisely founded on the unassailable reality that competition serves consumers better than monopolies. NAB thanks Commissioners Copps and Adelstein — along with consumer groups, 80 bipartisan members of Congress, and scores of labor, minority and antitrust organizations — who stood against this wrongheaded monopoly. Given such overwhelming opposition, we’re not convinced the final chapter of this book has been written.”

News Flash… historians will understand that the audio entertainment landscape is very diverse. terrestrial radio, MP3′s, cell phones capable of delivering content, Internet radio. The NAB thanks many people in this last quote. That thanks in part comes from campaign contributions, but it is kind of Wharton to put it into words as well. The NAB speaks of overwhelming opposition. What about the overwhelming support for the merger. Even with the ill fated Internet campaign which Sirius Buzz helped expose, the vast majority of comments were for the merger.

The NAB is not convinced that the last chapter has been written? Perhaps they will appeal the merger in a futile attempt. Personally I would suggest that they focus on educating their members as to the future, or better still where the present of audio entertainment is, and maybe even update their website. Those 2007 legislative priorities on the main page are going on 8 months overdue… it is 2008 after all. Perhaps this is a good task for David Rehr. The NAB Radio Show is less than two months away. I would assume the members of the NAB will want to know the legislative priorities.

Should the NAB decide to challenge the decision, or even back any other group that decides to do so, it will be seen by history as a group that wanted so desperately wanted to maintain audio entertainment is yesteryear status that they traded any credibility for what is already known to be a futile attempt to reverse a decision that regulators considered over a period of about 18 months. I have a suggestion. Save your dollars for a cause you have a chance of winning. Spend your money fighting royalties. Spite will get this organization nowhere.

Position: Long Sirius, XM.