Thomas HazlettThomas Hazlett, the former Chief Economist of the Federal Communications Commission, Professor of Law & Economics at George Mason University, and a principal in Arlington Economics (Yeah…he’s qualified) released a study today concerning the merger.

Mr. Hazletts paper called, "The Economics of the Satellite Radio Merger," goes in depth to cover the strategic and monetary rationale behind the merger and concludes that seemingly the exact opposite of what the NAB is telling us will happen. The paper shows that the merged company has potential to yield extensive efficiencies, benefit consumers, and enhance the dynamics of competition within the audio entertainment marketplace.

"After a thorough analysis, it is my opinion that the merger of XM and SIRIUS will predictably enhance consumer welfare. The National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) staunch opposition to the merger illustrates their similar expectation. The improved economic vitality of a combined satellite radio company would drive industry innovation, promote competition and enhance programming and pricing options for customers."

One of the other more notable points Hazlett drives home is the fact that "if the terrestrial broadcasters genuinely believed that the merger would substantially increase price, they would support - not oppose - the merger, given that higher prices for satellite radio would translate into larger audiences and ad revenues for them." Not that this point should come as a surprise but, it does wind up holding a lot more weight when someone "qualified" publicly states what we already know.