Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) recently sent a letter to the Justice Department and the FCC calling on regulators to oppose the Sirius-XM deal.
Kohl's opposition of the merger is not necessarily new, but being the chairman of the Senate's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, it does hold some weight. He is in fact the first chairman of the four Congressional panels that held hearings on the merger (Sen. Kohl's subcommittee held the hearing back in late March) to come out against it publicly.
Senator Kohl takes the position that satellite radio is in fact it's own confined market, and not part of an overall audio entertainment marketplace.
He also didn't buy the argument that future technologies threaten the stance of the satellite radio market, writing that "no other technology available today is a substitute for the satellite radio."
"Our concern is the marketplace today. Consumers should not suffer the price increases likely to result from a merger to monopoly because of a vague hope that new technologies may deliver new competitive alternative sometime in the future," he continued.
The problem with Senator Kohl's conclusion is that, if in fact satellite radio is defined as it's own finite market, then this definition opens up either Sirius or XM for takeover by a terrestrial radio corporation (such as CBS Radio) without fear of anti-trust issues.
And that is scary.