I was scheduled to participate in a panel discussion tomorrow at the Triangle Interactive Media Association (TIMA), but a touch of the winter bug has grounded me on Cape Cod. I wish I could have made it as the other panelists were very illustrious and it was on a topic I like to talk about — customer service and blogging.

Nathan Gilliatt, who blogs at the Net Savvy Executive,  organized the panel, which included Andy Beal — he of the Marketing Pilgrim — and Cindy Akus from Crossroads PR.

I’m being covered by Mark Hopkins, the true force behind Lenovo’s blogger support initiatives, who blogs most eloquently at Markitude.

Sirius And XM To Merge

MediaPost Publications – Sirius And XM To Merge – 02/20/2007

I’ve been a loyal XM customer for two years. I’ve often wondered how two players would compete for wallet-share. Now I know.

“AFTER MONTHS OF SPECULATION, SATELLITE radio rivals Sirius and XM have agreed to a merger with the goals of offering greater variety to subscribers and reducing costs, which have kept both companies from profitability. Under the terms of the agreement, announced Monday, Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin will become CEO of the new combined entity, and XM chairman Gary Parsons will serve as its chairman. XM’s CEO Hugh Panero is expected to step down after the merger is complete.

The new company, whose new name has yet to be announced, would have total assets worth about $13 billion and a shared debt of $1.6 billion. Combining XM’s 7.6 million subscribers with Sirius’ 6 million, the new company could have a total subscription base of well over 16 million by the end of 2007, if previous projections are accurate.”

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