The Used Car Salesman Side of Sirius' Mel Karmazin

Sirius Satellite Radio honcho Mel Karmazin is sounding more and more like a used car salesman as he tries to build political support for his controversial deal to combine the country’s only two satellite radio service providers.

Yesterday Karmazin was on Capitol Hill for the third time in recent weeks to pitch the mega merger in which Sirius would take over rival XM. As in previous hearings, Karmazin earnestly argued the deal would benefit consumers, even though it would transform two aggressive competitors into a monopoly.

Karmazin, who started his career peddling local radio ads, has always been a master salesman. He also has a reputation of doing whatever is needed to close the big deal. One of the biggest was a $500 million pact to lure shock jock Howard Stern to Sirius in 2004.

That salesman side of Karmazin was in clear evidence at yesterday’s hearing. Faced with mostly skeptical senators, he hinted the merged company might be willing to offer customers the option of picking and choosing certain channels of programming rather than their current all-or-nothing offerings.

Such “a la carte