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It was apparent at the 18th SkyFORUM in New York City that Charlie Ergen, chairman and CEO of EchoStar, was in fact a little concerned for the satellite TV merger. But, like the Charlie most know, he shrugged it off with a little humor.

"Our nation wide pricing plan didn't convince the DOJ (Department of Justice). However, we haven't received feedback from the FCC," said Ergen. "I'm confident the FCC has a sense of fair play."

Throughout the interview, conducted by USA Today's media business reporter David Lieberman, Charlie was drilled on such topics like Cablevision, piracy, plans for post-non-merger and post-merger, and a number of other issues close to the executive's heart. "I didn't hold any prayer meetings," said Ergen. "But, if God is making this (merger) decision, I think I have a pretty good chance."

Ergen was asked about his viewpoint on Charles Dolan's pursuit of a satellite business through Cablevision. After some strong questioning from Lieberman, Ergen surmised that Cablevision could not be a viable competitor with a 61.5-degree orbital slot (noting that the prized real estate doesn't sufficiently cover the entire continental United States).

The EchoStar executive also commented on the potential break-up fee if in fact the merger isn't approved: "We will honor our contract with Hughes.

"I don't spend a lot of time thinking about failure," Ergen said. "We've done everything in our power to try to convince the DOJ that this is the best thing for the consumer. I think that if the merger is not approved, both companies (EchoStar and DirecTV) will have lost, and the consumer too."

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
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