Mel Karmazin, the irrepressible chief executive of Sirius XM Radio, worked his phone all last week from his corner office on the 37th floor of the McGraw-Hill building, just above Howard Sternâ€™s studio. â€œGet John Malone on the line,â€ he shouted to his assistant. Ten minutes later, he was calling â€œCharlieâ€ â€” as in Charles W. Ergen of EchoStar Communications, the owner of Dish Network.
â€œWe gotta find a way to make this work,â€ he would say to just about anybody who would listen to him.
Mr. Karmazin, a born salesman, wasnâ€™t just jabbering â€” he was battling to prevent bankruptcy at Sirius XM, the satellite radio giant he had fought to create by merging Sirius and XM Radio less than a year ago.
Mr. Ergen, his longtime nemesis, had cleverly bought up $175 million of Sirius XMâ€™s debt, knowing full well that Mr. Karmazin couldnâ€™t afford the payments, so he could turn around and try to take control of the company.