Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) have put the Local Radio Freedom Act back in play on Capitol Hill. The measure “…would oppose any new fees, taxes or royalties for music played on local radio stations,” and has the full-throated support of the National Association of Broadcasters.
The bill in the past was a reaction to the Performance Rights Act, which sought to impose royalties on radio stations for airplay. This reintroduction comes before a new version of PRA has been introduced.
LRFA boasts 71 bipartisan co-sponsors.
In opposing what they called a “performance tax,” the legislators stated, “Local radio already provides free advertising and promotion for the recording industry, and these fees could put the future of these stations in jeopardy. Local radio provides valuable community services – emergency alerts, local news and weather, community programming and AMBER alerts – and our towns can’t afford to lose these stations.”
“For decades, local radio has been the primary platform for exposing millions of Americans to new artists and new music,” said NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton. “NAB salutes lawmakers for recognizing that a new performance fee on broadcasters threatens the financial base that sustains America’s hometown radio stations.”
Conaway stated, “Communities rely on their local radio stations for news, weather alerts and other emergency broadcasts, and the suggested performance tax could jeopardize the future of many of these struggling stations. I’m pleased so many of my House colleagues have joined with me in supporting local radio stations and listeners while pushing back against punitive fees.”
Added Green, “I’m glad to join Mr. Conaway and many of our colleagues again in introducing this important resolution to preserve free over-the-air broadcast. Radio provides a great service to people, no matter their income, age, or education, and it’s an important part of maintaining an informed and engaged society. We can’t introduce a new system of fees that will cut people’s access to public safety information, news, weather, or entertainment.”
It’s not just radio professionals who bring up the value of airplay for musicians and labels. The recording community also recognized this value. NAB noted a few notable remarks made just recently on that topic:
“I want to thank all the people who help us to do what we do, our whole team. I want to thank all of country radio, Southern Ground, all our folks back home.” — Zac Brown Band frontman Zac Brand at the 2013 Grammys
“I was driving in the car with my mom the first time I heard my song on the radio. It’s a pull-over-your-car, get-out-and-jump-around moment, something that you dream of when you’re a little girl and you want to be an artist. And that feeling doesn’t go away. I’m still excited when I hear myself on the radio.” — Miranda Lambert, iHeartRadio music festival, October 1, 2012
“To our world, nothing is more important than radio.” — Epic Records COO Mark Shimmel, Advertising Week, October 2012
“We have a lot of platforms but there is no platform more important than radio.” — Epic Records chairman, songwriter, producer and “The X Factor” judge L.A. Reid, Advertising Week, October 2012