WASHINGTON -- More than 400 radio and television broadcasters are gathering in Washington, DC this week for the NAB State Leadership Conference. The local station representatives will meet with lawmakers on a host of public policy issues critical to the future of free and local broadcasting.
While broadcasters will meet on an array of issues, two will stand out: legislation that would levy a new performance tax on radio stations, and proposals circulating in Washington that support reclaiming broadcast TV spectrum to boost mobile broadband service.
The week's events include a series of policy updates at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill today, with scheduled appearances from House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D-VA), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus John Dingell (D-MI) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA). Local broadcast representatives will meet with their lawmakers in a series of meetings on Wednesday.
A primary concern of radio broadcasters is legislation known as The Performance Rights Act, a bill supported by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which would levy a new fee on radio stations for every song aired on free, local radio. Fifty percent of the new fee would be paid directly to record labels, an industry dominated by foreign-owned companies based in London, Paris and Tokyo. Currently, a bipartisan coalition of 256 House lawmakers and 27 U.S. Senators stand publicly opposed to the RIAA-backed performance tax.
Television broadcasters will meet to ensure lawmakers understand the ramifications of recent proposals to reclaim broadcast TV spectrum for increased mobile broadband. Following the transition from analog to digital TV, in which TV broadcasters spent more than $10 billion and returned more than a quarter of their spectrum, some wireless industry advocates are now supporting proposals that could diminish free, broadcast TV service. Reps. Rick Boucher (D-VA), John Dingell (D-MI) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have already expressed concern over the proposals.
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.