WASHINGTON, DC -- In response to today's announcement by Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) that he will introduce legislation that would negatively impact local radio stations across America, NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton issued the following statement:
"NAB strongly opposes a new performance tax that would kill jobs at America's hometown radio stations while diverting millions of dollars to offshore record labels. We continue to support private, company-by-company negotiations that are driven by the free market, as is reflected by recent deals between broadcast radio stations and independent music labels. We appreciate the support of 154 members of Congress who know that local radio remains the premiere platform for exposing new music and generating sales for record labels."
Reps. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) introduced the Local Radio Freedom Act (H. Con. Res. 16) in the House of Representatives on February 15 along with 71 additional co-sponsors. An identical resolution (S. Con. Res. 6) was introduced in the Senate on March 6 by Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).
"Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings," reads the Local Radio Freedom Act.
The 143 House cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act include:
Rodney Alexander (LA-5)
Doc Hastings (WA-4)
Steve Pearce (NM-2)
The Local Radio Freedom Act's 11 Senate cosponsors are:
James Inhofe (R-OK)
In recent months broadcasters and music labels have entered private-market agreements, without the need for government intervention, which permit radio stations to pay sound-recording performance royalties in exchange for lowered digital performance fees. Examples of such agreements are those between Clear Channel and RPM Entertainment, Entercom and Glassnote Entertainment Group, and Beasley Broadcasting and Big Machine Label Group.
On numerous occasions, both record label executives and artists have recognized the promotional value of free radio airplay. Recent statements include:
"Internet, Twitter and everything else put together doesn't equal what country radio does for us as artists and as an industry."
-- Country artist Kix Brooks
"Radio connects the world together. It's my friend and it's everyone's goal to have a big hit song on the radio."
-- Lady Gaga producer and songwriter/producer and label executive RedOne, SXSW "Navigating The Waters Of Radio To Your Benefit" panel
"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 Brown 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
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.