During the past two Congresses, some members of Congress, at the behest of the big record labels, introduced
a bill to impose a performance tax on local radio broadcasters. The Performance Rights Act would have imposed
a devastating new fee on local stations simply for airing music on the radio – airing the music that provides free
promotion to the labels and artists. A new performance fee could financially cripple local radio stations putting
jobs at risk, stifle new artists trying to break into the recording business and harm the listening public who rely
on local radio.
Virtually all smartphones are manufactured with hardware capable of receiving free FM radio signals, but not all phones have this feature activated, either by choice of the phone’s manufacturer or the wireless carrier. However, Apple has not activated this feature on any of its iPhones, preventing their customers from saving battery life and data charges, while also blocking access to a critical lifeline during times of emergency.
Virtually all states provide, either by statute or by judicial decision, protections to journalists so that they are not forced to reveal the identity of confidential sources. In federal courts, however, there is no uniform set of standards to govern when information about confidential sources can be sought from reporters. Broadcast journalists' ability to bring important matters to the American public has been put in jeopardy as numerous reporters have been questioned about their confidential sources or had their records subpoenaed in cases before federal courts.
The internet has transformed the media marketplace, yet TV and radio broadcasters are still subject to outdated rules restricting the number and type of outlets they may own. Policymakers should support the continued modernization of these rules to account for the rise, and increasing influence, of digital media.