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June 12, 2009
Dennis Wharton
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Missouri March of Dimes Stands in Solidarity with Local Broadcasters

--With "Performance Tax" Debate Swirling, Letter Cites $650,000 in Free Airtime Donated by Missouri Radio--

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Missouri March of Dimes has sent this letter to the entire Missouri congressional delegation, including Sens. Christopher Bond and Claire McCaskill, noting local radio's support in donated airtime and urging lawmakers to remember that support "when deliberating legislation that may impact the radio industry."

The March of Dimes letter comes as the Recording Industry Association of America engages in a lobbying effort to force free local radio stations to pay a new fee -- or "performance tax" -- to record labels and artists every time a song is played on the radio. Under terms of the RIAA-backed bill, 50 percent of the fee goes directly into the coffers of the record labels.

The letter was signed by Missouri March of Dimes Co-Chairs Doug Morgan and Bob O'Loughlin and "Broadcasters for Babies" Chair Joan Lee Berkman. Broadcasters for Babies, now in its seventh year, is an annual campaign by 19 St. Louis radio stations to collaboratively support the March of Dimes.

The letter notes that Missouri broadcasters donated airtime worth $650,000 last year in public service announcements supporting the March of Dimes. "This generous support cuts across our state from Cape Girardeau to St. Joseph and in towns and cities in between," wrote the letter's authors. "For March of Dimes, free, over-the-air radio is living up to its ideal of operating in the public interest. We urge you to keep in mind these contributions when deliberating legislation that may impact the radio industry."

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