WASHINGTON, DC -- In response to Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) introducing legislation today that would negatively impact local radio stations across America, NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton issued the following statement:
"NAB respectfully opposes the legislation, and appreciates the support of 183 members of Congress who stand with America's hometown radio stations against the offshore record labels.
"NAB believes market-based negotiations like the recent Warner Music-Clear Channel accord demonstrate that this issue is already being addressed in the free market. This legislation would impose new costs on broadcasters that jeopardize the future of our free over-the-air service."
NAB also announced that five additional Members of Congress have signed on as cosponsors of a resolution that opposes "any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge" on local broadcast radio stations. The Local Radio Freedom Act is now currently co-sponsored by 171 Members of the House and 12 Senators.
The Members of Congress adding their support to the Local Radio Freedom Act are Reps. Kevin Cramer (ND-AL) , Scott DesJarlais (TN-4), Richard Hanna (NY-22) , David Valadao (CA-21) and Kevin Yoder (KS-3).
NAB supports the Local Radio Freedom Act (H. Con. Res. 16), which was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 15 by Reps. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) 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 171 House cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act include (new cosponsors in bold):
Rodney Alexander (LA-5)
Brett Guthrie (KY-2)
Steven Palazzo (MS-4)
The Local Radio Freedom Act's 12 Senate cosponsors are:
James Inhofe (R-OK)
In recent months, broadcasters and music labels have entered into private-market agreements, without the need for government intervention. Earlier this month, Clear Channel and Warner Music Group, one of the three largest record labels worldwide, signed such an agreement. Other examples of these private-market deals include those between Beasley Broadcasting and Big Machine Label Group, Entercom and Glassnote Entertainment Group, and Greater Media 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:
"You can see a direct correlation. If you looked at a terrestrial radio audience chart and at the iTunes top 10 singles chart, I would say 75 percent of it matches up."
-- RCA Records Executive Vice President & General Manager Joe Riccitelli, September 26, 2013
"There's nothing else that can bring you new listeners like radio."
-- Rapper Big Sean, NAB Radio Show, September 18, 2013
"I'm on the radio I can't believe it! It feels like the first time!"
-- Tweet from Lady Gaga on release of single "Applause," August 12, 2013
"They've [Radio programmers have] been good to me for 20 years. And I got news for you. I got 20 more years to go." McGraw thanked a local radio station for spinning his tunes. "They played the (expletive) out of this next song."
-- Country radio star Tim McGraw, Riverbend, May 26, 2013
"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
In contrast to the mutually beneficial relationship between broadcast radio and performing artists, record labels have a history of exploiting artists while shortchanging them out of royalties. In recent years, musicians ranging from Kenny Rogers to Aimee Mann to Eminem have filed lawsuits against their record labels seeking compensation for being "cheated" out of royalties. Other disputes over royalties between musicians and record labels include:
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.