77 members of the House of Representatives and eight Senators have joined together to introduce resolutions in the new Congress opposing “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on local broadcast radio stations. Many of them praised local radio in their hometown markets.
A similar resolution was gaining steam in the previous Congress before the election. In this Congress, Reps. Kathy Castor (D-FL-14) and Steve Womack (R-AR-3) are the principal cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House of Representatives. Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and John Barrasso (R-WY) are the lead cosponsors of a companion resolution in the Senate.
Here’s what a few of the supporting lawmakers had to say about the new resolution.
Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM): “In some parts of New Mexico – especially rural areas – local radio remains the beating heart for communities to access local and national news, emergency alerts, educational programs, and more. I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan effort in the Senate to prevent Congress from imposing new fees or charges on local radio stations and will continue fighting to keep local radio alive.”
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY): “Communities across Wyoming depend on local radio stations for timely information, news, and programming that have a direct impact on their lives. For more than 80 years, radio stations and the recording industry have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship: free airplay for free promotion. If forced to pay a performance royalty, broadcasters will be have to make cuts to important programing in order to make ends meet. I’m proud to join Senator Heinrich in reintroducing our bipartisan legislation to block any new performance tax on broadcasters across the country.”
Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL-14): “I am proud to support our local radio stations who provide essential services to so many across the Tampa Bay area, particularly during natural disasters and the current pandemic. The Local Radio Freedom Act is a non-binding resolution that reaffirms Congress’s support for local radio stations and opposes new fees or taxes on local, free, broadcast radio which could jeopardize those very services upon which so many rely.”
Representative Steve Womack (R-AR-3): “Arkansans and Americans across the nation tune into local radio for around-the-clock news, emergency alerts, and entertainment. These stations are integral parts of our communities and economy, and it’s important Congress prioritize protecting access to over-the-air-broadcasting services. The Local Radio Freedom Act supports listeners and the viability of radio resources. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan resolution.”
About the latest resolutions, NAB CEO Gordon Smith said “America’s broadcasters commend the bipartisan cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act for standing with their hometown radio stations against a devastating performance royalty. For decades, free radio airplay has promoted performing artists and their music, launched the careers of countless performers, generated unparalleled revenue for record labels and served the millions of listeners who tune into their local radio stations every day. We appreciate the bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate who have voiced their support for preserving the mutually beneficial relationship between broadcast radio and the music industry.”