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Civil Rights Leaders, Minority Broadcasters Seek Performance Rights Hearing

Groups pettition Sen. Leahy for hearing

Civil rights leaders and minority broadcast groups are urging Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to hold a hearing on how a performance rights fee would affect minority and female-owned radio stations.

Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s Jesse Jackson, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council’s David Honig, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s Barbara Arnwine, American Women in Radio and Television’s Maria Brennan, Bustos Media’s Amador Bustos, Spanish Broadcasting System’s Frank Flores, and Spanish Radio Association’s Frank Montero signed the letter.

“Passage of the public performance legislation, H.R. 848 in the House and S. 379 in the Senate, would disproportionately harm minority broadcasters and their listening communities, and make it even more difficult for future aspiring minority owners to acquire broadcast properties,” they wrote.

“Such a hearing must explore the impact on advances in fundamental civil rights. As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, you are one of the chief stewards in the civil rights arena,” they wrote. They offered to work with the chairman to develop a hearing that would examine “far-reaching unintended ramifications” of the legislation that if passed, would require radio stations to pay performance rights fees.