New NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith could not attend private talks on the Hill this week by music industry representatives, members of Congress and broadcasters over the performance royalty issue. He had been invited to attend by the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.
More strict ethics laws put in place by lawmakers forbid former members of Congress from lobbying for two years after they leave office. Smith, a former senator, has 13 months to go on those restrictions.
Attending the meeting for broadcasters were NAB Joint Board Chairman Steve Newberry, who is president and chief executive officer of Commonwealth Broadcasting, and NAB Radio Board Chairman Charles Warfield, president and chief operating officer of ICBC Broadcast Holdings, along with representatives from the National Association of Black-owned Broadcasters and the Spanish Broadcasters Association.
NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton stated: “Out of deference to key members of Congress, NAB representatives met today with representatives of RIAA and the music industry to discuss pending performance tax legislation. NAB representatives, along with representatives of minority-owned radio stations, reiterated our strong concerns over the negative impact that the bill would have on the ability of free and local radio stations to continue serving our listeners.”
Though it’s not clear there will be another meeting, Jennifer Bendall, executive director of the musicFIRST Coalition, stated that her group appreciated the chance to discuss the issue.
“We look forward to meeting again with NAB and radio industry stakeholders and reporting back to them on our progress. Artists, musicians and rights holders who bring music to life and listeners ears to the radio dial should be compensated for their work.”