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NAB Claims House Majority Backs Local Radio Freedom Act

MusicFirst calls sign-ons “empty gesture”

Congress seems to have less appetite these days for passing legislation to require radio to pay a music performance royalty.

Indeed, in the last few hearings on the topic, lawmakers have encouraged those for and against the issue to reach an agreement, and look to private deals between station groups and music labels.

In the meantime, NAB has been plugging away at getting support for a resolution “that opposes any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge on local broadcast radio stations.”

Four additional House members now support the Local Radio Freedom Act: Democratic Massachusetts Reps. William Keating and Stephen Lynch and Republican Reps. John Culbertsonof Texasand David McKinley West Virginia.

 NAB says the additions mean that 219 House members, a majority by one vote, support the resolution along with 14 senators.

“This resolution reaffirms Congress’ appreciation for the public service and economic benefits radio broadcasters provide to every community, while recognizing the mutually beneficial relationship between radio and performing artists,” says NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith.

The label-backed musicFirst Coalition has a different view, with Executive Director Ted Kalo saying that signing a resolution is “an empty gesture and hardly a reliable barometer of support. We are confident many of these ‘cosponsors’ also support performance rights.”