NAB Hits Airwaves With Case Against Radio Royalties


The National Association of Broadcasters ratcheted up the war Tuesday (April 21) on a potential radio performance royalties bill. As Congress reconvenes following a two-week break, the NAB welcomed members back by buying radio airtime on a pair of influential stations in the nation’s capital to drum up support for its anti-Performance Rights Act campaign.

Billed as "Don't Feed the Fat Cat," the 60-second spot goes was placed on Bonneville International's WTOP and Citadel’s WMAL. WTOP is a ratings leader and was, according to BIAfn measurements, the sixth-largest revenue generating radio station in America in 2008.

Meanwhile, NAB said it has picked up the support of another 15 lawmakers who have signed on to The Local Radio Freedom Act, a nonbinding shout-out by Congress in opposition to efforts to pass the musician-performer-backed legislation. The NAB reports that the effort now has 173 signors.

"NAB is delighted by the growing, bipartisan opposition to the performance tax," said NAB executive VP Dennis Wharton. "Members of Congress aren't buying the ludicrous RIAA implication that record label business woes are somehow being caused by radio stations playing music. Bolstered by this new ad, we are cautiously optimistic Congress won't impose a new fee that would decimate radio stations facing the worst advertising recession since the Great Depression."

But the coalition pushing passage of the measure, musicFirst, scoffed at the NAB's support, responding that eight influential House committee chairman have gotten behind the pending legislation including Rep. George Miller, who heads the House Education and Labor Committee, and is now a co-sponsor of the bill.

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