Usually they are the tightest of allies, but strong disagreements over the Performance Rights Act have caused a rift between Black radio and the Congressional Black Caucus. Like many broadcasting issues that find their way to Capitol Hill, PRA isn’t so much a matter of Democrat v. Republican or liberal v. conservative; it’s industry v. industry.
Inside-the-Beltway daily TheHill.com says that the NAACP has actually stepped in to try to cool both sides down, even though it has come out in support of PRA.
The clearest evidence of strife is on display in Detroit, where Urban radio leader Radio One is in full-bore attack mode against PRA sponsor and Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI).
According to TheHill, Radio One has turned up the heat on four additional CBC members who support Conyers – Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Mel Watt (D-NC), Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA). The paper suggests the heat is such on the ground in each member’s district that it could affect vote totals in 2010.
RBR/TVBR observation: CBC members aren’t the only ones with divided loyalties. Key Judiciary Republican Howard Coble (R-NC) can’t mention this topic without mentioning his many friends on both sides of the issue. Will somebody please explain to well-meaning legislators concerned about the plight of musicians that the vast majority of them are being used as pawns so recording companies can cash in?