Minority church group takes on PRA


The National Black Church Initiative, a group of 34K that represents the interest of church- and minority-owned broadcasters, is asking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to see to it that the Performance Rights Act is rejected, saying that its passage would “make it even more difficult for minorities and minority churches to maintain their current stations…”

They added that it would also make it extremely difficult to expand. But they’d have to survive with what they now have to even consider expansion. “We cannot ignore the important role local radio plays in helping to shape the message to and image of the African-American community,” wrote NBCI. “If African-American radio ownership fails, then that voice is gone for good.”

The Free Radio Alliance applauded the letter, and spokeswoman Peggy Binzel stated, “Local African-American and religious radio stations are already experiencing significant declining revenues. What good will it do record labels if there are no stations left to play their music? More importantly, what will happen to the people in those communities that rely on these stations for their news, information and ministry?” Binzel continued, “The African-American and religious community are already underrepresented on the airwaves. Under the record labels’ proposal, they could go from underrepresented to extinct. This is bad policy and the opposite of what we need to increase minority ownership and programming.”

RBR-TVBR observation: We don’t know if a floor vote is the best tactic or not, but we do know that the popularity of PRA in the House begins and seemingly ends in the Judiciary Committee. 256 House members have signed on to the Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes PRA. That’s 38 more votes than necessary to stop the bill. And it’s not a Democrat v. Republican thing – LRFA has strong support within both parties.