NAB PRA meeting described as educational, constructive


Dennis Wharton, NAB’s communications guru, told RBR that Friday 8/6/10 confab on the radio position regarding the Performance Rights Act was one of the most constructive closed door meetings he could ever recall. However, even though he said there was no shouting, it was not without dissension and passion, and he added “We have to put a lot of animosity toward the record companies behind us.”

Although no vote was ever taken, he said there was a consensus that the pursuit of a negotiated agreement with the recording companies should go forward.

He said that the question boiled down to this: The legislation is out there, and it’s been stalled, but it could spring to life during a midnight lame duck session.

Wharton couched the issue as a business decision: It would be great to not have to deal with the issue at all, but the proposals on the table would be far better than what’s in the bill as it is currently written.

Referring to PRA, he said, “Can we stop it? Probably, but there are no guarantees when you’re dealing with Congress.”

As for members of the radio board, their next task is to explain the situation to their constituents, or do a “sales job” if they believe the course NAB is pursuing is the best option. Ultimately, they will all be held accountable by their constituents when its time to stand for re-election.

Wharton also said that although nobody wants a new bill added to their budget, some of the elements on the table might even prove attractive to some. Removing the Copyright Board from broadcast issues was certainly one of these.

RBR-TVBR observation: We suspect the Radio Board will have a lot of explaining and selling to do. This has been hand-to-hand combat, waged seat-by-seat in the House of Representatives, and broadcast was winning, even if there is a pretty big booby trap out there that may or may not be sprung. To suddenly ask broadcasters to go all kumbaya with the labels, and open their wallets while they do so, may be a hard sell indeed.

RBR-TVBR request: Get involved it is your business. What’s your take? RBR-TVBR wants to hear from the radio industry. What do you think of the NAB negotiations with the record labels? Feel free to post a brief comment below and/or send us your thoughts for publication to [email protected]. Please include your name, title and company affiliation.