PRA backlash: Small market radio GM bails out of NAB


Recording industry and musicians group musicFirst has indicated that it is less than thrilled with the NAB’s latest position statement on the Performance Rights Act negotiations. But the fact that NAB is still talking about it has induced one Michigan radio exec to leave the organization.

The exec is Charlie Ferguson of Northern Broadcast Inc., GM of a six-FM cluster in the geographically spread-out Traverse City-Petoskey market. Ferguson said he has fired off an email to the NAB asking that his membership be cancelled.

Ferguson wrote:

“As the General Manager of our company, I cannot continue to pay dues to an organization that sells out to the record labels on the Performance Tax issue.  FM chips in cell phones is a red herring and your organization can no longer represent our company and our Radio stations in any matter of financial or political importance.


Charlie Ferguson

General Manager”

Northern Broadcast operates three paired sets of FM stations in the market. WKLT-FM Kalkaska and WKLZ-FM Petoskey ply the airwaves with a Rock format, WFCX-FM Leland and WFDX-FM Atlanta play Classic Hits and WSRT-FM Gaylord and WSRJ-FM Honor utilize a lineup of Talk programs.

RBR-TVBR observation: Plenty of people have indicated that they support the NAB’s pursuit of a negotiated PRA agreement along the lines that have been made public, but that has been against a backdrop of 75% or so that have told us via repeated polling on our website that they want no part of any such agreement.

The PRA issue has been quiet for a number of weeks, but we’ve seen no sign that anything has happened to change the industry’s overall sentiments.

Does Ferguson represent a leak in the levee that can be plugged, or a leak that will require some major reconstructive surgery?