PRA opposition grows on the Hill


Two more senators and an additional five members of the House have come out in support of the Local Radio Freedom Act and against the Performance Rights Act, the RIAA’s thinly-disguised attempt to solve the business model problems of the recording industry by plundering radio.

“Support in both the House and Senate for free and local radio continues to grow, despite an unprecedented lobbying campaign by RIAA,” said NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton. “We’re hopeful that Congress ultimately rejects this bill and preserves the ability of local radio to freely expose new artists and new music to 235 million listeners every week.”

There are now 251 members of the House who have endorsed radio’s argument – that for decades radio and record companies have mutually benefitted from free airplay, and that nothing in that model has changed. What has changed is that the recording industry watched its business model dissolve on the internet and is now flailing about looking for alternative sources of cash flow, and radio happens to be close at hand.

218 votes is the tipping point for a majority in the 435-member legislative body.

The newest House members to endorse the cause are Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), John Boccieri (D-OH), Brian Baird (D-WA), Joe Sestak (D-PA) and Daniel Lungren (R-CA).

The effort to push the Local Radio Freedom Act got off to a later start in the Senate, and has now reached 25 members. The newbies are Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and John Thune (R-SD), who join Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), David Vitter (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Christopher Bond (R-MO), Max Baucus (D-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Benjamin Nelson (D-NE), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Richard Burr (R-NC), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Tim Johnson (D-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Michael Enzi (R-WY).

RBR-TVBR observation: It is good to see members of the Senate start to sign on to this measure, and it is even better to see that members of both parties recognize the strength of the broadcast position in this dispute.