Radio backers want seat at PRA talks


Gene Green (D-TX) and Mike Conaway (R-TX), sponsors of the anti-PRA Local Radio Freedom Act, have respectfully asked for an invite to the negotiations John Conyers (D-MI) hopes to host between broadcasters and recording companies regarding the Performance Rights Act.

They noted that Energy & Commerce Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) has been invited to the party, and they want to make sure that the other side is able to have some input as well.

“We have serious concerns that legislation imposing a new royalty on local radio stations, particularly in this economic climate, will be tremendously harmful to radio stations and their employees, local communities that rely on radio, and recipients, such as charities and non-profits, that receive free airtime for their causes,” wrote Green and Conaway. “Additionally, this legislation could negatively affect existing songwriter royalties and reduce airtime available to new, undiscovered performers seeking their ‘break’ on local radio.”

The first session is expected to be held 11/17/09.

RBR-TVBR observation: The hearings in both congressional judiciary committees were short on debate and heavy on legislation ramming – but the lack of a quick trip to the floor would indicate that sentiments in the full House and Senate do not mirror those of the committees. So we would hope that negotiations would be much more balanced than the hearings were.

A key point that needs to be determined, but which neither committee seemed to care about at all, is the actual value of airplay in spurring recording sales. Maybe a careful accounting would show that the record companies should in fact be paying radio stations for the spins they now get for no charge. That makes as much sense as making radio stations pay the recording companies for what is essentially running their advertisements.

While we’re on the subject, we are still in awe of the fact that neither judiciary committee seems to have the slightest interest in examining the toxic relationship between recording companies and recording artists, and perhaps figure out why the companies are not adequately compensating artists in the first place.