Radio freedom resolution picks up steam in Senate


US Congress109 members of the US House of Representatives are confirmed supporters of the Local Radio Freedom Act, a resolution expressing the will of Congress to avoid placing any new royalties on radio stations. The total is the Senate has now increased to eight.

The Senate sponsors of the measure are John Barrasso (R-WY) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). They are joined by Michael Enzi (R-WY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), James Inhofe (R-OK), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

The National Association of Broadcasters has seized the opportunity to take this case to the public, running the following ad in praise of Barrasso in the Casper Star Tribune. A similar ad has appeared in the Bismarck Tribune praising Heitkamp.

The ad states:

Local radio stations are the pulse of communities in Wyoming and across the nation, providing the quality entertainment, weather, news and emergency information listeners need and want.

But an effort by the foreign-owned record labels to impose a “performance tax” on local radio could change that. A tax on radio could financially cripple local stations, reduce the variety of music stations play and stifle new artists trying to start their careers.

Luckily, Wyoming listeners have a champion in Sen. Barrasso. He recently introduced the Local Radio Freedom Act, opposing a new tax on radio and protecting local listeners.

Sen. Barrasso understands that radio is the voice of the people. A tax on local radio is bad for radio, bad for artists and bad for listeners.

Learn more at

RBR-TVBR observation: We note that the Senate list is perfectly bipartisan. That’s the good news – this is a cause that makes sense to members of congress regardless of party affiliation or ideological bent. It is indicative of the general situation for broadcasters on Capitol Hill – the issues the business faces often cut across party lines.

Part of the reason for that is that many of the issues are matters of one industry being pitted against another – in this case, the battle is between broadcasters and big recording companies.

Anyway, the next time you see a report noting that the NAB makes significant political contributions to members of both political parties, you’ll know why.