The Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes the imposition any new charges on local broadcasters, picked up the support of four more House members and three in the Senate. House opposition now stands at 244, well above the 218 majority tipping point, and support in the Senate has reached 23.
The LRFA is the antidote to the Performance Rights Act, which has stalled since being cleared by the House Judiciary Committee. Companion legislation in the Senate has yet to be heard in its Judiciary Committee, despite Chair Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) desire to do so, and it now appears that event will be unlikely before Congress’s August recess.
The new signatories in the House include Bobby Rush (D-IL), John Adler (D-NJ), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Steve Scalise (R-LA).
On the Senate side, Susan Collins (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) are now in the fold.
“Liberals, moderates and conservatives are uniting in opposition to RIAA’s effort to line the coffers of foreign record labels at the expense of America’s free and local radio stations,” said NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton. “We salute these members of Congress for recognizing the unique role played by radio broadcasters in communities across the country.”
The key language in the Act states that “Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings.”
RBR/TVBR observation: You would think that number 244 would be enough to cool this issue off, but apparently that is not the case. It wasn’t that long ago that John Conyers (D-MI) hijacked his own hearing on problems facing local radio stations to hold yet another hearing on PRA, despite the fact that if PRA were to make it into law, it would be one more giant problem facing local radio.