WSAU has an axe to grind


Midwest Communications Wausau stalwart has noticed that the local Congressman, powerful Dave Obey (D-WI) hasn’t taken a stand on HR 848. It is asking its loyal listeners to help nudge him in the right direction. HR 848 is, of course, the Performance Rights Act, which WSAU notes would create serious hardships for local broadcasters.

The issue is just about as nonpartisan as such things get on Capitol Hill, with battle lines that have nothing to do with party affiliation. The bill has a leg up, though, since it has been introduced by a powerful member of the majority party, John Conyers (D-MI).

The homepage of WSAU’s website is a call to action directed at the station’s listeners, asking them to contact Obey by phone, letter of email and providing the necessary digits to do any of them.

The message to readers says, “Dave Obey’s 40 year career as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives proves his commitment to doing the right thing. Please, ask Congressman Obey to make one more commitment. Ask him to commit to keeping American Broadcasting jobs from being lost just so foreign-owned record labels can get rich. Ask him to say “No” to H.R. 848 by saying “Yes” to H. Con. Res. 49 which is also known as the Local Radio Freedom Act.”

A similar message is posted on the website of Midwest’s WIXX-FM in Green Bay. It also targets Obey, and adds Wisconsin’s two senators, Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) into the mix.

RBR/TVBR observation: As a leading News-Talker in the Wausau-Stevens Point market, WSAU is not in the direct path of the HR 848 hurricane, should it pass into law. However, many of its Midwest Comm stablemates would be severely impacted. And the station would no doubt face droves of new competitors as financially stretched radio stations abandon music formats to take a stab at WSAU’s spoken-content turf.