Reps. Conaway and Green: Champions of Radio


conawayThere is a discussion of the Performance Rights Act (PRA) scheduled for November 17 on Capitol Hill.  Among the invited participants are National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President/CEO Gordon Smith and Joint Board Chair/Commonwealth Broadcasting President/CEO Steve Newberry, as well as representatives of label-backed pro-royalties group musicFIRST.

Of course, there are two members of Congress not invited who would like to attend and add their own views to the mix: Reps. Mike Conaway (R-TX) (pictured) and Gene Green (D-TX). The two radio supporters  have penned a missive to  House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) asking to participate in the dialogue.

Here is an excerpt from that letter I found on RadioInk:

Green and Conaway write, “We are the lead sponsors of H. Con. Res. 49, the ‘Local Radio Freedom Act,’ a resolution supported by more than 250 of our House colleagues that opposes any new financial burdens on local radio broadcasters. 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 nonprofits, that receive free airtime for their causes.”

They go on to cite the inclusion of Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), a proponent of the new royalties, and other House members not currently on the judicial committee as a precedent for their inclusion. I’m sure that the recent Neilsen studies, showing that radio has a greater audience than the Internet, will add some fuel to the fire on both sides. The musicFIRST people will see an even bigger pot of gold to shoot for at the end of their legislative rainbow, while our side has more solid proof of the reach and value of airplay.

Just take a look at Business Insider‘s Chart of the Day for a great visual representation of the numbers from the study. For more depth, there is also an interview on Media Life with Lorraine Hadfield, managing director of global radio measurement at The Nielsen Company, about “why radio remains ubiquitous, why listening is higher at work than at home, and why not everyone has an iPod.”

With newly verified data showing radio to reach 77%  of adult listeners (64% for the Internet), we have a clear illustration of how pervasive radio is. Our medium continues to hold the crown as the number one discovery mechanism for music, something the labels are well aware of.

Image: Mike Conaway / Public Domain: Govt.


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