It's time congress stops listening to big business and starts responding to common sense. Yes, I said "Congress" and the phrase "common sense" in one sentence. Since your heart stopped when that happened, let me explain. (Even more the need to explain as I'm posting this during a partial government shutdown.)
Yet another effort to 'tax' local radio for playing music has surfaced in Congress. You'll find information posted from the
Michigan Association of
Broadcasters and links on our facebook page.
The recording industry is crying "poverty" on the backs of local radio nationwide, and wants us to pay to play the music for you, beyond what we already pay! You may not be aware, but for years and years, radio stations have paid the publishers of the songs we play, via the big three licensing organizations, BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. Stations providing a streaming service, as we do, also pay the recording industry through an organization called 'Soundexchange'. Artists, on the other hand are traditionally paid by their recording companies, by the public attending concerts, and the sale of the artists' music on CDs and downloads. Radio, meanwhile brings that same music ('advertising' it) to the public's ears, FREE.
We buy our own music. It is not provided by the music industry. We pay for the electricity to play it, the talent to introduce it, and the FCC licenses that bring it to the general public at no charge to you the listener!
This proposed financial load on local radio is just not possible! Many stations like WION serve our communities 24/7 on a minimal staff, producing "radio miracles" that are visible in our in raising money for local causes, helping local businesses survive with creative, lively advertising, and in providing live and local information in times of local emergencies. Smaller, local stations excel in all these fields even better than big-city stations, and we're the ones that will be hurt the most by a "performance tax."
Speaking as a smaller station, we can't just 'appropriate" money from somewhere in our budget to feed the latest music industry stars, because they want larger buses, better houses, and more guitars! The music industry seems to think local radio can be a source of "easy money" to them.
On the contrary!
We, as local stations are called on more and more each year to operate on smaller staff sizes, to produce our craft heavily utilizing multi-tasking, and investing in extra technical help to squeeze more years out of our existing broadcasting equipment, all of which we're expected to do while still providing outstanding service to you! Every year our regulatory fees to the FCC go up, and every year our costs to run all the "gizmos" that bring you your favorite station go up, too.
In WION's case, you know as listeners, our station has increased our service to you over the past 5 to 10 years, even in the face of a poor economy! Instead of cutting back, this small town station has added streaming and mobile apps, a new fm signal, beautiful am-stereo, bigger coverage, better online presence, and more involvement in the local community.
Please help us fight "big business" (in this case, the music industry) at our small-town local level and preserve the element of "
Americana" provided by your hometown having a station that cares about you
and your community.
Contact your federal legislators. Thank the ones who are signed on to the "Local Radio FreedomAct" and let those not on that list know that you value your local radio station and want it left unburdened by unfair financial bullying from the music industry. We work hard for you, and hope you'll do the same for us with an e-mail, call, or letter to support local radio and defeat any effort at what amounts to a "performance tax."
If a radio station can be forced to pay for playing songs, your business could be in line for the next outrageous tax, and we'd like to still be here to help you when that happens!