A victory for broadcasters?  It looks like it.  Today, it was announced that 220 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed off a bill that would stop the imposition of a royalty paid to the record companies every time a radio station played one of their tunes on the air.  That's a majority and enough to keep the bill from even coming to the floor.  12 U.S. Senators have also signed on against the proposed royalty payments as well.  But, as broadcasters noted, the record companies (75% foreign owned by the way) have been trying to add "pay for play" to radio for many years, and it's doubtful they'll give up.  In the meantime, here's the press release just sent us from the NAB


-- Major milestone reached as House opposition hits 220; Senate opposition doubles --

WASHINGTON, DC -- A majority of U.S. House members is now publicly opposed to a record label-led effort to strap radio stations with new fees for airing music free to listeners, NAB announced today. The Local Radio Freedom Act, a bipartisan resolution that denounces the imposition of "any new performance fee, tax, royalty or other charge" on radio for music airplay now has 220 House co-sponsors and 12 Senate co-sponsors.

Adding their support to the Local Radio Freedom Act are Reps. Alcee Hastings (FL-23), Ron Kind (WI-3), Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), Bob Inglis (SC-4), Edward Royce (CA-40) and Ben Ray Lujan (NM-3). Sens. Jeff Bingaman (NM), Kay Hagan (NC), Jon Tester (MT), Christopher Bond (MO), Judd Gregg (NH), Mike Crapo (ID), and Roger Wicker (MS) have added their support to an identical resolution in the Senate.

"Today's milestone stands as a testament to the tireless efforts of NAB staff, our state association partners, and grassroots efforts of stations across America," said NAB Radio Board Chairman Steve Newberry, president and CEO of Kentucky-based Commonwealth Broadcasting. "But this fight on behalf of 235 million weekly listeners is far from over. Our continued success is dependent on radio broadcasters remaining engaged in building additional support in Congress, and in reminding lawmakers of radio's unparalleled promotional value for both record labels and artists.

"We salute Reps. Gene Green and Mike Conaway and the 218 additional House members who recognize that the proposed record label performance tax stands as a dire threat to the future of free and local radio," said Newberry.

The Local Radio Freedom Act, unveiled at a February Capitol Hill event hosted by the Free Radio Alliance, was introduced by Reps. Gene Green (TX-29) and Mike Conaway (TX-11). In March, an identical resolution was introduced in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 14) by Sens. Blanche Lincoln (AR) and John Barrasso (WY).

"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," reads The Local Radio Freedom Act.

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