A Proposed Tax That Could Kill Local Radio, As We Know It.
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
“For more than 80 years, radio and the recording industry have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship: free play for free promotion. And it works. It’s a relationship that has sustained businesses on both sides.
As a retired broadcaster with 30 years of experience in the business, I can tell you a “performance tax” would not just cripple many small market stations it would effectively put them out of business.
Here in America, there are some 235 million people who listen to radio every week. A performance tax would reduce, not just the amount of music you hear on you favorite radio station, it would reduce the number of stations. Among the hardest hit stations would be the minority-owned stations. Those station determined to remain on the air would, of a necessity, switch their formats from “music” to “talk.” They’d have to, or perish.
In the event you had not noticed, local radio is free to the listener. It was designed to be free to the listener. The rich and the poor BOTH receive cal radio at no cost. The broadcaster is required to perform a certain amount of public service to its coverage area and city of license free, as well. Records are kept and reports to the FCC are made, periodically, to ensure the broadcaster is fulfilling his duty to broadcast in the “public Interest.”
Your local broadcaster needs your help. There are currently two bills in congress that would slap a performance tax on your favorite station -- H.R.848, sponsored by Democratic Congressman John Conyers (MI-14) and S.379, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT).
There have been resolutions against the Performance Tax introduced in both the Senate and the House in an attempt to assist your local radio station fight back. Both are known as “The Local Radio Freedom Act.” In the Senate, Sens. Blanche Lincoln (AR) and John Barrasso (WY) introduced S. Con. Res. 14, and in the House, Reps. Gene Green (TX-29) and Mike Conaway (TX-11) introduced H. Con. Res. 49.
J. D. Longstreet