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NRB Urges Congressional Support for Local Radio Freedom Act


National Religious Broadcasters
National Religious Broadcasters

NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) is urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate who have not yet supported the Local Radio Freedom Act (H.Con.Res.20 and S.Con.Res.5, respectively) to do so now as just a few more co-signers are needed to reach the majority in the House and additional signers are needed in the Senate.

Currently 211 members in the House have signed -- just seven away from the 218 majority needed to block any bill from passing -- and 27 in the Senate. Over the past several months, Reps. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Tom Rice (R-SC) and Elaine Luria (D-VA) co-signed the House bill. And most recently Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) have added their support for the companion resolution in the Senate.

"On behalf of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) I write today to ask that you consider supporting the Local Radio Freedom Act... which would protect local radio stations that play music as part of their programming from having to pay new 'performance' royalties that would cripple, and in some cases decimate, the ability of such radio stations to continue operations," said NRB CEO Troy Miller in letters that were distributed Thursday.

"Among NRB's valued members are numerous radio stations and networks that include music, including contemporary Christian, Gospel, and sacred music, in their programming day, and those stations may well face burdensome and possibly financially fatal royalty fees in the absence of passage of the Local Radio Freedom Act," he added.

Sponsored by Reps. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) in the House and Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) in the Senate, the Local Radio Freedom Act declares that 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.

NRB has long opposed a radio performance tax in any form and voiced concern with proposals such as the Fair Play Fair Pay Act and the more recently introduced Ask Musicians for Music Act (H.R.5219; S.2932), which has failed to gain any co-sponsors since its introduction last November.

Recently, Scott Hunter, the Executive Director of NRB's Music License Committee (NRBMLC), testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property to insist that no changes be made to the longstanding exemption from sound recording royalties granted to radio broadcasters for over-the-air radio transmissions.

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