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MMTC Says 33% of Minority Outlets Would Suffer


In a release posted on its web site, MMTC encourages "fellow civil rights organizations" to oppose Performance Royalty legislation aimed at levying royalties for local airplay. The organization "conservatively estimated" that the proposed legislation "would throw at least a third of minority-owned stations over the cliff into bankruptcy."

The National Association of Media Brokers (NAMB) agrees, adding that "the imposition of a performance royalty on over-the air broadcast stations will be crippling to the broadcast industry in general, and be particularly devastating to minority broadcasters and other new entrants to the industry."

MMTC declares that there is "misinformation" circulating in the civil rights community suggesting that the legislation will not harm minority radio. "Black and Spanish radio would be hit the hardest by this legislation because these stations face the greatest challenges," said MMTC. These challenges include weaker signals, ad discrimination, and EEO non-enforcement.

According to the trade group, "the Performance Royalty legislation would require the Copyright Royalty Tribunal (CRT) take minority ownership into account in setting rates. That provision is well intentioned but meaningless. The CRT cannot set lower rates for minority radio without congressional findings, an Adarand study and, probably, appellate litigation."

MMTC also pointed to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report last July which said that the rates charged commercial radio stations could be "substantial" yet indeterminable.

Several civil rights organizations along with the MMTC are pursuing the narrowest possible remedy, which is a full examination of the impact of royalties on radio public service, radio ownership diversity and minority ownership particularly -- before the full House or Senate takes up the bill.

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