Radio One Rally to Fight Performance Rights Act
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A rally to "Save Black Radio" is scheduled to take place May 13 in front of Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) office in Detroit. Conyers, the 80-year-old African American congressman, is the sponsor of the Performance Rights Act. Introduced in February, the measure aims to levy royalties on local radio for airplay and could also force others to abandon their commitment to provide free music.
Radio One/Detroit is encouraging its listeners to gather at Conyers' office with talk host Mildred Gaddis of WCHB-AM, Tune Up of WDMK-FM (105.9 Kiss FM) and Reggie Reg of WHTD-FM (Hot 102.7) in a demonstration against the proposed legislation. The bill (House Bill 848) is the brain child of the foreign owned record industry who would receive at least 50% of the revenue that would be charged to radio stations in order for them to play music.
So far, there has been only one hearing on the bill and that hearing did not have any black ownership representation. Black radio owners and community leaders including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Dick Gregory, Tom Joyner and Cathy Hughes (Founder/CEO of Radio One) have all been flatly refused by Conyers for opportunities for a hearing on this matter.