Washington, DC (June 11, 2009)--The musicFIRST Coalition believes radio stations across the country are putting private interests before public obligations and has asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate.
The musicFIRST (Fairness in Radio Starting Today) Coalition has filed a formal request with the FCC detailing how radio stations across the country refuse to air musicFIRST ads, threaten artists who support the effort to create a fair performance right on radio and continue to run misleading ads produced by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). The filing claims that the actions were an effort by radio stations in Delaware, Florida and Texas to further their own private commercial interest at the expense of their public interest obligations.
The Associated Press is also reporting that a top-selling artist, whom musicFIRST will not name, has been removed from certain radio station playlists, allegedly in retaliation for vocally supporting the Performance Rights Act. The proposed bill, backed by the Recording Industry Association of America, would require radio stations to compensate the musicians performing on a recording in addition to the songwriters. There is speculation that the artist is U2, whose frontman, Bono, has spoken in support of the legislation.
The NAB has refuted that claim on behalf of its approximately 6,500 member stations. As evidence to the contrary, Dennis Wharton, the NAB's executive vice president, has pointed out that Black Eyed Peas, whose will.i.am has also publicly supported the bill, are currently at #1 on the Billboard Pop 100 Airplay chart.
In its filing, musicFIRST is asking the FCC to investigate the allegations, find that the stations have violated their public interest obligations and consider the broadcasters' malfeasance in connection with their license renewal. The organization is also asking the FCC to consider this conduct as part of its overall review of the length of radio station licenses, currently seven years.
Earlier this month, the NAB announced that a majority of U.S. House members now support 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. There are reportedly now 220 House co-sponsors and 13 Senate co-sponsors for the bill.
The House Judiciary Committee voted 21-9 on May 13 for the Performance Rights Act to go forward to a full House vote.
National Association of Broadcasters