Radio stations: Put you thinking caps on — it’s contest time!

The NAB is running a cool new contest through its "".  Entrants can help in the fight against the move for performance rights.  And one lucky radio broadcaster can win $ 2,500.00 and coach airfare, hotel for two nights and registration for two to the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia on September 23-25 (where, as an added bonus not being touted by the NAB, you’ll likely get the chance to meet real live Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC attorneys). 

The "Don’t Tax That Dial" contest invites over-the-air radio broadcast stations within the United States to submit an original 30 second advertisement by July 1, 2009 that advocates against the imposition of a performance right applicable to over-the-air broadcasting.  The advertisement must specifically play off of one of these themes:

  • Record labels, artists and radio broadcasters have a mutually beneficial relationship: Free airplay of music by radio stations promotes record labels and artists, and generates billions in music sales.
  • Three out of the four largest record label conglomerates are internationally-based, which means such a tax would take money out of local communities and send it overseas.
  • The effects of a performance tax would be catastrophic to communities, potentially forcing stations out of business, threatening jobs, stifling new artists and reducing choice for the listening public who depend on local radio.
  • Because the big foreign-owned record companies have a failing business model that has not adapted to the digital age, they are now asking Congress to upend a mutually beneficial relationship and tax local radio stations.

Be sure to review the full contest rules and regulations, as they contain sponsorship identification and political advertising requirements. 

The contest comes as the fight over the Performance Rights Act continues to heat up.  As have previously reporters, HR 848 passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 21-9 vote on May 13. However, support for H. Con. Res. 49 is now at 208 co-sponsors, very close to the all-important number of 218 representatives that would constitute a formal majority against the performance right.   More Representatives are expected to sign on to H. Con. Res. 49 as legislators presumably will be hearing from local radio broadcasters while home for the Memorial Day recess. 

Opponents are working the Senate as well, with Radio Ink reporting that minority broadcasters have asked Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy to hold a hearing on S 379 before moving forward with a Committee vote.  That could be enough to delay any effective action on the Performance Rights Act in the Senate in light of a presumptive House defeat.  

So go forth, radio broadcasters, and take the advocacy into your own hands!