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Broadcasters Make A New Friend at Today’s Congressional Hearings, Royalty Bill Still Advances to House

Posted by on May 13, 2009

Remember those House Judiciary Committee meetings being held today? The ones we talked about, like, a few hours ago? Well, they’ve wrapped up, and R&R is reporting the heated three-hour hearing featured all the best parts of political theater: arguing, surprise side-switching and a win for small businesses.

After a contentious three-hour hearing in which three amendments to the [Performance Royalties Act] were offered, only one of the amendments — which reduced the fees to small broadcasters — was embraced.

In a surprise turn welcomed by broadcasters, rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) reversed her support for H.R. 848. She acknowledged that she has been heavily lobbied by broadcasters as recently as Tuesday night (May 12), receiving phone calls from Salem Christian talk KKLA/Los Angeles, among other stations. She was concerned about the financial impact on broadcasters, in general, and minority broadcasters, in particular. Waters was in favor of one amendment offered by fellow Californian Daniel Lungren (R) that sought to delay voting on the Act by six months while a study on the economic impact of the measure was conducted.

The bill, which would require broadcasters to pay royalties to song performers in addition to songwriters, still passed by a 21 to 9 vote – advancing it to a full House vote – but broadcasters were pleased to see a welcome amendment and a new ally.

Obviously, with the whole “having to pay even more money to play music” thing, these bills are a major concern for already-struggling terrestrial radio broadcasters. We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.

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Categorised in: Run To Capitol Hill