Washington - Nov 2, 2009 - The NAB received a letter from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT), House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (MI) and members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees requesting a meeting to discuss legislation that would levy a performance fee on local radio stations for playing music. The legislation, known as the Performance Rights Act, is supported by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The letter was sent to NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith and NAB Joint Board Chairman Steve Newberry. NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton issued a statement:
"The NAB is of course willing to talk with members of Congress on this issue and any issue that could negatively impact the ability of free and local hometown radio stations to serve our listeners. We would hope that any discussions would also include the nearly 300 members of Congress who oppose the RIAA-backed bill."
The NAB supports the Local Radio Freedom Act, a bipartisan resolution that opposes "any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge" on local radio stations. Congressional opposition to a performance tax now stands at 252 House lawmakers and 27 U.S. Senators.