Member Login

Forgot Password?
Need Login?

You are here: Home > News & Events > News > Post Shutdown, Radio/TV…
Welcome, guest: Login to your account

Post Shutdown, Radio/TV Agenda for Congress Comes into Focus

- Unfinished Business, Eternal Vigilance

As the FCC and other federal government agencies shuttered in the record-breaking shutdown return to work, a handful of lawmakers have been charged with addressing the immigration and border security concerns that prompted the closure. Just as the wheels of government engage again, so must broadcasters prepare to advocate in Congress on a range of familiar, but major concerns.

Performance Tax, Pirate Radio
Radio broadcasters, particularly, have two overriding concerns in Congress this session. First is ensuring that Congress, once again, demonstrates through The Local Radio Freedom Act its opposition to any measure that would force broadcasters to pay a new performance royalty.

Dubbed a “Performance Tax”, this cost would be added to the hundreds of millions of dollars the industry collectively pays already to songwriters, authors and publishers through performance rights organizations like ASCAP, BMI, GMR and SESAC.

Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Midland, has once again agreed to co-author the resolution, but with longtime Democratic co-author Gene Green of Houston now retired, he’ll be working with Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Florida. With individual advocacy from Radio broadcasters across the country crucial to the effort, Conaway and Castor will work together to garner at least 216 additional co-sponsors to reach the majority needed to stop the RIAA’s pet issue.

Texas has routinely led the country in the number of co-sponsors of The Local Radio Freedom Act, but seven of the 22 lawmakers who supported us on this issue left office in 2018 so we’re mounting a considerable re-education effort this spring.

Also on the Radio front, Congressional leaders have been asked by TAB and our counterparts across the nation to tee-up legislation addressing the rapidly expanding Pirate Radio threat that is undermining the Emergency Alert System, causing interference with properly licensed stations, posing direct health risks to innocent persons and threatening the integrity of the nation’s air traffic control system.

The Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act last session passed the House and a key Senate committee unanimously, but one GOP Senator killed the measure in the waning hours of the session last December.

Read More about Pirate Radio Legislation

Satellite TV/Retransmission Consent
For about two decades broadcasters have been forced to work through Congress to ensure that Satellite TV companies comply with legal restrictions against importing a distant network signal into homes that could receive a signal from an affiliated station in their local market.

Now known by the acronym “STELAR”, the satellite TV legislation has essentially achieved its goal and broadcasters no longer need it to be renewed. Allowing the legislation to expire entirely also will remove an opportunity for the Pay-TV industry to attempt to use it as a back-door to gutting the entire retransmission consent process, their longtime goal.

These issues will be the focus of meetings TAB is arranging in DC with the state’s 38 members of Congress at the end of February following the NAB’s State Leadership Conference. The TAB delegation includes 15 Radio and TV broadcasters, and additional in-district meetings are planned for late spring and the summer.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

« Back to News Archive
« Back to Latest News