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Press Congress on STELAR, Performance Tax

- Lawmakers on “Recess” through August

As Members of Congress visit with their constituents during the August recess, broadcasters are encouraged to press them on two key issues pending in DC – preventing a Performance Tax on Radio stations and allowing STELAR to finally expire as scheduled at the end of the year.

The fight against a Performance Tax picked up steam over the summer with the addition of several new co-sponsors for HConRes 20, the Local Radio Freedom Act. The non-binding resolution opposes forcing local Radio stations to pay a new performance royalty. The cost would be added to the hundreds of millions of dollars stations already pay collectively each year to songwriters, composers, authors and publishers through organizations like ASCAP, BMI, GMR and SESAC.

Texas leads the nation in the number of co-sponsors for HConRes 20, but the effort needs 31 more signatories in order to reach a majority of 218.

Where Texans in Congress Stand on The Local Radio Freedom Act

STELAR Still Sticky

While the nation’s two multi-billion dollar satellite TV companies are wielding their PAC dollars and manufacturing retransmission consent disputes with TV groups in an attempt to preserve the satellite TV act, a growing number of lawmakers and a key federal regulator are indicating they agree it’s time for the 30 year-old “temporary” law to expire.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, earlier this month came out in favor of letting STELAR expire at the end of this year as scheduled, saying its “rationale for existence no longer exists.”

“Today, with the satellite industry fully developed and the improvements in signal technology, there is no policy rationale for government intervention in the market to continue to prop up one competitor over another, nor is there any technological reason for a segment of the country to remain unserved by their local television broadcasters,” Paul wrote.

The Senator was referring to the 12 small TV markets that DirecTV continues to neglect by refusing to fulfill its years-old promise to the FCC to provide all their U.S. customers access to their local broadcast stations.  Two of those markets – Victoria and San Angelo – are among the 12 communities neglected by the behemoth owned by AT&T.

Paul echoed a similar position announced in early June by the United States Copyright Office reiterating their 2008 and 2011 recommendations to Congress that the Act be allowed to expire.

TAB has been meeting with Members of Congress who serve on the committees of jurisdiction for the issue throughout the past year and can help all GMs prepare for individual outreach as the opportunities arise.

Download STELAR info packet

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