From The Performance Rights Act, H.R. 848, was passed out of The House Judiciary Committee earlier Wednesday in a 21-9 vote. The bill, which essentially ends radio's royalty exemption, has been amended to spare low-revenue stations from being unduly impacted, and contains a one-year moriatorium. THE DETROIT NEWS reports that Judiciary Chairman JOHN CONYERS tried to address critics' complaints that such a royalty would cripple many radio stations by tacking on the following amendments: Stations with annual gross revenues of less than $100,000 would pay $500, rather than the $5,000 for small stations in the original bill. The change would cover 90% of all minority-owned stations, and 77% of all radio stations. The enactment would be delayed for three years if a station's revenues are less than $5 million annually, and for one year for others. The NAB threatened that "the yet-to-break artists will be losing their number one promotional platform if this bill is enacted."


Now, with the state of broadcast radio in a total flux, expect the broadcasters, including noncommercial and low power stations, to say goodbye to playing music from artists unless their songs are released under a Creative Commons license, or owned by the radio station companies themselves. This will save the radio stations the badly-needed money that can be better used to pay a live deejay.

The music artists just don't understand that without radio airplay, there would be just television shows and commercials left to break out the new artists and music, while radio would get rid of all music programming and go with license-free music or talk. Ryan Seacrest would be out of the countdown business. Casey Kasem can retire. Say goodbye to Radio Disney and all of those music networks for use by the terrestrial broadcasters. Music of Your Life would be on the Internet only.

Music associated with the RIAA would be banned from the airwaves by the radio station companies' own policy. There's no sense in playing music if a station can't make a profit out of it.

This could get bad for radio stations in the near future. Without music, the collective ratings for the stations can drop as listeners move to other ways that stream music such as phones, Internet, satellite, podcasting, and downloads. People who listen to the radio solely for music would just drop off their worthless radios at Goodwill and The Salvation Army where they would sell for $1 if they're lucky.

Imagine talk stations all over the dial on both the AM and FM bands. Some stations would play nothing but Creative Commons-licensed music that's used for podcasters. Creative Commons-licensed material asks for no royalty payments, but instead, ask the deejays to play their music and mention their songs and artists so that the artists would get publicity and hope to sell their music.

Radio stations that are not based in the United States would not be affected by the bill, but what about U.S.-based companies such as BCA and FCB, who lease the use of Mexican-owned radio stations from their owners for the use of programming RIAA music? 91X, Z90, Magic 92.5, Blazin' 98.9, and Walrus 105.7 are programmed by San Diego-based radio business entities, but supply the music and commercials across the border to the south where they broadcast from the Mexican licensed transmitters in Tijuana. Would the RIAA go after such broadcasters?

What could happen to the FM stations is that some of them would flip to music licensed from Creative Commons so that they would not be affected by the bill. Some would flip to all sorts of talk such as sports, commentary, even game shows on the radio. Some might just run reruns of their music-free talk shows during other dayparts.

A more popular idea would be to simply simulcast their AM formats onto their sister FM stations.

Oh, and as for the HD side channels? They would disappear as they're mostly music formats. There would be such as shortage for talk programming and it would be too expensive to program the HD side channels HD2 and HD3.

Here's what FM radio might look like if the bill becomes law.

88.3 - goes from jazz to college talk, sports, unreleased music, and whatever.

89.5 - all news all the time.

90.3 - use returned to its Mexican owner so a Mexican-based broadcaster would use it.

91.1 - use returned to its Mexican owner so a Mexican-based broadcaster would use it.

92.1 - see 97.3

92.5 - use returned to its Mexican owner so a Mexican-based broadcaster would use it.

93.3 - simulcast of KOGO 600.

94.1 - all Jeff and Jer all the time.

94.9 - royalty-free nostalgia music.

95.7 - simulcast of XTRA Sports 1360.

96.5 - talk format

97.3 - Creative Commons-licensed country, bluegrass, folk, and more.

98.1 - smooth talk

98.9 - simulcast of ESPN 800.

100.1 - simulcast of KECR 910.

100.7 - simulcast of KFMB-AM 760.

101.5 - all Dave, Shelly, and Chainsaw all the time.

102.1 - simulcast of Salem-owned KCBQ 1170 as per leasing agreement.

102.9 - simulcast of KSDO 1130's Radio Nueva as per leasing agreement.

103.7 - Creative Commons-licensed light music

105.3 - all Mikey all the time.

105.7 - simulcast of XX Sports 1090.

106.5 - would be simulcast with KTNQ 1020 from Los Angeles.

If the bill becomes law, say goodbye to music-based broadcast radio forever.


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