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No Heart Radio:

14 February 2020

Heart, Big Broadcasters Choose Profits Over People,
Showing No Love for Local Communities or Music Creators

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and their billion-dollar members like iHeartMedia like to talk about “local radio” but the announcement of iHeart’s mass layoffs in markets across the country have employees of local stations asking: “Where’s the love?”

A recent story in the Washington Post about iHeartMedia’s plans to cut hundreds of jobs shows just how phony the NAB and their largest members are when they claim to have the best interests of local stations at heart.

These giant broadcasters talk about the need to modernize to keep up with newer, more innovative music platforms, but in the same breath they desperately cling to an antiquated loophole allowing big AM-FM broadcasters to avoid paying music creators for playing their songs, like SiriusXM and all digital streaming services do.

While big broadcasters say they care about local stations and artists, their actions show just how heartless they really are.

“They don’t understand the relationships and the connections we had with the communities. And that’s the worst part: They don’t care.”
– D’Edwin “Big Kosh” Walton, Columbus, Ohio D.J on iHeart

Profitability Over People
In January, iHeartMedia announced mass layoffs affecting hundreds of their employees across the country. Described by Billboard as a “bloodbath”, iHeart’s layoffs occurred despite continued strong financial performance by the company.

The Post reports, “In November, iHeartMedia reported it took in more than $1.6 billion in broadcast-radio revenue during the first nine months of 2019, and company filings claim that a quarter of a billion listeners still tune in every month.”

Local Radio Be Damned
Consolidation within the $17 billion radio industry over the last decade has created a market where ten radio corporations (iHeart, Cumulus, and Entercom among, others) own and operate the majority of stations across the country. As a result, “big broadcasters” control what content people have access to across markets serving communities of all sizes.

While he was referring to iHeart in the Washington Post, DJ D’Edwin “Big Kosh” Walton’s comments can just as easily apply to all Big Broadcasters, “They don’t understand the relationships and the connections we had with the communities. And that’s the worst part: They don’t care.”

Broadcasting from Both Sides of their Mouths
Music services like SiriusXM, Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music pay performers for playing their songs, but there is one music platform in the U.S. (actually, in the entire developed world) where the principle of fair pay for one’s work does not apply: AM-FM radio.

Between their profits and government help in the form of subsidies, there is no reason billion-dollar broadcasters like iHeart can’t pay for using the creative property and work of music performers and artists the same way streaming services and radio broadcasters across the rest of the world already do.

“We do not intend to be one of those companies that stayed in the past, and the world passed it by.”
– iHeartRadio’s Wendy Goldberg

It’s past time for big radio to get with the times and start paying music creators for their work!

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