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United For Economic Justice: Community Broadcasters Stand With Music Creators in Support of American Music Fairness Act

27 February 2023

Broad Coalition Calls on Congress to Finally Pass Legislation to Pay Artists for AM/FM Radio Plays and Create Certainty for Local Broadcasters

Washington, DC, February 27, 2023musicFIRST – the voice for fairness and equity for music creators – today applauded community broadcasters for speaking out in support of the American Music Fairness Act (AMFA) that would achieve economic justice for creators and a reasonable and certain framework for broadcasters to play music on AM/FM radio stations.

As the National Association of Broadcasters prepares to descend on Capitol Hill this week for their annual “fly-in” event, six organizations that represent and/or advocate for community broadcasters are sending a message that the AMFA is good for small, community-focused stations. In their letter to Congress, the Alliance for Community Media, Common Frequency, Media Alliance, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB), Prometheus Radio Project, and REC Networks — which collectively represent a broad coalition of community broadcasters, including community radio stations, college radio stations, and Low Power FM stations, across the nation — called on lawmakers to pass the bipartisan, bicameral bill. 

A copy of the letter can be found here.

“NFCB has been advocating and fighting for community radio stations for nearly 50 years. AMFA provides a way for community stations to continue supporting artists while also easing the financial burden on community broadcaster,” said Lisa Kettyle, Program Director of NFCB. “Affordability is not just about cost – it’s about equity and accessibility. Easing the financial burden for small stations is essential. NFCB is proud to join musicFIRST and the many community partners in support of AMFA.”

The legislation would grant music artists performance royalties for AM/FM radio plays, while also providing small broadcasters with the certainty and affordability they need to thrive. 

Momentum is growing for the AMFA’s passage because it recognizes and protects the critical role of radio stations that serve our local communities by including broad exemptions to guarantee a predictable and affordable environment for small, public, noncommercial and college stations. For example:

– Any station with less than $1.5 million in annual revenue (and whose parent company makes less than $10 million in annual revenue overall) would pay less than $2 per day — $500 annually — for unlimited music.

–  Qualified public, college, and other noncommercial stations would pay even less — only $100 per year.

– And the smallest stations — those with revenue under $100,000 annually — would pay just $10 per year. 

“Small radio stations are important cornerstones in so many communities across this country, and often feature the local artists and genres that aren’t heard on larger, commercial stations,” said Congressman Joe Crowley, Chairman of the musicFIRST Coalition. “However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and consolidation in the broadcasting industry, the number of small, truly local stations is dwindling. Those who remain deserve to be protected, particularly as Big Radio giants like iHeart remain hellbent on gobbling them up. As the National Association of Broadcasters heads to Washington this week to lobby on behalf of its Big Radio bosses, musicFIRST will continue to be an advocate for community broadcasters by demanding passage of AMFA so small broadcasters will be able to play unlimited music for less than $2 per day — giving these community treasures the affordability and certainty they need to thrive far into the future.”

The community broadcasters’ letter was sent on the heels of the AMFA’s early reintroduction by Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) in the House of Representatives and Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in the Senate, and ahead of the National Association of Broadcaster’s State Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

“Community radio stations are doing incredibly important work in the public media system. They provide a vital public service, often with limited organizational capacity and fewer resources than larger stations. Community stations provide hyperlocal content, public safety and emergency response, news coverage, the preservation of oral histories, a platform for local up-and-coming artists, and more,” added Kettyle.

A fact sheet about the bill’s provisions is available to download here

For more information, please visit the musicFIRST website at www.musicfirstcoalition.org and follow the coalition on Twitter at @musicFIRST.


About musicFIRST
musicFIRST works to ensure music creators get fair pay for their work on all platforms and wherever and however it is played. We rally the people and organizations who make and love music to end the broken status quo that allows AM/FM to use any song ever recorded without paying its performers a dime. And to stand up for fair pay on digital radio — and whatever comes next.

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