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musicFIRST and Future of Music Coalition File Joint FCC Comments

06 March 2023

The organizations voice support for continued limits on FM ownership in order to preserve ownership diversity, viewpoint diversity, and localism. 

Washington, DC, March 6, 2023musicFIRST – the voice for fairness and equity for music creators – and the Future of Music Coalition – a non-profit organization that advocates for a fair music ecosystem  – jointly submitted comments to inform the Federal Communications Commission’s (“Commission”) 2022 Quadrennial Review process. In their filing, the organizations continued their ongoing commitment to promoting fairness and protections for small broadcasters by advocating for the continuation of the Local Radio Station Ownership rule as related to FM stations. 

“Truly small, local radio stations provide invaluable services to communities across the nation, frequently featuring the hyperlocal and up-and-coming content that is often absent from larger, commercial stations. But consolidation within the music industry and regrettable deregulatory actions under past Administrations have led to a handful of big broadcasters – who already enjoy significant, unfair advantages – gobbling up hundreds of these stations,” said Congressman Joe Crowley, Chairman of the musicFIRST Coalition. “In order to preserve the remaining localism and diversity among FM stations in our communities, it is essential that we maintain the limits on the number of FM stations that one entity can own in a single market.” 

The organizations’ joint comments include the following topline recommendations for the Commission:

– The Commission should keep the numeric limits on local FM ownership in order to promote ownership diversity, viewpoint diversity, and localism.

– The Commission should decline to expand the definition of the market which could lead to further consolidation in the marketplace. Current limits on commonly-owned FM stations in local markets have not gone far enough to protect public interest, yet those limits are still necessary in the public interest.

The filing also notes that AM/FM radio is the only audio platform in the United States that does not pay music creators for the use of sound recordings. Both musicFIRST and Future of Music Coalition advocate for fair pay for all music creators– with special accommodations to guarantee predictability and affordability for small and noncommercial broadcasters. 

“At its best, radio can be a uniquely powerful medium, elevating the voices of diverse local communities. Sadly, decades of consolidation and asset-stripping has had tragic consequences for broadcasting, mostly relegating innovation and creativity to the non-commercial portion of the radio dial.” said Kevin Erickson, Director of the Future of Music Coalition. “Far too often, local DJs and programmers have been replaced by out-of-town robots playing homogenous and repetitive playlists in narrow, cookie-cutter formats. Big radio lobbyists insist that more radical deregulation is the answer, but musicians and our communities know that the FCC must stand firm in defense of competition, localism, and diversity.”

A copy of musicFIRST and the Future of Music Coalition’s comments can be found 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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