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musicFIRST Applauds FCC’s Decision To Preserve Radio’s Remaining Competition, Localism & Diversity

11 January 2024

The FCC’s rejection of a monopolistic proposal from the NAB is a win for small broadcasters and artists alike.

Washington, DC, January 11, 2024musicFIRST — the voice for fairness and equity for music creators — applauds the Federal Communications Commission’s recently released decision to maintain current radio ownership caps,  which are essential to the preservation of small radio stations and hyperlocal content amid Big Radio’s continued market consolidation efforts. The Commission released its decision in the latest Quadrennial Review of Media Ownership Rules which, for the first time, recognizes the advantages that large broadcasters reap by not paying music artists. 

The review extensively cites musicFIRST’s comments — filed jointly with the Future of Music Coalition — which included the following topline recommendations, both of which were pursued by the Commission:

-The Commission should keep the numeric limits on local FM station 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.

“Small radio stations provide invaluable services and content to communities across the nation, often featuring the hyperlocal content and new artists that are all too absent from Big Radio playlists. But in recent years, we’ve seen a handful of broadcasting behemoths greedily gobble up dozens of small stations, resulting in a dwindling number of truly local broadcasters,”  said Senator Mark Pryor, Chairman of the musicFIRST Coalition. “While current limits on commonly-owned FM stations in local markets have clearly not gone far enough, they are essential to the preservation of the remaining ownership diversity, viewpoint diversity, and localism on our airwaves. We’re pleased that the Commission saw through the NAB’s thinly veiled efforts to further monopolize our radio airwaves and sided with public interest over Big Radio. This is not only a win for small broadcasters, but also for the music artists and local communities they give voice to.”

The Commission also acknowledged broadcasters’ lack of payment to artists, specifically referencing musicFIRST’s point that “broadcast radio already has a competitive advantage over other audio delivery platforms because it is exempt from paying royalties to music creators” in its decision. This comes as roughly 6 in 10 voters (59%) say they would support Congress passing a new law that would require broadcasters to pay artists when their music is played on AM/FM radio, according to a poll commissioned by musicFIRST.

The FCC’s full 2018 Quadrennial Review Report and Order can be read here. A copy of musicFIRST’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.

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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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