Friday, April 10, 2015


According to this article out today...(credit Radio Ink Magazine) 

....The fight to NOT have your local radio station have to PAY the artists we play is ON! (Again!) I've written about this before, and as a 10-plus year veteran owner of small market radio, and nearly 30 years as an announcer, I have every right to say that a war between the music industry and "radio" over performance rights should never take place, NOR should lobbyists for the music industry be wasting our legislators time with this! 

Radio has always been the venue from which songwriters (including DEAD ones via their estates) already make money. This station pays over six THOUSAND dollars per year in licensing fees for our small radio market!  Recording artists, meanwhile, who may not write songs but PERFORM them are supposed to make their money from record deals, record sales, legal downloads, concerts, and endorsements! They CAN'T have it both ways...yet, watch almost ANY awards show and see them say, "Thank you, Radio!"...And some have the audacity to want Radio to pay to PLAY and PROMOTE them to their popular status where they receive awards!  

As a small radio station operation, when unreasonable fees come our way,  we can't just fire people and consolidate operations or sell off hundreds of broadcasting towers like the big guys have done to save money (and continue to do....) We run our station lean, on REAL money earned from hard work in your communities. We're  already working with a very small (and  underpaid)  staff and yet, we're committed to bring you local guests, information, weather coverage, network news, and more. We've INVESTED here in a better AM signal, an FM signal for our county, and we even pay extra licensing fees to a fourth licensing organization for the rights to put WION on the internet. We live modestly in our small community and proudly do our part to improve the community for YOU.

Good ol' American greed has kicked in again, however, and many of the voices that sing your favorite songs are the ones serenading Congress for this "tax" on the playing of music.  We'll soon post some information for you to be able to send a strong "NO"  to our legislators on behalf of RADIO asking that legislators vote NO for any more fees on radio. Terrestrial radio has zoning, tower maintenance, huge electric bills, regulatory fees to the FCC, music licensing, tax on large pieces of land for transmitters, and all the "usual" expenses of a business, too! Come to think of it, we spend THOUSANDS of dollars in engineering expenses to IMPROVE the sound of these singers' music, too! Ever priced an audio processor for a radio station, and it's associated engineering bills? 

We pay fees each year to KEEP the licenses we're issued.... We promote the GOOD in your community, we raise money for charities like Relay for Life, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, I-M KIDS 3rd Meal Program,  and we promote awareness of the good things in Ionia County  like Bertha Brock Park, The Ionia Area Chamber of Commerce, Ionia DDA, Literacy Council, local events and more!   Most, if not all of that would have to END if we get billed for another massive "performance rights" tax levied upon us. The same will apply to small stations not just here, but  all across the United States.

I've said it before, I'll repeat it again. If this kind of thing is allowed to be pushed through congress based on American GREED, watch soon. And mark my words, it IS greed. The music industry is BUYING your Congress.  Soon after this passes, you'll be asked to report or be taxed-on how many sheets of toilet paper you use.  Sounds  silly, right? Well, so does PAYING someone for the privilege of PROMOTING their songs on the radio. There's plenty of independent singers and songwriters who'd LIKE to be played just for the love of music, not because the GREEDY record company with which they signed is screwing THEM.

It's GREED pure, and simple, and it needs to be stopped...NOW. Please educate yourself on all that local radio does, and how it cannot, in ANY town afford to have any more fees charged to it. Jobs, information, entertainment, and even public safety are at risk with this dangerous and greedy trend by the music industry. Stations may not disappear overnight.... but it WILL an already hard working industry. 

I suppose at worst case scenario, we could create a new format, playing ONLY dead artists, and pay LESS to their estates than to "live" artists,  since we're not supporting their bad habits, greed,  and their lobbying congress once they're buried.

It might be a FUN format!

As expected, the debate and discussion has begun. Please note this e-mail which arrived today from the NAB (for disclosure, we're not NAB members at WION) which tells that the attempt at the "tax" is underway.