WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) reintroduced the bipartisan Local Radio Freedom Act, a resolution declaring that Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charges that create economic hardships for locally-owned radio stations. U.S. Representatives Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.) introduced a companion in the U.S. House of Representatives with 76 cosponsors.
“In some parts of New Mexico – especially rural areas - local radio remains the beating heart for communities to access local and national news, emergency alerts, educational programs, and more,” said Heinrich. “I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan effort in the Senate to prevent Congress from imposing new fees or charges on local radio stations and will continue fighting to keep local radio alive.”
“Communities across Wyoming depend on local radio stations for timely information, news, and programming that have a direct impact on their lives,” said Barrasso. “For more than 80 years, radio stations and the recording industry have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship: free airplay for free promotion. If forced to pay a performance royalty, broadcasters will be have to make cuts to important programing in order to make ends meet. I’m proud to join Senator Heinrich in reintroducing our bipartisan legislation to block any new performance tax on broadcasters across the country.”
“I am proud to support our local radio stations who provide essential services to so many across the Tampa Bay area, particularly during natural disasters and the current pandemic. The Local Radio Freedom Act is a non-binding resolution that reaffirms Congress's support for local radio stations and opposes new fees or taxes on local, free, broadcast radio which could jeopardize those very services upon which so many rely,” said Castor.
“Arkansans and Americans across the nation tune into local radio for around-the-clock news, emergency alerts, and entertainment. These stations are integral parts of our communities and economy, and it’s important Congress prioritize protecting access to over-the-air-broadcasting services. The Local Radio Freedom Act supports listeners and the viability of radio resources. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan resolution,” said Womack.
The Local Radio Freedom Act has received the support of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the New Mexico Broadcasters Association, and the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters.
“America’s broadcasters thank the bipartisan coalition of senators who are supporting their hometown radio stations and listeners. Every day, local radio provides endless free entertainment for tens of millions of listeners as well as free promotion for musical artists. We thank Sens. Heinrich and Barrasso and their colleagues for cosponsoring the Local Radio Freedom Act and opposing a performance royalty that would devastate local radio stations,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith.
The Local Radio Freedom Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).
Read the full text of the bill here.