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Newberry: Majority Support For Local Radio Freedom Act A 'Milestone'

WASHINGTON -- June 3, 2009: With the majority if the House -- 220 members -- now signed on to the Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes performance royalties on radio, Commonwealth Broadcasting President/CEO and NAB Radio Board Chairman Steve Newberry said a "milestone" has been reached.

Newberry, who earlier this year testified against the pro-royalties Performance Rights Act before the House Judiciary Committee, said gaining the support of the majority of the House for the anti-royalties LRFA "stands as a testament to the tireless efforts of NAB staff, our state association partners, and grassroots efforts of stations across America."

Newberry continued, however, "But this fight on behalf of 235 million weekly listeners is far from over. Our continued success is dependent on radio broadcasters remaining engaged in building additional support in Congress, and in reminding lawmakers of radio's unparalleled promotional value for both record labels and artists."

The LRFA is a non-binding resolution, and doesn't in itself prevent the pro-royalties Performance Rights Act from being brought to a vote in the full House. The bill passed in the House Judiciary Committee last month. But growing support for the anti-royalties resolution may discourage the PRA's House backers from pushing for a vote at this time.

The Senate version of the Performance Rights Act, backed by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), has not had any hearings as yet in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Leahy chairs. Meanwhile, the Senate version of the LRFA has been adding support, as six more Senators have signed on, bringing the resolution to 12 co-sponsors.

The Local Radio Freedom Act reads, "Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings."

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