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What Warfield Will Say Today


Of course you never know what will happen when lawmakers have their chance to snap at witnesses during the Q&A period as they look to score a soundbite and make national news. Now we know what Charles Warfield(and Saga CEO Ed Christian) will focus on before the House Judiciary Committee today (at 10 a.m.) as the committee starts its second round of hearings on performance royalties. Warfield will focus on three key points.

The first point is that radio is free. Warfield will tell the committee that the current law has enabled a locally focused, community-based broadcast industry that is completely free to listeners. "This free service is unique among entertainment media, and doesn’t require a subscription, a broadband connection, or an expensive wireless data connection for access. Instead, it is completely free to anyone with an AM/FM antenna. Combined with an architecture that ensures that broadcast radio is always on in times of emergency, even when other forms of communication fail, broadcast radio has played a critical role in communities across America for decades."

He will then shift to the popularity of radio – due to the product, the fact that it's free, and how radio and the music industry work hand-in-hand. "The product, which often includes music – has contributed to a U.S. recording industry that dwarfs the rest of the world both in terms of size and scope. This output of diverse and high-quality musical works and sound recordings unquestionably benefits the public and flows from the current legal regime. The existing U.S. system of 'free airplay for free promotion' has served both the broadcasting and recording industries well for decades. The U.S. is the most significant exporter of music and the largest creator for recorded music sales world-wide. Further, the mutually beneficial relationship between broadcasters and the music industry, enabled by the existing law, has incentivized a U.S. recording industry that is larger than that of the U.K, Germany, France, and Italy combined, all of which impose performance royalties on over-the-air sound recordings."

And lastly, Warfield will spend time detailing what radio does in the local communities. "Radio broadcasting has a profoundly positive impact on the economies and spirits of local communities. A recent study found that local radio generated a total of more than half a trillion dollars in GDP and over one million jobs in 2012 across the United States. When deadly tornadoes ripped through parts of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi in late April 2014, broadcasters stepped into their important lifeline roles as first informers, stopping the music and interrupting regularly scheduled programming to provide live, wall-to-wall storm coverage."

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