Monday, June 1, 2009

More Than 80 College and High School Radio Stations From 29 States Urge U.S. Congress to Oppose Record-Label Supported Legislation

/PRNewswire / -- Colleges and high schools from across the country joined together to oppose federal legislation that would impose a fee on radio stations that play music, including on tuition- and fee-supported, student operated, noncommercial radio. In a letter to members of Congress delivered earlier today under the banner of the Free Radio Alliance and the College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI), faculty, staff, and students from more than 80 stations including Duke University, Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin, SUNY-Brockport, Rice University, Washington State University and Virginia Tech argued that "other serious threats" would result from the passage of the performance fee.

The letter states, "One oft-cited straw man argument made by recording industry lobbyists is that...educational institutions would fall within a special accommodation. Though, in the context of record industry profits, company executives might believe their proposal to be reasonably low, in the real world those proposed fees represent large portions of annual budgets for student-operated radio stations."

The letter continues, "Particularly in the present economic times as students, their families, and educational institutions face sharply increasing fiscal pressures, now is not the time to impose new fees on our small stations principally to benefit foreign-owned recording labels. The record industry executives clearly do not understand student-operated radio, which is obvious in the proposed legislation."

College Broadcasters Inc. President Warren Kozireski says that the performance tax legislation has hidden costs that would jeopardize many stations' ability to continue to exist. "The record labels are completely out of touch as to how college radio stations operate. The extensive recordkeeping requirements that will be required by the Copyright Royalty Board alone will add hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to the true cost of a performance fee," said Kozireski. "As families across the country continue to struggle to find ways to pay for school and as education budgets get tighter and tighter, the concept of a performance fee is outrageous - all to benefit foreign-owned record conglomerates at the expense of our students."

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