March 10, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, and Representative Jared Golden are cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to protect locally-owned radio broadcasters from costly red tape and financial hardship. The Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA) declares that Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charges that create financial difficulties for small, independent radio stations like those across the state.
“Maine’s independent radio stations are not only a source of entertainment, but a resource for communities as well,” said Senator Collins. “With deep roots in their towns, local radio hosts keep Mainers informed about issues around the world as well as those close to home. Their presence in the community enables them to highlight regional events and uplift the stories of the Mainers who make our state so unique and special. The Local Radio Freedom Act is our commitment to protect these radio stations, the community news they share, and the jobs they provide from burdensome new fees that could put them out of business.”
“Rural Maine communities depend on local radio stations to access news, music, emergency alerts, and more. It is the public square of our 21st century neighborhoods,” said Senator King. “The Local Radio Freedom Act ensures that small, independent radio stations can continue to provide their essential service without being forced out of the market due to excessive fees or regulations. I’m proud to support local broadcasters across our state and thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for joining me on this legislation.
“The local news, weather, and emergency information broadcasted over the radio is critical to the safety of every community, whether up in our Northernmost towns or along the coast,” said Congressman Golden. “This bipartisan bill will protect our local, independent radio stations from the unnecessary fees and federal red tape that would push them off the airwaves, keeping Mainers in every corner of our state safe and connected.”
The bill comes as some groups advocate for sound recording performance royalty fees on all over-the-air broadcasting, regardless of reach or audience size. Currently, terrestrial radio stations purchase blanket licenses from third-party groups called Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) who are then responsible for distributing the royalties to the correct parties. A new fee structure would add significant cost, labor, and hardship for small, locally-owned stations without the resources of large radio corporations.
It is cosponsored by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY) John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Shelley Capito (R-WV), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Todd Young (R-IN).