Sunday, June 7, 2009
Radio: Performance royalty fee - the video!
Are you as embarrassed of this video as I am?
Try not to let it diminish your faith in the veracity of the radio industry.
This is what was put forth on YouTube as radio's entreaty against the proposed performance royalty fee.
It’s from House Judiciary Committee Chairman and Häagen-Dazs aficionado John Conyer’s “Awareness for Fairness” town hall meeting on June 2nd at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit.
Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, George Clinton, Sam Moore of Sam and Dave, and Dionne Warwick represented the recording artists.
Rev. Al Sharpton represented radio. Why?
He’s a has-been. He’s jumped the shark. He’s over. He’s last century. He’s not even worthy of a cameo role on a we-play-everything Jack format.
Is he still on Radio One’s payroll?
Radio One CEO Cathy Hughes was invited to be on Conyer’s panel but declined.
Kathy Stinehour, VP/GM of Radio One Detroit; John Gallagher, market manager of Greater Media, Detroit; Debbie Kenyon, market manager of CBS Radio Detroit were the only radio managers in attendance.
First, the Reverend Al cited an alleged Congressional conspiracy to silence “black radio, talk radio and free radio,” followed by a fictitious anecdote about Prince, claiming that his former label “owned” his name.
The only black radio I know of that’s been silenced is in Pittsburgh – and it was done by a black-owned company, Sheridan Broadcasting.
And Prince? Dropping his name for that symbol was his decision – and he did it while he was still on his label, Warner Brothers. He returned to using the Prince name in May 2000 after his publishing contract with Warner/Chappel expired.
The cause against a performance royalty fee for radio may be right but Sharpton chose all the wrong reasons for defending it.
In fact, Sharpton fell short of fully endorsing radio’s side.
While Sharpton pontificated, a drove of sloppy-dressed, out of shape white kid interns and assistants in the upper balcony cheered him on.
Is this the video the radio industry wants everyone to see?
Come on, you had to realize that when nearly every music station that mattered lined up behind pay-for-play/legal payola demands that the labels would eventually seek revenge.
Sure, the labels offered the payola…but radio took it and then asked for more and more and more….
I keep telling you that the Record Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) is getting even while you’re getting odd.
By now, you’ve heard the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) claiming a major victory over the performance royalty tax.
Last week, the NAB, evidently still haunted by the ghost of David Rehr, congratulated itself for collecting 220 signatures from House members.
What the NAB didn’t tell anyone was that those signatures are non-binding and those that signed are not obligated to support radio’s cause. What the NAB did do was provide the RIAA with a list of those who need to be swayed to their side.
In the past decade, the RIAA has been very persuasive on Capitol Hill. Radio has not.
Shall we count the number of times the NAB was caught sleeping on its steps?
There’s the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. How about the Family Entertainment Copyright Act? Need I continue?
If this performance tax is that imperative for radio’s future, where were its leaders?
I didn’t see Mark Mays at this meeting? Where was Peter Smyth? Dan Mason? Lew Dickey? Okay, he’s excused for professional voyeurism – more on that in a moment.
Why weren’t they representing radio at this “town hall” meeting?
Were they too busy working on own exit strategies to be concerned with another financial burden that’s about to be levied on radio? Why be bothered if it’ll be someone else’s problem?
We know Lew Dickey’s been preoccupied with the new surveillance systems he’s installing at all the Cumulus properties, so he can spy on his station managers and account executives.
The economics of our industry may be merciless these days, but still it’s disturbing to witness Dickey’s cannibalistic routine.
To paraphrase Gnarls Barkley, does that make him crazy? Unquestionably.
I’m still trying to hit upon an upside to this video. Maybe Greater Media Detroit market manager John Gallagher can parlay it into a TV reporter slot at one of Detroit’s TV stations. Or perhaps not.