Gary Koenig: Don’t let legislation kill radio stations, local jobs |

Gary Koenig: Don’t let legislation kill radio stations, local jobs

Gary Koenig, owner
Affordable Music, Dillon

Coloradans may have different ideas on how to stimulate the economy, but surely we can agree it’s a bad idea to pass legislation that hurts local businesses and kills jobs. Unfortunately, music labels and their allies are pushing for the passage of the Performance Rights Act (S. 379 and H.R. 848), legislation that will do just the opposite. As of now, this legislation has already passed through the House and Senate Judiciary Committees and awaits floor action.

Further action and passage of the Performance Rights Act would hurt our local stations because it’ll cause operating costs to increase. As a result, stations – especially those already struggling financially – could go into bankruptcy, lay off workers, play less music, and even cut back on community sponsorships.

The negative impact of the PRA extends beyond our local radio stations. Just think for a moment about the reasons why people and businesses depend on stations. For example, when severe weather threatens, we tune in to local radio. Want to know why the traffic in front of you has come to a halt? Check the radio traffic report. Additionally, local radio stations provide regular news updates, give local businesses an affordable option for advertising, and sponsor local community events.

But, like many businesses today, radio stations are struggling to survive. The cost of a new royalty, which would be on top of the one they already play, could be the final straw for some. That financial disaster could certainly spill over to other businesses.

To give you more perspective on what I am talking about, I own a record store in Dillon called Affordable Music. A good amount of my business comes from customers who want to buy music they’ve heard on the radio, so legislation that would ultimately lead to less music on the air would lead to fewer music sales.

To be frank, this legislation would be a nightmare. Since Congress has to meet in a post-election lame duck session to conclude unfinished business, there will be opportunity to pass bills like this one. Those who support it are going to work hard to get it passed before the next Congress.

We can’t let that happen because we can’t afford to lose any more valuable jobs and businesses.

We need elected officials who will oppose the Performance Rights Act and support the Local Radio Freedom Act. I’ve already urged some of them to do so. For the sake of our economic well being, please join me and do the same.

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