Photo: Fairfax Media/Getty Images
Why Is The NAB Spending Millions Of Dollars To Lobby For Big Radio?
"How does Big Radio stay big and keep growing? Well, the NAB's $12.7 million spent lobbying Congress in 2019 goes a long way toward keeping local radio—and music creators—struggling for their livelihoods." –Conversations In Advocacy #74
Next week, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) will mount their biggest annual lobbying day aimed to influence Congress to keep big radio safe. So what are independent stations and music makers struggling to make a living up against? Big bucks. The NAB's annual spending on lobbying is staggering
According to the NAB's latest financial disclosures, the trade organization spent $12.71 million lobbying Congress in 2019. While that figure is astounding, it's actually down from their typical lobbying expenditures. Last year's spending represents a 10 percent decline compared to their 2018 expenditures and an 18 percent decline from 2017's spending.
In fact, the NAB has put their money where their mouth is to obstruct creator friendly legislation for years. In 2014, the organization spent over $18 million in an attempt to influence Congress, a shocking amount.
And while they claim to be protecting the little guy, the truth is a different story. Last month, the NAB came out against the Ask Musicians for Music (AM-FM) Act, a new bill that would actually protect small and local broadcasters, while also benefitting musicians. The AM-FM Act would empower creators to negotiate fair market rate for the use of their work, something the NAB and Big Radio oppose even while they enjoy those same rights of permission for rebroadcasting they themselves already enjoy.
But the NAB has long prioritized corporate greed over those who make their livelihood possible: the creators. Big radio is utilizing these large sums of funds to advocate for a bigger, more centralized structure instead of traditional local control. NAB has long resisted legislative efforts to truly protect artists and local radio, like the AM-FM Act, by advocating instead to continue special treatment for Big Radio. Sadly, the loser in this scenario are the very creators whose work fuels Big Radio's profits.
To learn more about the AM-FM Act and other important music policy issues, visit the Recording Academy's issues and policy page and contact your members of Congress today to let them know, despite the NAB's big lobbying bucks, it’s time for radio to start worrying more about those who create their content, too, instead of only those who see the profit.