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Control Your Media!

09 Aug 2009

HR 848 or Black Radio?

Listed under: News

Is it really HR 848 or Black Radio?

Once again the big media machine is working, while Congressional lawmakers are being besieged with lobbyist and broadcaster rhetoric, the truth is being diverted by Black radio about the Performance Rights Act, HR 848. Founder and Chairman of Radio One, Cathy Hughes recently made her opposition public on the syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show. Joyner, who broadcasts to millions of listeners in over 100 markets, once again demonstrated that information to people of color is often one sided. Hughes, framed the conversation as if the pending legislation would put an end to black radio, while Joyner failed to ask his business partner the tough questions. Millions of listeners were fooled into believing HR 848 was the certain end of Black radio. The truth is Black radio is it’s own worst enemy.

“The Performance Rights Act” was the creation of John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who for decades has backed the effort to win performers and artists royalties for their radio-played works. Conyers, believes it is finally time to establish equity for recording artists and allow them to be paid fair compensation for their creativity.

For decades, radio has profited from airplay, free promotions, and concerts in a pay for play situation, often leaving artist penniless while turning their backs on local audiences that they are licensed to serve. Black radio has been the testing ground for syndication for close to twenty years. Black listeners are 20 times more likely to hear syndicated programming then whites. Syndication, unknowingly has limited the voices and opinions, while condensing the play-list and stifiling local news and information.

Black radio for decades was the only voice in local communities, it’s been replaced with a share holder mentality reacting only to revenue and not listeners. If Black radio fails, it’s not HR 848, it’s simply failing to serve the local communities they are licensed to serve.

So the next time you hear black radio framing an issue, make sure you question the source.

Paul Porter
Industry Ears