The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) goes back to the 1923 and they essentially wrote the 1934 law that governs what the FCC does, as least as it regards radio broadcasting. Prior to the creation of the FCC in 1934, regulation of radio was the responsibility of the Commerce Department, and then the Federal Radio Commission in 1927.
RCA and General Sarnoff’s NBC network had a huge say in how broadcast radio would be governed, including creating the code of conduct. The unspoken mission statement of the FCC is protect the interests of those that already have licenses and patents, which is framed as operating in the “public” interest. This false narrative is most clearly recently seen in the battle over low power FM stations.
At the end of 2021, the man taking over the NAB is a former Democratic party lobbyist, intellectual property lawyer, and strategist for Barack Obama who claims that the regulation of radio is bipartisan and needs to be a level playing field politically. Does that sound a little like the fairness doctrine?
The issue facing the radio business for almost a hundred years is the question of how much, if anything, radio stations should pay artists to play their recorded music over the air.
Mister LeGeyt was a senior aide to Senator Patrick Leahy, who authored the Performance Rights Act back in 2010 that proposed ending the radio “free ride” on the back of musicians who often got no royalties – until the NAB insisted that Sirius and XM had to pay for music, because they needed to be stopped. I have read that the United States is one of only three countries that has no requirement to pay musicians for using their music on the radio.
In an ironic twist, when American artists have their music played in the European Union, they are entitled to get royalties, but because there is no reciprocal agreement, the American musicians get nothing.
Senator Leahy is the Senator Pro Tempore, making him very influential. In the line of Presidential succession, he is third, behind Vice President Kamala Harris and speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
The fox is in the hen house. Will they realize it in time? With complete control, if a Performance Rights Act does not go into law, it is because old white Democrats want to screw over the female black Motown musicians who live in poverty.