musicFIRST and Future of Music Coalition File Joint FCC Comments

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Photo Credit: James Kovin

musicFIRST and Future of Music Coalition file joint comments to the FCC, voicing support for continued limits on FM ownership to preserve ownership diversity, viewpoint diversity, and localism.

musicFIRST, a voice for fairness and equity for music creators, and the Future of Music Coalition, a non-profit organization advocating for a fair music ecosystem, jointly submitted comments to inform the FCC’s 2022 Quadrennial Review process. In the filing, the organizations continue their commitment to promoting fairness and protections for small broadcasters by advocating for the continuation of the Local Radio Station Ownership rule and its impact on FM radio stations.

The organizations’ joint comments include recommendations for the FCC, such as keeping numeric limits on local FM ownership to promote ownership diversity, viewpoint diversity, and localism. Additionally, they urge the FCC to decline to expand the definition of the market, which could lead to further consolidation in the marketplace; current limits on commonly-owned FM stations in local markets have not gone far enough to protect the public interest, yet those limits are still necessary for the public interest, they argue.

“Truly small, local radio stations provide invaluable services to communities across the nation, frequently featuring the hyperlocal and up-and-coming content that is often absent from larger, commercial stations,” says Congressman Joe Crowley, Chairman of the musicFIRST Coalition

“But consolidation within the music industry and regrettable deregulatory actions under past Administrations have led to a handful of big broadcasters — who already enjoy significant, unfair advantages — gobbling up hundreds of these stations. In order to preserve the remaining localism and diversity among FM stations in our communities, it is essential that we maintain the limits on the number of FM stations that one entity can own in a single market.”

The filing also notes that AM/FM radio is the only audio platform in the United States that does not pay music creators for the use of sound recordings. Both musicFIRST and Future of Music Coalition advocate for fair pay for all music creators, with special accommodations to guarantee predictability and affordability for small and non-commercial broadcasters.

“At its best, radio can be a uniquely powerful medium, elevating the voices of diverse local communities. Sadly, decades of consolidation and asset-stripping (have) had tragic consequences for broadcasting, mostly relegating innovation and creativity to the non-commercial portion of the radio dial,” says Kevin Erickson, Director of the Future of Music Coalition. 

“Far too often, local DJs and programmers have been replaced by out-of-town robots playing homogenous and repetitive playlists in narrow, cookie-cutter formats. Big radio lobbyists insist that more radical deregulation is the answer, but musicians and our communities know that the FCC must stand firm in defense of competition, localism, and diversity.”