Monday, May 14, 2007


I wish we had more politicians who believe in the things that Congressman Mike Doyle was saying last week at a Future of Music Coalition event.

From the FMC blog:
As you well know, a number of issues currently before Congress and the FCC could have a big impact on that process – like media consolidation, net neutrality, and Internet royalty rates.

One disturbing product of the Telecom Act of 1996 has been the rapid consolidation of the ownership of television and radio stations across the country.

This is disturbing on a number of levels.

There’s obvious concern that a radio stationed programmed out of Denver won’t provide much timely local news for residents of, say, Pittsburgh.

That can, at worst, have serious public safety implications, as many have pointed out.

But even on a more mundane level, this process squeezes out all but the most mainstream voices in communities large and small.

I ask you: Could WKRP’s commitment to local news and (Johnny) Fever’s musical vision have survived in today’s consolidated media market?

On a more commercial and artistic level, there’s real concern – which I share – about the homogenization of the content that these broadcasters provide.

It’s clear that the media consolidation we’ve experienced over the last 10 years has reduced the diversity and independence of TV and radio broadcasts dramatically.

A Congressman who thinks radio should be more like WKRP in Cincinnati! That's nothing short of bitchen!

Later in the speech Doyle talks about the possibility of the federal government establishing programs to "encourage the creation of new and different music" similar to the way the National Endowment for the Arts promotes classical music and jazz.

I'm not sure I completely agree with the idea of government-sanctioned rock 'n' roll. But I sure wish a few presidential candidates would pick up on Doyle's basic attitude about the music-industrial complex.

Maybe one has. Apparently Republican Sen. Sam Brownback wants to take that recent ruling that could cripple internet radio behind the barn and kill it with a dull ax.

Again from the FMC blog:

After having a near-death experience a few weeks ago, webcasters got another dose of good news. Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced a bill that would vacate a recent ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board. The ruling would have increased royalty rates for webcasters by 300 to 1200 percent (according to

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