Skip to main content

Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association

Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Take Action Against the Performance Tax!

Radio broadcasters and their industry advocates are fighting efforts by record labels to impose a performance rights fee (“Performance Tax”) on the music stations play. For the past several years, resistance has come in the form of The Local Radio Freedom Act, a non-binding resolution expressing lawmakers’ opposition to the Performance Tax. In the last Congress, more than 218 House members signed on to the Act. But this week, Performance Tax proponents changed strategies. A new bill introduced in the U.S. House would establish a royalty based upon a model used for Internet radio services. Radio broadcasters would be allowed to play music only if they pay royalty fees similar to those required of webcasters.

This legislation came on the heels of the Grammys on the Hill fly-in this week where recording artists and their representatives called on members of Congress. The good news is that the bill has only two cosponsors at this point, and a growing list of House and Senate members are signing on to the Local Radio Freedom Act. In Minnesota, Representatives Ellison, Emmer, Paulsen and Walz support the Act. If the momentum continues, a majority of House members will once again stand up for local radio broadcasters.

Yet, complacency breeds peril on this issue. Supporters of a Performance Tax remain dedicated to their cause, and the “star power” influence on Congress cannot be underestimated. That’s why it is critical that you thank our House members who have signed on to the Local Radio Freedom Act and urge the others to do the same. And remember that the greatest talking point in support of local broadcasters is the unparalleled community service Minnesota radio stations deliver every day.

With that in mind, please reach out to your members of Congress via social media. The Twitter handles for our Congressional delegation appear below (please note that Congressman Collin Peterson does not Tweet). Thank them for their support, and tell your stories of exceptional community service. Lawmakers and their staffs do pay attention to social media, and it is now a formidable advocacy tool. Use it to your advantage.

Thank you for using your grassroots power to advocate for local broadcasters!

Jim du Bois, MBA President/CEO

MBA Members Receive Discount on Conclave Registration

The Conclave is set for July 26th-28th at the Doubletree by Hilton-Park Place in St. Louis Park. MBA members receive a $50 discount on each registration. Register here and enter the code STA42 when prompted.

Last Chance to Sign-Up for the MBA FCC Alternative Inspection Program

Register now for the MBA’s FCC Alternative Inspection Program. Inspections begin in mid-April and will continue through September. Stations that successfully pass the program are exempted from FCC inspections for a three-year period except for targeted regional enforcement initiatives or in response to a complaint. During the last ABIP cycle in 2014, more than 200 Minnesota radio and TV stations participated. This is an excellent opportunity to check compliance with FCC Rules, and the experienced inspectors are dedicated to making the process educational for station management and staff.

Tornado Live Code EAS Test Set for April 20, 2017

April 17-21 is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota. A live TOR code EAS test is scheduled for April 20, 2017 at 1:45 pm and again at 6:45 pm (back-up date is April 21 at the same times if severe weather threatens on the original date). Warning sirens will sound at both times in many locations. Stations are encouraged to air the test messages if scheduling permits. The Minnesota EAS Team and the MBA secured a waiver from the FCC to permit use of the live TOR EAS code. One of the conditions for securing the waiver requires us “to conduct as wide-ranging a public information campaign as is practicable about the planned testing events.” Accordingly, we will provide stations in advance of the tests with educational materials that they can share with their audiences. Look for more information as Severe Weather Awareness Week approaches.

Looking for quick updates with the latest Minnesota news, sports and weather? Contact Joe Nelson by email,, for more info. Listen to the streaming Go News Network channel right here.

Supporters Ramp Up Congressional Effort to Win a Radio Royalty

On the heels of a freshly reintroduced bill that would require radio stations pay a performance royalty for music use, supporters are deploying a secondary attack. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has introduced legislation that would allow musicians to opt out of having their music played on AM/FM radio if the artist isn���t paid an agreed-upon performance royalty. Federal law currently only gives such an exclusive right to license music to copyright holders with respect to digital transmissions.

Why Native Advertising Is Key For Radio’s Future

We’re now living in an “on-demand” economy where we can get what we want, when we want it, anywhere we want it. Technology has allowed for the near-immediate provision of goods and services, thereby virtually connecting demand with supply. This need for immediacy has subsumed industries from shipping (same-day delivery), to transportation (Uber/Lyft), to labor (freelancers), to, of course, media.

A Whole New World of Content: HD Side Channels

HD Radio side channels have long been the industry’s hidden treasure. Mind you, that’s not necessarily a good thing. However, a decade after additional frequencies across the FM dial were first embraced, remarkable HD innovations are helping promote a bounty of new voices, and in some cases, new profits.

Nielsen: Live TV Viewing Continues to Decline

Live TV viewing continued to fall in the fourth quarter, according to Nielsen’s fourth-quarter Total Audience Report. The report provides new data on the slow but steady continuation of trends affecting the TV business, including the fall in pay-TV homes, the increased use of smartphones to view video, and the increasing penetration of subscription video on demand.

Apple Wants a Mini-Bundle With HBO, Showtime and Starz. But Why?

Apple is interested in becoming more of a virtual pay-TV operator — albeit in a very limited fashion. The tech giant, as first reported by Re/code, wants to cobble together a premium-cable bundle available on Apple TV that would include HBO, Showtime and Starz for a single monthly price. But so what? Apple already offers HBO, Showtime and Starz services a la carte. HBO Now initially launched on Apple TV in April 2015, followed by CBS-owned Showtime later that summer. Starz alighted on the Apple set-top in April 2016.

US Shoppers Still Prefer to Make Most Purchases In-Store

Across a variety of categories, US shoppers prefer to make purchases in-store rather than through digital channels, according to a new report from Market Track, a provider of subscription-based advertising, promotion and ecommerce intelligence solutions.

US Music Industry Sees First Double Digit Growth in Almost 20 Years as Streaming Takes Over

It looks like happy days are here again: U.S. recorded music sales were up 11.4 percent in 2016. The industry brought in $7.65 billion in revenue, according to the RIAA, up from $6.87 million in 2015. Although the music business showed signs of a recovery at the half-year mark, the 2016 year-end results show more significant growth, led by streaming revenue.


By Gregg Skall
MBA FCC Counsel
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP

Every broadcast licensee must place their issues and programs list in their public file on a quarterly basis every January 10, April 10, July 10, and October 10. The list must be comprised of “programs that have provided the station's most significant treatment of community issues” during the preceding three months. So, this April list will include community issues programs presented during January, February and March 2017.

The list must be maintained in the station's local public file together with all others for the remainder of the license renewal period. And more than ever, it is especially important to make sure this is done timely and well, with sufficient documentation.

Remember that while the Commission has ruled that the list is to contain all of the most significantprograms the licensee has aired to address the listed issues, it has not defined the term “most significant programs.” The best way to protect your station is to prepare a comprehensive and accurate list of community issues the station has covered in the last quarter that were given the most significant treatment and the programs in which they aired with a brief narrative explaining why those issues were chosen, a narrative description of the programming that addressed the issue, the program's title, duration, and time and date of airing.

The Commission has frequently stated that its public interest standard is based on community- responsive performance. It is not the number of issues covered, but the quality of coverage the Commission will look to. In composing your list, therefore, emphasis should be placed on a good description of the issue and the depth of coverage or discussion devoted to it.

Remember too that the Commission gives broadcasters broad discretion to determine what constitutes an important issue to their communities. The term “issue” has been sweepingly defined by the Commission as "[a] point of discussion, debate, or dispute, * * * [a] matter of wide public concern." In choosing issues to focus on, actual programming of other licensees in the community may be taken into account and it’s not necessary for a specific station to address every important issue in your community.

As an example, if you operate a contemporary music format station and ascertain that concerns of elderly adults are an important community issue, there may be another station in the market that programs for that audience and might address issues of concern to them. Let them have that issue and focus on other issues important to your audience.

Another hint: While the Commission has done away with its formal ascertainment requirements, continuing to meet with community leaders and documenting those meetings can support your determinations of issues of importance to the community. Should the station’s license renewal be challenged, management’s efforts at community ascertainment will be one of the key factors favoring a “Renewal Expectancy.”

This column is provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

The MBA can help you with your community issues programming. Access Minnesota is a high-quality, weekly 30-minute public affairs radio show that focuses on issues of importance to Minnesotans. This program is available as a free service to MBA member stations. The show currently airs on 43 stations throughout Minnesota. Visit for more information. (Please note that the Access Minnesota website is currently being redesigned.) A monthly 30-minute TV version of Access Minnesota is also available. You can view previous episodes here.

Please contact Linda Lasere ( if you wish to air Access Minnesota.

Don’t miss critical industry news and information that’s frequently updated! Be sure to follow the MBA on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Next Up


Charges: Armed man made death threats at Minneapolis LGBTQ bar

The man allegedly used derogatory terms while threatening to kill someone.


FDA pulls last COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment as new variants rise

A therapy used to treat more than 11,000 Minnesotans is no longer authorized amid a surge in the latest COVID-19 variants.

Austin Robert LeClaire

Charges: Plymouth man shot girlfriend in head after birthday party

The 23-year-old victim is in critical condition as of Friday.


State announces $2.5M in grants for child care providers

Child care providers in roughly a dozen communities will receive funds to help grow the supply of affordable, quality child care.


Probe of Golden Valley police uncovers racism, alleged misconduct

One officer was terminated for alleged racist comments and violations of state law.

blowing snow

Blowing snow Friday in Minnesota; will it snow next week?

Winds could gust up to 50 mph Friday afternoon and night.

Deer hunting blaze orange

To combat CWD, late-season deer hunting announced for 9 areas of MN

The special hunts will be held between Dec. 16 and 18.


COVID levels rising in wastewater; BQ.1 now dominant

BQ.1 is the new dominant subvariant in Twin Cities wastewater.

Screen Shot 2022-12-02 at 11.43.05 AM

Keith Ellison, other AGs settle with CarMax over recall disclosures

As part of the settlement, CarMax now must disclosure open recalls online and on the lot.

police lights squad car

Man kidnaps 2-year-old daughter in St. Paul, crashes after pursuit in Minneapolis

The incident involved both police departments in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

police lights

Boys aged 15, 16 arrested after shooting of teen in Woodbury

The victim suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.


Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association

Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association

Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association

Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association

Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association

Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association.

Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association

Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association.

Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association

Broadcasting industry news from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association.

Broadcasting Industry News from the Minnesota Broadcasters Association

Important information from the Minnesota Broadcaster's Association.