musicFIRST Complaints Hit The FCC's Desk
September 9, 2009 at 11:51 AM (PT)
In addition to waging their war in Congress, the musicFIRST COALITION has taken their fight to the FCC, which has received comments on a petition filed by musicFIRST. The petition, says music FIRST, "details how radio stations across the country refuse to air musicFIRST ads, threaten artists who support the effort to create a fair performance right on radio and continue to run misleading ads produced by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS -- all in an effort to further their own private commercial interests at the expense of their public interest obligations."
When pressed in the past by ALL ACCESS, musicFIRST has refused to specify the call letters of specific stations the coalition was complaining about. However, this time, comments to be filed by the MUSIC MANAGERS FORUM, a member of musicFIRST, include an e-mail sent by college radio station WICB/ITHACA to AIMEE MANN’s online message board in JUNE 2009, which reads in part:
"Since you support MusicFIRST, WICB hereby drops AIMEE MANN and TIL TUESDAY from our playlist like a bad habit."
"The e-mail is clear," said musicFIRST Exec. Dir. JENNIFER BENDALL. "WICB dropped AIMEE MANN because she supports the effort to create a fair performance right on radio."
The e-mail goes on to say, "I will encourage the college broadcasters to follow our lead, and the few commercial stations that play your music will be happy to join our cause."
"They did not stop there," BENDALL said. "Like other radio stations, WICB dropped AIMEE MANN and 'any other musicFIRST supporters.' It is a sad day when a licensed radio station affiliated with a major college punishes artists for exercising their First Amendment Rights."
College Station This Time -- High School Last Time
In JUNE, musicFIRST complained that "a DELAWARE radio station boycotted all artists affiliated with the MUSICFIRST COALITION for an entire month."
ALL ACCESS identified that station as a high school station -- BRANDYWINE SCHOOL DISTRICT Non-Comm WMPH (SUPER 91.7)/WILMINGTON.
According to the musicFIRST filing, one major radio group dropped a top selling artist’s record after he spoke in support of performance rights legislation. Said musicFIRST, "The PD of a FLORIDA radio station declined to add an artist’s recordings to his station’s playlist because the artist is listed as a member of the musicFIRST COALITION. Another Dir./Programming told a representative of two prominent artists that the artists' support for the Performance Rights Act would have a 'chilling effect' on their relationship."
musicFIRST Won't Get Specific
ALL ACCESS has again asked for specifics on stations and groups involved. A musicFIRST spokesperson declined to specify if any commericial station in any sized market has ever threatened an artist supporting the performance fee legislation. musicFIRST also would not answer which "group" dropped an artist over the legislation.