Still Angry, NBI GM Charlie Ferguson Asks: Time To Re-Name The NAB?
NAB 'No Comment', Peter Smyth Responds
November 3, 2010 at 8:28 AM (PT)
NORTHERN BROADCASTING GM CHARLIE FERGUSON, who oversees the company's six stations in TRAVERSE CITY-PETOSKEY, MI, and cancelled the radio group's membership in the NAB (NET NEWS 10/27), is taking yet another shot (NET NEWS 10/28) at the broadcast organization. FERGUSON released this letter TODAY:
"Following what the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS board believes is a prudent path, the NAB board suddenly issued what they call a 'term sheet' to the musicFIRST COALITION. The 'term sheet' laid out a road map for radio stations to begin paying a percentage of their gross sales to performers as a performance tax. This was a direct about-face for Radio’s chief lobbying organization -- and it was done without any consultation with the rank-and-file membership. It’s time to re-name the NAB to properly reflect who they have come to represent. My suggestion is the National Association of Large Market FM Broadcasters Association or NALMFMBA.
"After getting initial publication of my objection to these actions and our subsequent cancellation of our membership in NAB, the NAB’s propaganda machine has been working at a fevered pitch. PAUL MCLANE, RADIO WORLD Editor-In-Chief, weighed in with a lengthy column praising the NAB’s sellout, and he’s been joined by ANDY SKOTDAL, an NAB board member from KRKO-A/EVERETT, WA (a FOX SPORTS non-music station). In his screed, SKOTDAL opined that ERIC RHOADES of RADIO INK isn’t qualified to comment on the situation -- because he’s not a tadio owner any more -- he’s just an industry trade magazine publisher and seminar organizer.
"It’s my humble opinion that the NAB board far exceeded the authority conveyed to it by the membership when they turned turtle and caved in to the record companies. The idea of trading our heritage for an FM chip, maybe, in cell phones is not only short-sighted, it’s downright insulting to every broadcaster who has an AM station. When the NAB board issued its 'term sheet' it ceased to represent our company’s position on the performance tax.
"If your company has the same view, it’s time to take the issue back from the NAB and re-frame the issue. If the big-market FM broadcasters are comfortable giving 1%, 2 or even 3% of their gross revenue to musicFIRST, let them make it a voluntary contribution. In small-market USA, we honestly can’t afford it. While I’m sure things will get better, taking 1% of our gross revenues right now would be a considerable percentage of our profits. Even the Federal government doesn’t help itself to a share of our gross income.
"The musicFIRST COALITION is adamant that artists don’t really NEED radio airplay any longer -- and it’s time for radio to start paying for the privilege of playing their music. Maybe it’s time to put in a call to the DIXIE CHICKS and ask them if they’d like to back up to right before radio quit playing their songs. You remember, the DIXIE CHICKS? Oh, wait a moment -- we’re not finding a phone listing for them any more. musicFIRST is essentially saying that getting a song played on the radio has no value, but I suspect the performance tax is just the beginning. Wait until they demand that radio starts playing at least 20% new music -- to be 'fair" to their new artists. The truth is the artists need Radio a whole lot more than they need the record companies. JERRY DELCOLLIANO hit it on the head when he suggested the artists dump the labels and partner with radio. It’s NOT radio’s job to make up for the record labels failure to find a viable business model in the new digital world. Radio is not cheating the poor, struggling artists -- the record companies are!
"The Performance Tax issue was a non-starter in the last session of Congress and won’t get any traction in the lame-duck session either, unless the Hon. GORDON SMITH has cut a back room deal for his own brighter future. The only way the radio industry can prevent the performance tax is to dump the NAB and let them represent 'Wall Street Radio.' The rest of us need to form a new group that understands the needs and desires of its members. The 'fix' is in, ladies and gentlemen, if we stay with the NAB."
NAB 'No Comment', Peter Smyth Responds
ALL ACCESS contacted the NAB, and they declined to comment on this.
GREATER MEDIA Pres./CEO PETER SMYTH simply said, "Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I believe it is important for us to keep the dialogue moving forward in a positive vein."
[Mad as hell -- and not ready to take it anymore? Or do you favor a deal with musicFIRST over a performance fee? Please post your thoughts below.]