Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Save Black radio

If U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) have his way, Black radio will go the dinosaur route.

His current bill, H.R. 848, intended to help artists get what they deserve, but instead, unless changes are made, will in effect, kill Black radio as we know it.

Currently, any time a song is played on the radio, its author and publisher gets a cut. However, Conyers wants the singer to get paid as well -- hence, The Performance Rights Act.

However, the way it is written, all radio stations will have to pay double: to ASCAP, which collect royalties fees for writers and publishers, and a second fee to the record companies, who supposedly will pay the artists.

With only four percent of the nation's radio stations owned by Blacks, and with the media business struggling mightily at this time, this will kill Black radio. Especially those who have talk shows and Gospel music, two formats that historically don't make a lot of money, and is typically supported by music stations.

According to Cathy Hughes, Radio One owner, Conyers apparently aren't listening to her and her fellow colleagues about this. He is not looking at the bigger picture.

I am all about helping artists get their due, but not at the expense of Black radio, which barely exist today.

Go to and read Conyers' bill. If you agree with it, then do nothing.

But if you don't, and considering Hughes, Warren Ballentine and others' reactions to it, then don't stop until you contact your Congressman or woman, or Conyers himself, to voice your opposition.

Don't wait until the plug is pulled, which sometimes we as Black people do -- protest when it is too late, to react to this.

Save Black radio -- it is the only true medium of information and not blowhards that we got.