Last week, WSAU and other Midwest Communications radio stations stopped playing music for one hour to provide an information to our listeners about the Music Performance Tax. If approved in Congress, this new tax would be very damaging to local broadcasters. It would change what you hear from your favorite radio station.
We have more information on the Music Performance Tax here: http://tinyurl.com/ydlfcym
Our broadcast received a lot of local media coverage, and has been written up in the national trades. Today I have an update on where things stand.
NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Here’s a quick update on the music performance tax.
Radio stations around the country were asking listeners to become active and informed about this issue last week while members of Congress were home in their districts.
In the last week four more members of the House have signed the “keep radio free” pledge, among them Rep. Mark Schauer of Michigan. He responded to some outreach from our Midwest Communications stations in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. We appreciate his support.
Many of our listeners in Central Wisconsin have contacted Congressman David Obey. Officially, Congressman Obey is undecided on the issue. People who’ve sent him a letter have received an email or form-letter response. It says our congressman is aware of the issue and has not had a chance to vote on the matter because it hasn’t reached the House floor.
This is a curious response. Midwest Communications employs more than 50 people in our Wausau offices. We also employ additional workers in our Plover and Superior locations. There are many other radio stations in David Obey’s district, and all would face deep job cuts if they are taxed for the music they play. Conversely, there are no record labels or major recording studios in Obey’s district. It's frustrating that we don't have his support.
Why would our congressman side with out-of-district interests when local jobs are at stake? Why would our congressman support taking tax dollars out of his district, and flowing out of the country? (Three of the four record labels are foreign owned.) Why would our congressman not give his support to local broadcast owners and managers who met with him last year in Washington DC? These are all excellent questions to ask David Obey.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau