May 2020 – Update from NRB MLC

Dear NRBMLC Friends,

 

We know it is tough out there for local radio stations. It seems like COVID-19 sidelined our advertisers. Hopefully, this did not include our listeners. In-car listening has dropped, but it appears in-home listening has picked up, primarily due to Alexa-type devices. But there is a long way to go. We hope you are continuing to offer good news, both inspirational and edifying. Hang in there!

 

BMI – 17 License Agreement: The Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) has reached a settlement with BMI on a final Radio Station License. The RMLC, our general market counterpart, represents approximately 10,000 commercial stations that are not similarly situated with NRBMLC membership. Although the BMI – 17 agreement required several years to complete, in settling, the parties avoided a costly trial in rate court.

 

BMI – 17’s outcome is relevant to your committee’s dealings with BMI. The BMI-NRBMLC commercial broadcast license negotiations were halted three years ago by BMI so they would not “prejudice” the BMI-RMLC negotiations. That was three years ago, and now BMI commercial licensing for NRBMLC members should pick up pace when the COVID-19 shutdowns have passed.

 

BMI – NRBNMLC: Forward progress of the BMI-NRBNMLC noncommercial streaming license has also been slow. The BMI-RMLC settlement could help move your committee’s talks with BMI forward on a noncom streaming agreement.

 

WEB V: Web V, which sets streaming rates for SoundExchange, is on hold until July 20 due to COVID-19. The trial commencement had originally been set to begin on March 16. In the meantime, your committee has not totally given up on reaching an out-of-court settlement with SoundExchange. These settlement discussions began in Summer 2019, but our efforts have been frustrated in reaching closure. In early March, we made SoundExchange an offer which had high potential to lead to a settlement. Stay tuned.

 

ASCAP: Your committee has had fruitful talks with ASCAP going back to mid-2019. ASCAP recently paused these talks, however, once BMI – 17 occurred. The BMI/RMLC settlement seems to have loosened the grip on our BMI negotiation, but it may slow progress on final rates and terms for the NRBMLC-ASCAP license.

 

Your Committee Support is Vital: As we have often said, if you expect to benefit from our services, and have not yet financially partnered with us, please fill out this pledge form and send your committee a generous contribution.

 

Our best wishes for quick openings and your station’s long life. We are praying against the spread of the coronavirus and for the return of our economy – and the vital services our stations offer!

 

Sincerely,

Scott R. Hunter
Executive Director

 

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