May 2018 – Noncommercial Update from the NRB MLC

Dear Noncommercial Broadcaster:

It’s time for another update. Yes, everyone is busy—but there’s some important news to pass along.

For months now, we’ve been hammering away about preparedness for Web V, the next radio (and webcaster) streaming rate proceeding. Will license fees go up? Not necessarily. In Web IV, commercial broadcasters saw a significant reduction in rates. Their case was led by NAB, which started prepping at least two years prior to the proceeding.

This time around, NRBNMLC must do a better job in representing the interests of more than 600 noncommercial stations. In our desire to mount a more vigorous legal campaign, we have an opportunity to join forces with a strong ally. This is very encouraging. It offers hope for a full legal team and expert witnesses. Partner or not, it does not let any of us off the hook financially—we still must raise a substantial amount of cash. 

Caution — BMI May be Calling: Some NRBNMLC stations have been contacted by BMI for streaming fees (this also happened with ASCAP…until we told them to back off!). Be aware that your committee applied to BMI in 2014 for digital licensing, under the aegis of the BMI Consent Decree. If a BMI Rep contacts you, state that you are represented by applicant NRBNMLC – then call us.

Legislative: In April, the Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5447) was approved unanimously by the U.S. House of Representatives. The next stop is the Senate. This bill conflates several music licensing issues, including pre-1972 sound recording royalties, mechanical rights and a universal song data base. Referred to as the “MMA,” the bill has found favor from several camps, including NAB. While it has features that could streamline music licensing, your committee has concerns about “between-the-lines” issues. Music consumers and their representatives (NRBMLC, RMLC, TMLC and NAB) have the ability to stop its progress if it appears that the bill would ultimately boost your license fees. We await the Senate version.

We have often shared with you our need to be prepared for Web V. The best defense is a strong offense, and that means money, now. For the past two years, our goal has been to raise $100,000 per year so that we can approach the proceeding with a war chest. This has not happened.

Please contribute a significant amount now; we especially need to hear from large groups and stations. Budget time is coming for many of you—please make NRBNMLC a budget line item! Thank you for considering this.



Scott R. Hunter & Harv Hendrickson

4880 Santa Rosa Road, Camarillo, CA 93012
(805) 482-7290 •

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