Testimony Of Charles Warfield At Hearing On Music Licensing
June 25, 2104

YMF Media Senior Advisor Charles Warfield, NAB's joint board chairman, testified this morning at a House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet hearing on music licensing issues.

Below is a transcript of his testimony as prepared for delivery.

Good morning, Chairman Coble, Ranking Member Nadler and members of the Subcommittee. My name is Charles Warfield, and I am the Joint Board Chair of the National Association of Broadcasters. Over my 37 year career in and around broadcasting, I served as President of one of the country's first wholly minority-owned radio station groups, I ran the day-to-day operations of some of America's top radio stations, and I even worked as an executive at a record label.

Over that time I learned that broadcasters serve our listeners in many beneficial and significant ways. Radio broadcasters inform, educate, and alert listeners to important events, topics, and emergencies. We introduce them to new and old music. We entertain them with sports, talk, and interviews. We are local, involved in our communities and serve the public interest. For those reasons, I am proud to testify today on behalf of thousands of free, local, over-the-air radio stations across the United States.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the core objective of copyright law is the public good. Not the creator's interest. Not the user's interest. But the interest of the public at large. Unfortunately, in testimony before this Committee, some are arguing for fixes to copyright law that serve a very different goal ensuring that their individual constituencies receive greater compensation at the expense of both music licensees and listeners. Nowhere in their arguments do they emphasize the need for balance, the interest of consumers, or enhancements to competition any one of which would promote the public good.

In contrast, stepping back from any one piecemeal legislative proposal before this Subcommittee, it is clear that taken as a whole, the time-tested laws that govern the relationship between the music and broadcast industries promote the public good in three important ways.

First, the existing law has enabled a locally-focused broadcast radio industry that is completely free to listeners. Anyone with an AM/FM antenna can access our programming completely free of charge - especially in times of emergency when other forms of communication fail. Radio is unique among entertainment mediums in that there is no subscription, broadband package, or expensive wireless data connection needed for access.

Second, the resulting popularity of radio has significantly contributed to a U.S. recording industry that is the envy of the world, both in terms of size and scope. While U.S. copyright law may contain some critical differences from its international counterparts, those differences have fostered the largest recording industry in the world; one that dwarfs that of the U.K., Germany, France and Italy combined. Our unique system of "free airplay for free promotion" has served both the broadcasting and recording industries well for decades to the benefit of listeners.

The fact is, in all 37 years of my career, I have never had a record executive come to my station and say "why are you playing all of my music?" I have never had a promotion department refuse to provide us with their newest record on the day it comes out. They show up at radio where they see the value and realize that we are the greatest promotional tool for their artists. And we're happy to provide them with that.

Third, and most importantly, the community-based nature of local broadcasting has driven our industry to extraordinary levels of public service. For example, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York City's WQHT-FM ("Hot 97") put its music on hold and broadcast steadily throughout multiple power outages, providing a much-needed connection to life-saving news and information. Then, in the days following, Hot 97 ran continuous informational announcements providing critical information about disaster-relief locations and assistance. Further, it's "Hip Hop Has Heart" Foundation provided blankets, clothing, HD radios and essentials to residents of the inflicted areas throughout the crisis.

This is just one example of our industry's commitment to service, and it is the norm, not the exception. Each of you knows this, as you see the value of local broadcasters back in your districts every day. But make no mistake the unique community focus of broadcast radio is only enabled by the current legal framework. I would urge this Committee to tread carefully and resist piecemeal changes to law that might disrupt this delicate balance that has enabled our industry to serve the public good for decades.

Turning briefly to streaming, I agree with others on this panel that the current legal framework governing webcasting imposes obstacles on every corner of the music ecosystem that currently prevents our businesses from collectively serving the public good. Today, whether you are a large broadcaster or small broadcaster, the revenue that can be generated from streaming simply does not, and cannot, offset the costs so many of our members simply do not do it. I urge this Subcommittee to focus its music licensing review on changes to law that will promote a sustainable webcasting industry to the benefit of artists, songwriters and consumers.

In conclusion, NAB stands ready to work with you to ensure a vibrant and competitive broadcast industry now and in the future that serves the public good. I am pleased to answer any questions you may have.




 
Breaking News
eQB NOW
The Week In Review: 5/25-5/29
Marketron Executes The First-Ever Real Time Programmatic Spot Buy For Radio
Alpha Media Names Stefan Brock Corporate VP/Interactive
Roadrunner Promotion, Atlantic Records Announces Two Regional Hires
WPLJ/New York Joins Jayde Donovan In Her Apple-A-Day Program
In Brief - May 29, 2015
May 28, 2015
John Sutherland Promoted To VP/Market Manager For Cumulus Providence
iHeartMedia, CW Network And Yahoo Announce The 2015 "iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party"
iHeartMedia And Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Honored For Nationwide Radiothon Campaign
In Brief - May 28, 2015
May 27, 2015
iHeartMedia Connecticut Names Zac Davis PD of WKSS & WKCI
iHeartMedia Phoenix Appoints Spivey And Wolff To APD Posts
Former Dial Global/Westwood One Execs Launch DGital Media
Radio Promotion Executive Bridget Herrmann Joins Crush Music
Sinclair Broadcast Group And iHeartMedia Join Forces For UNCF "An Evening Of Stars"
In Brief - May 27, 2015
May 26, 2015
Michelle Jubelirer Promoted To COO, Capitol Music Group
CBS Radio Phoenix Names Tim Richards VP/Programming
Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas & Phil McIntyre Announce Formation Of Safehouse Records
Free Registration Offered To Radio Show's First-Ever Student Scholars Program
In Brief - May 26, 2015
May 22, 2015
Hubbard Radio Ups Jeremy Sinon To Corporate Digital Director
The Week In Review: 5/18-5/22
KSZR/Tucson Becomes Classic Hip Hop, 97.5 The Vibe
In Brief - May 22, 2015
Music News
Hozier, Nick Jonas And More To Play iHeartRadio Music Festival's Daytime Village
The Week In Review: 5/25-5/29
Quick Hits: Chance The Rapper, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, The Doors
Riot Fest Reels In Modest Mouse, No Doubt and More
Quick Hits: Mumford & Sons, MS MR, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Daughtry, The Roots / Philadelphia Music Alliance, Bonnaroo SuperJam
Twenty One Pilots Hit #1 On Billboard 200
Quick Hits: U2, NiFi Festival, Azealia Banks
A$AP Rocky Drops Early Release
Quick Hits: Neil Young, Of Monsters and Men, Chris Cornell, Boston Calling festival, Rob Thomas
Adam Lambert Unveils Two New Tracks
Academy Award-Nominated Actress Hailee Steinfeld Inks Record Deal With Republic Records
Quick Hits: Taylor Swift, Eminem, Enrique Iglesias, Slayer
The Week In Review: 5/18-5/22
Quick Hits: Taylor Swift, Madonna, Little Mix, Roger Waters
Pitch Perfect 2 Comes In At #1
FMQB NOW

Erik Bradley
APD/MD, B96/Chicago

Advertisement:
Search FMQB.com
Advertisements:
FMQB Member Login
Email:
Pass:

Save
Not a member yet?
Sign up Now!
Sign Up for Breaking News!
Enter FMQB E-Tracking!