Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) yesterday (Jan. 28) reintroduced his Competition in Radio and Concert Industries Act, which he says will help consumers, small and independent radio station owners, and indie concert promoters by prohibiting anti-competitive practices in the radio and concert industries, Billboard Bulletin reports.
The bill’s introduction comes as the Senate Commerce Committee prepares to hold a hearing tomorrow on the problems of radio consolidation. Insiders say committee chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is expected to sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill soon.
Feingold will be the lead witness at tomorrow’s hearing. Others scheduled to appear include Clear Channel Communications chairman/CEO Lowry Mays, National Association of Broadcasters president/CEO Eddie Fritts, Recording Artists Coalition co-founder Don Henley, and Future of Music Coalition executive director Jenny Toomey.
Says Feingold: “Since originally introducing this legislation in June 2002, I have seen a groundswell of interest both in Congress and among artists, consumers, independent radio stations, and local promoters in restoring fairness to radio. My legislation will reduce concentration and crack down on anti-competitive practices, such as the new ‘pay to play’ system.” Feingold says the latter practice allows radio giants to “shake down the music industry.”