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Womack, Castor, Heinrich, Barrasso Reintroduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Local Radio Freedom Act

Washington, DC – May 4, 2021....U.S. Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) reintroduced the bipartisan Local Radio Freedom Act, a resolution declaring that Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charges that create economic hardships for locally-owned radio stations, with more than 70 cosponsors in the House. Additionally, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and John Barrasso (R-WY) are leading a companion resolution in the Senate.

“Arkansans and Americans across the nation tune into local radio for around-the-clock news, emergency alerts, and entertainment. These stations are integral parts of our communities and economy, and it’s important Congress prioritize protecting access to over-the-air-broadcasting services. The Local Radio Freedom Act supports listeners and the viability of radio resources. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan resolution,” said Womack.

“I am proud to support our local radio stations who provide essential services to so many across the Tampa Bay area, particularly during natural disasters and the current pandemic. The Local Radio Freedom Act is a non-binding resolution that reaffirms Congress's support for local radio stations and opposes new fees or taxes on local, free, broadcast radio which could jeopardize those very services upon which so many rely,” said Castor.

“In some parts of New Mexico – especially rural areas - local radio remains the beating heart for communities to access local and national news, emergency alerts, educational programs, and more,” said Heinrich. “I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan effort in the Senate to prevent Congress from imposing new fees or charges on local radio stations and will continue fighting to keep local radio alive.” 

“Communities across Wyoming depend on local radio stations for timely information, news, and programming that have a direct impact on their lives,” said Barrasso. “For more than 80 years, radio stations and the recording industry have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship: free airplay for free promotion. If forced to pay a performance royalty, broadcasters will have to make cuts to important programing in order to make ends meet. I’m proud to join Senator Heinrich in reintroducing our bipartisan legislation to block any new performance tax on broadcasters across the country.” 

The Local Radio Freedom Act has received the support of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Arkansas Broadcasters Association, New Mexico Broadcasters Association, Wyoming Association of Broadcasters, and more. 

“America’s broadcasters thank the bipartisan coalition of senators who are supporting their hometown radio stations and listeners. Every day, local radio provides endless free entertainment for tens of millions of listeners as well as free promotion for musical artists. We thank Sens. Heinrich and Barrasso and their colleagues for cosponsoring the Local Radio Freedom Act and opposing a performance royalty that would devastate local radio stations,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith.

House cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act include Representatives Rick Allen (R-GA), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Don Bacon (R-NE) , Troy Balderson (R-OH), Jim Banks (R-IN), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Mike Bost (R-IL), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Andre Carson (D-IN), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Tom Cole (R-OK), James Comer (R-KY), Jim Costa (D-CA), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Mike Garcia (R-CA), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Kay Granger (R-TX), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), French Hill (R-AR), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Fred Keller (R-PA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Ron Kind (D-WI), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Bob Latta (R-OH), Al Lawson (D-FL), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Dan Meuser (R-PA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Greg Murphy (R-NC), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Bill Posey (R-FL), Hal Rogers (R-KY), David Rouzer (R-NC), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Gregorio Sablan (D-MP), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), David Scott (D-GA), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Van Taylor (R-TX), Tom Tiffany (R-WI), Michael Turner (R-OH), Fred Upton (R-MI), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Don Young (R-AK), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY).

Read the full text of the bill here.

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.