Congratulations to our 2017 Scholarship Winners! They will be recognized at the annual Student Day Lunchon on March 30 at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City.
- Joanna Grace Babb, Oklahoma City Community College
- Zayna Haliburton, Cameron University
- Reagan Hayes, University of Oklahoma
- Reagan Ledbetter, University of Oklahoma
- Charles Jackson, Southeastern Oklahoma State University
- Jayson King, Southeastern Oklahoma State University
OAB Convention Registration
The 2017 OAB Convention will be held March 30-31 at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City. Registration packets will be mailed to members and associates by February 15, but you may download information and registration forms if you prefer. We have a great line-up planned for you, so see you at The Skirvin!
OAB Awards Results
The results are in! Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Outstanding Achievement Awards for Broadcasting, and a big thank you to everyone who entered. Oklahoma broadcasters continue to set high standards for our industry. Well done! Awards will be presented at the annual Awards Banquet on Friday, March 31, at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City.
OAB FCC Ruling on Public File
The FCC has eliminated the need for
commercial broadcasters to retain letters and emails from the public in their
public inspection files. This removes the last piece of broadcasters’ local paper
public files. Additionally, the FCC concluded that because commercial
broadcasters will no longer need to maintain correspondence from the public, licensees will also no longer need to summarize correspondence from the
public related to violent programming when renewing their license. The
Commission directed the Media Bureau to revise renewal Form 303-S to be
consistent with this decision.
Note, however, that until these rules take effect, broadcasters must continue to maintain their correspondence file locally and make it available to the public, as well as complete the current Form 303-S.
For more information on the order, visit David Oxenford's blog post. We will keep you posted on further developments.
OAB Attorney David Oxenford Summarizes the Current Global Music Rights (GMR) Situation
Background on the GMR/RMLC Issues
by David Oxenford
Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP
Commercial radio broadcasters have been seeing numerous communications over the last week about Global Music Rights (GMR) and its seemingly contentious music royalty negotiations with the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC). Many stations are confused about this controversy and what it is all about. The 5 questions below will hopefully shed some light on these issues. Stations need to carefully consider their options, and seek advice where necessary, to determine what they will do by January 31 with respect to the interim license that GMR has offered to stations. The questions below hopefully provide some background on these issues.
1. What is GMR and why isn’t the music they represent covered by the other organizations like BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC?
GMR is a new performing rights organization. Like ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, they represent songwriters and collect royalties from music users for the public performance of these songwriter’s compositions. They will collect not just from radio – they have already reached out to business music services that provide the music played in retail stores, restaurants and other businesses and no doubt have or will license other companies that make music available to the public. Most songwriters represented by GMR used to be represented by ASCAP or BMI, but these songwriters have withdrawn from ASCAP and BMI and joined GMR. For radio, these withdrawals became effective on January 1 of this year, when the old license agreements between ASCAP and BMI and the commercial radio industry expired.
2. What does a station need to do in order to protect itself while negotiations are going on?
Because the penalties for playing a song without a license can be as much at $150,000 per play, stations either need to purge all GMR music from their stations or sign a license agreement with GMR. If you decide to purge their music from your stations, don’t forget about music that may appear in commercials or syndicated programming. Also remember that we are talking about the musical composition, not the recording of the song by any particular band or singer. Even the broadcast of a high school band playing a GMR song at half time of some football game, or the broadcast of a local middle school choral concert, could trigger the royalty obligation to GMR.
3. What does the “Interim License” through September mean?
The Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) is the group that represents most commercial radio broadcasters in music royalty negotiations with the various organizations that represent songwriters. They have been trying to reach a license agreement with GMR, but have not been able to reach one at rates that they consider to be an appropriate reflection of the airplay received by songs written by GMR songwriters. RMLC has actually sued GMR, arguing that GMR has violated the antitrust laws in the negotiation process, and asking that an arbitration process be set up to determine rates (and GMR has, seemingly in response, sued RMLC).
Since it was clear that no final agreement between RMLC and GMR could be reached by January 1, to avoid having stations that play GMR music being subject to lawsuits for copyright violations, GMR has offered an interim license that lasts for 9 months. Presumably, if in that time GMR and RMLC settle their disputes and arrive at a reasonable royalty rate, and that royalty rate is less than the interim rate, some credit for part of the sums paid under this interim rate could potentially be built into the new rates.
GMR has this week reached out to many station groups with specific proposals as to an interim rate. Commercial stations that did not receive information from GMR can reach out to them and ask for the rate information. GMR has given stations until January 31 to agree to that rate, sign the interim license agreement, and pay the first month’s royalties. If a station does not choose to sign the interim deal and has not negotiated its own royalty agreement, and if it continues to play music written by GMR artists, then it is potentially subject to a copyright infringement lawsuit.
4. Is this going to lead to more people making demands for payment for songs broadcast on the radio?
If GMR is a successful in collecting enough money to pay its songwriters more than writers receive from ASCAP and BMI, this could encourage other organizations to create similar licensing organizations. Some large publishing companies have already suggested that possibility, and there are certain other companies that specialize in maximizing royalties for songwriters that have the potential to do the same thing. However, starting a performing rights organization like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC is not easily accomplished as it requires setting up infrastructure for collection, reporting, distribution and enforcement activities. It also requires waiting for existing contracts granting performance rights to expire. Thus, new organizations are not likely to pop up overnight.
5. Is this related at all to the radio streaming waiver with SONY that the NAB is urging stations to consider?
The GMR issues all involve the rights to perform the underlying words and music to a song, not the rights to perform a recording of that song as recorded by any particular band or singer. The recording by a particular performing artist is called a “sound recording” or “master recording.” Broadcasters do not pay for the over-the-air performance of sound recordings, but they do pay performance fees when those recordings are streamed. The Sony waiver involves the digital performance right to sound recordings, and some of the rules that apply under the license for those digital performances. It is unrelated to the GMR controversy.
For more detailed information about some of these issues, I have written a number of articles discussing music rights on my Blog, www.broadcastlawblog.com.
On the Interim license issued by GMR, see my article here: http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2016/12/articles/gmr-and-rmlc-agree-to-interim-license-for-commercial-radio-stations-providing-9-months-to-reach-final-deal-for-public-performance-of-musical-compositions/
On the litigation between GMR and RMLC see my articles here http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2016/11/articles/rmlc-files-antitrust-lawsuit-against-gmr-and-seeks-to-enjoin-new-music-license-fees-on-radio-stations/
and here: http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2016/12/articles/gmr-sues-rmlc-claims-antitrust-violations-for-negotiating-royalties-on-behalf-of-the-radio-industry-what-are-the-implications/
On the Sony waiver, see my article here: http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2016/10/articles/nab-announces-agreements-with-sony-and-warner-to-waive-performance-complement-and-other-statutory-requirements-for-broadcasters-who-stream-their-signals/
For more information about some of the other potential players in music licensing, see my article here: http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2016/07/articles/socan-buys-audiam-the-consolidation-and-fragmentation-of-music-rights-what-does-it-mean-for-music-services/
For a general summary of many of the music issues that affect broadcasters, see my article here, and the presentation slides that are referenced in that article: http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2016/08/articles/whats-up-with-music-rights-for-broadcasters-and-webcasters-a-presentation-on-pending-issues/
2017 Regulatory Calendar for Broadcasters
A note from our Washington friend, David Oxenford: At the beginning of each year, we publish our broadcaster’s calendar of important dates – setting out the many dates for which broadcasters should be on alert as this year progresses. The Broadcasters Calendar for 2017 is available here. The dates set out on the calendar include FCC filing deadlines and dates by which the FCC requires that certain documents be added to a station’s public file.
The date for the beginning of the lowest unit rate window for the November general election is on the calendar, but stations need to check locally for primary dates and for any special elections that may be held in their service areas. Also included are some copyright deadlines, including dates to make payments to SoundExchange for Internet streaming royalties.
While the dates on this calendar may change, and new ones may be added, this at least gives you a start in planning your regulatory obligations. And, remember, you should always talk to your own attorney to make sure what dates are important to you.
-- David Oxenford, Partner--Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLC
Bob Carpenter Elected to OAB Hall of Fame
The OAB Board of Directors recently elected sportscaster Bob Carpenter into its Hall of Fame. Bob started his illustrious career as the play-by-play announcer for the Tulsa Oilers baseball team and later became the Sports Director at KTUL TV 8 and KRAV FM in Tulsa. Bob then took his talent to the national stage and for the past 34 years has been one of the very most respected Major League Baseball announcers. He is currently in his 12th year with the Washington Nationals. He started with a ten year run with the St. Louis Cardinals and also was with the Texas Rangers. Bob is such a respected scholar of baseball, that since 1984 he has written and sold thousands of copies of his book, “Scorebook,” which has become the industry standard for how to score a baseball game.
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24/7 On-Line Training Available to
All OAB Members
The OAB is pleased to supply all OAB members with a Comprehensive On-Line training system delivered by Local Broadcast Sales Inc. This 24/7 on-line training system is state of the art and is provided at no charge to OAB member stations. We believe you will find this training system to be very effective and available to all of your staff 24 hours a day.
Archived copies of previous webinars are available to all OAB members. E-mail Nancy Struby for instructions. To create your Local Broadcast Sales account, please e-mail Nancy Struby for a free access code.
Alternative Broadcast Inspections
Check your ABI certificate! Is it time to renew? Protect your station from random FCC inspections by scheduling or renewing an alternative broadcast inspection. Click here for request forms.
Radio PEP Schedules
Department of Human Services
Foster Care Recruitment
9/29/14 – 4/30/17
Department of Health
Wic Family Support
7/18/16 - 4/30/17
Oklahoma Insurance Department
Dept. of Rehabilitation Services
6/13/16 - 6/11/17
High School Sports
Television PEP Schedule
Department of Human Services
Foster Care: Blaine
Department of Health
WIC Family Support
Oklahoma Insurance Department
Dept. of Rehabilitation Services
March 2-4, 2017
Class A & B State Basketball Tournaments
March 9-11, 2017
Class 6A-5A-4A-3A-2A State Basketball Tournaments
March 30-31, 2017
OAB Annual Convention
Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City
April 19-20, 2018
OAB Annual Convention
River Spirit Hotel & Casino, Tulsa