This is a continuation of yesterday's "What If Congress Passes The Performance Tax?" Blog. For Part I, scroll down a ways, or click here.
DISCLAIMER: WHAT FOLLOWS IS THE OPINION OF TERRY STEVENS, AND IN NO WAY IF MEANT TO REPRESENT WHAT MIDWEST COMMUNICATIONS WOULD DO IN A POST-PERFORMANCE TAX WORLD. I'M JUST SPECULATING HERE.
Consequence IV: Radio jobs go away
My co-workers and I were told, in no uncertain terms, that Midwest Communications (the company that owns this, and several other stations) would have to fire half its staff in order to afford the new fees this tax would impose.
As of this moment, Midwest Communications employs 400 people. That's 200 more people out of work in this country.
PICTURED: The average post-Performance Tax DJ
The dollars that once provided these jobs would go overseas to foreign owned record labels. They won't be hiring any new employees in the U.S. They'll simply use these dollars to shore up their losses from not being able to understand that people don't want to buy albums with one good song and 17 bad ones when they can just download the one good song online.
Other radio stations would reduce staff as well. That's a whole lotta lost jobs just to bail out failing record companies.
Now, you might be thinking, "Hey, no big deal. I don't work in radio. My job will be fine. Why should I care if a buncha DJs go away?"
Good question. Let's take a deeper look.
Consequence V: More radio services go away
Remember when that DJ plugged the bake sale happening at your kid's school on the air?
Remember when those DJs raised almost 2 hundred thousand local dollars for the Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital?
Remember when that DJ shared a story about something that happened in Wausau, Stevens Point, Plover, Wisconsin Rapids?
In a post-Performance Tax world, that doesn't happen anymore. The stations that do continue to play music either won't have DJs or they'll use satellite DJs.
Stations owned by the biggest radio operator in the U.S., Clear Channel, already pipe Ryan Seacrest's Los Angeles-based morning show all over the country.
Between American Idol, his radio show and E! Television show, I'm sure he'll have time to DJ your kid's school dance. Oh, wait. No he won't.
Seacrest isn't going to give you a traffic report for Grand Avenue in Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids or Schofield. He isn't going to feature a pet of the week from the Marathon County Humane Society. Sure, we'll run PSAs for that sort of thing, but the human interaction will be a thing of the past.
News? Hah! Unaffordable.
Weather? Best look out the window for that.
High School sports coverage? Sorry. It take human beings to run that sort of broadcast and they're not in the budget.
Consequence VI: Who picks the songs? Not you
Yesterday, I wrote a bit on the chilling effect that a Performance Tax would have on new and classic music.
Today, our song choices are based largely on local research. We use internet surveys to find out what songs are hot in Central Wisconsin (and conversely, which ones aren't).
Radio stations aren't allowed to take payment from record labels unless that payment is fully disclosed every time the song plays. For instance, let's say Tim McGraw's record label wants to pay us to play his new song, "Dude, My Jacket's Too Tight".
Seriously, look at that thing. He's gonna cut off blood flow to his hands fer shure.
Legally, we can take the money as long as we say something like, "Here's Tim McGraw's 'Dude, My Jacket's Too Tight' brought to you by Curb Records," before and after we play the tune.
In a post-Performance Tax world, some radio stations would do that just to make ends meet. So, instead of you getting to decide what songs air on your radio station, that decision is left up to some suit at a record label.
"I think it's time 'The Charleston' made a comeback, don't you?"
Less democracy, less jobs, less public service, all in the name of bailing out foreign-owned record companies who rip off their artists, sue their customers and now want to destroy free radio.
Why on earth would Congress want to support a Perfomance Rights Act?
Because you haven't told them not to support it yet. Please do so here.
Your TTPK Hint for yesterday is: "in the field"
Your Blog Keyword is "pleasesaveradio".
P.S. Radar's gonna be doing a lot of behind the scenes work for the WDEZ Saint Jude Country Cares for Kids Radiothon tomorrow and will be unable to host the night shift on Thursday and Friday. That means I'm back on my regular hours with The Keyword Comedy Club happening at 9:30-ish and the TTPK happening at 10:30-ish both nights. Finally, after all these weeks, I can say I'm UP ALL NIGHT!
P.P.S. If you have more questions about the Performance Tax and what you can do about it, please join all of Midwest Communications for a live simulcast on the subject on Thursday, February 18th, from 8am to 9am. Your calls and comments are welcome.