Tag Archives: radio

Looking Forward: A New Biden Administration and a New 117th Congress

The year 2021 is now upon us. With that comes a new Biden administration and the new 117th Congress. The AFM’s work intensifies as we confront a plethora of new political and legislative issues; and, because of that, we really look forward to your help getting our issues across the goal line.

Although all the chaotic activity here in Washington over the past few weeks has taken its toll, our democracy drives forward as our elected officials endeavor to keep government open and operational. I would like to avoid a dive into the social and political unrest that crippled us and talk about those issues that will have a direct impact on our jobs and our lives—this so we can be prepared to act when the time is right under the new Biden administration, and the new Democratically controlled House and Senate. As workers, we are in an advantageous position at this moment in time, and your union will be asking you to help make contact with your legislators both in your respective congressional districts as well as here in Washington, DC.

Pension Legislation

Helping to guarantee retirement security

Now that there is a new administration and Congress, we look forward to a possible solution to the multiemployer pension process. Organized labor has presented the Biden transition team with details on such a solution. We know that AFM-EPF trustees have reached out to you, keeping you informed on the regulatory front. However, my office will need your help making contact with your House and Senate legislators when the time comes to respond to any new proposed legislation. We are not sure at this time exactly what that will entail. However, President Hair and I, along with AFM-EPF trustees, will be developing a member-driven advocacy strategy. We look forward to having you participate, so please be prepared to engage multiple times.

The AM-FM Act

Performance rights legislation—More money in your pocket and greater protection of your creative content

The AM-FM (Ask Musicians For Music) Act will come up again during the new 117th Congress and, again, we will need your help reaching out to your elected officials in both the House and Senate to help pass this legislation through each chamber.

As you may know, passage of this legislation will establish a new income stream for those whose creative content is currently performed on AM and FM radio without compensation from broadcasters. This has been an ongoing fight over the years that has placed the AFM in a position on several occasions to bring this legislation up for a vote. Likewise, the broadcasters have, each Congress, introduced their nonbinding Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA) resolution that is designed to encourage legislators in Washington to avoid giving us the rights and remuneration we deserve for our creative content. This is content from which they make billions of advertising dollars, while not recognizing your content ownership and hard work.

In cooperation with the Music First Coalition, we imagine a light at the end of this tunnel under a pro-worker, pro-intellectual property Biden administration that will push the AM-FM Act across the finish line. Please stay prepared: We will need you to sign onto letters, make calls, and visit your senators and representatives.

HR 1–For the People Act of 2021

This key piece of pro-labor legislation is supported by all AFL-CIO affiliates and is designed “to expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, and for other purposes.” Key components of this legislation include voting rights reform, election reform, and overall democracy reform, to name a few.

The PRO Act

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act has yet to be introduced in the new 117th Congress. The PRO Act expands various labor protections related to employees’ rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace. The bill passed the House during the 116th Congress and was sent to the Senate Republican leader’s desk, but it saw no action. The bill is expected to be reintroduced in the 117th Congress with an eye toward passage in this Democratically led House and Senate.

It’s important that we keep our eyes on the prize. Labor-friendly legislation that will benefit our workers and our union will be prominent in this Congress. Please stay tuned to hear from your union about legislative and political campaigns that will help us succeed.

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to your federal elected officials and tell them to support pro-union legislation. To find contact information for your senators and representative, visit these websites:





Negotiations Roundup—A Capsule View of Talks in Progress

The Federation’s negotiations with its bargaining partners, whether on an industry-wide, single-, or multi-employer basis, are a never-ending process. Other than contracts with touring producers such as the Broadway League, most of our negotiations seek improvements in compensation and working conditions when musicians are engaged to perform electronic media services either streamed or broadcast live, or captured for analog and digital distribution.

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Radio Station Sells Local Music without Artist Permission

Acadian guitarist and composer Maxim Cormier from the Cape Breton Island village of Chéticamp was shocked to find his music was being sold online by a local radio station without his permission. Coopérative Radio Chéticamp (CKJM) was selling track-by-track downloads of the music of 41 albums from area musicians for 99 cents per song. The online music store, which opened in 2013, has since shut down. CKJM manager Angus Lefort explained that they thought that every artist had been contacted. The station is checking PayPal records to reimburse artists for the sales. Cormier says that Lefort claims he is owed about $5. Cormier is challenging this claim and would like to see proof that there were no other sales.

Critic Calls Sale of Classical Stations Unconscionable

South Florida music critic Lawrence A. Johnson called the secret sale of three Classical South Florida (CSF) radio stations unconscionable and despicable. The stations were sold to a religious broadcaster who immediately switched them to a contemporary Christian format. Former station owner, the Minnesota-based American Public Media Group said the stations were losing money to the tune of $8.93 million in FY 2014. APMG executives were faulted for not announcing that the stations were up for sale, which would have allowed interested parties to buy the stations possibly organize financing to continue the classical format. In fact, Classical South Florida continued to fundraise and gather donations from classical music supporters even though the owners knew the station was close to being sold. Supporters of the former station are asking for an FCC investigation.


fair-play-fair-payOn April 13, AFM President Ray Hair; AFM International Executive Board member (IEB) and Local 257 President (Nashville, TN) David Pomeroy; IEB and Local 802 (New York City) President Tino Gagliardi; the musicFIRST Coalition; record labels; and other members of the music community to support the Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015, introduced by representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Marsh Blackburn (R-TN). This monumental legislation would finally ensure that musicians are compensated fairly when their music is played on any radio platform—Internet, satellite, or traditional AM/FM.

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