Radio surprised at Government copyright decision

The commercial radio industry has expressed surprise and concern at the Commonwealth Attorney-General's proposal to lift the statutory cap on broadcasting fees paid by radio broadcasters to record companies.

Joan Warner, CEO of Commercial Radio Australia, said: "This could lead to spiraling payments by radio stations to record companies - and we are especially surprised as we were told by the Government only a couple of months ago that it was not inclined to change the cap at this time.

According to Ms Warner, Commercial Radio Asutralia is concerned that the Commonwealth Government has sided with "the multi-billion dollar global record industry" over Australian radio at a time when costs are rising and revenues are unstable for the local industry, especially regional broadcasters. Furthermore, commercial radio stations have commenced planning for the digital rollout, at considerable expense, of superior radio services to all Australians using digital radio technology.

Ms Warner said: "It is also common knowledge that the advertising market for radio has been softer and unstable, and, as a result of Government policy, there are more radio stations than ever before competing for a shrinking advertising dollar."

The commercial radio industry, as part of the consultation on the statutory cap, has provided the Government with a significant amount of detailed argument and rationale for retaining the cap.

"It appears the Government has, at this point, chosen to ignore the needs and concerns of the Australian radio industry," said Ms Warner. "However, we are pleased to note that there will be further consultation on the legislation. We will be seeking meetings with relevant Ministers, as well as with local Liberal and National Party members, during the consultation period to restate the case for the Australian radio industry".

16 May, 2006

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