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Cathy Hughes Refuses to Participate in House Judiciary Committee Hearings on Performance Rights

New York, NY –“The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) is extremely disappointed by Radio One and its Chair Cathy Hughes’ decision not to participate in today’s House Judiciary Committee Hearings on the future of the Performance Rights Act (H.R. 848).  It is irresponsible that they have decided not to take part in a hearing on issues vital to minority-owned radio, including H.R. 848, which Radio One has heavily criticized in the past several weeks. The Performance Rights Act will provide a vital income to working musicians.


“Ms. Hughes and Radio One have been vocal critics of the H.R. 848, running negative ads on many of her 51 radio stations that criticize both the measure and its sponsor, Senator John Conyers.   Radio One has repeatedly asked for an opportunity to raise their concerns, and today Chairman Conyers gave them the opportunity – which they declined.


“Radio One and Kathy Hughes can’t have it both ways.  They can’t stand outside the tent and criticize the Performance Rights Act, and when invited inside the tent to share their views, refuse to participate.”


The Performance Rights Act has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee.  The  21-9 bipartisan vote in favor of the bill marked the first time in 80 years that a congressional committee has approved legislation to create a fair performance right on radio.

The Act will close a loophole in copyright law that allows AM and FM music radio stations to earn billions in ad revenue each year without compensating the artists and musicians who bring music to life and listeners’ ears to the radio dial. 

Artists and musicians are compensated when their work is used on satellite radio, internet radio and cable television music channels.  They are also compensated when AM and FM radio stations stream their over-the-air signal online – the same programming, the same music and a fair performance right that has been negotiated and agreed to by the National Association of Broadcasters on behalf of radio stations. 

Most countries in the world have a fair performance right on radio, too. Only the U.S.IranNorth KoreaChina and Rwanda do not. But because we do not have a radio performance right in the U.S., American artists and musicians are not compensated when their music is played abroad, including in Canada.  It is estimated that between $70 and $100 million would be available to American artists and musicians from foreign radio airplay when the Performance Rights Act is signed into law.



Founded in 1896, the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), AFL-CIO, is the largest organization in the world dedicated to representing the interests of professional musicians.


With more than 90,000 members, the AFM represents all types of professional musicians, including those who record music for sound recordings, film scores, videogames, radio, television and commercial announcements, as well as perform music of every genre in every sort of venue from small jazz clubs to symphony orchestra halls to major stadiums.  Whether negotiating fair agreements, protecting ownership of recorded music, securing benefits such as health care and pension, or lobbying legislators, the AFM is committed to raising industry standards and placing the professional musician in the foreground of the cultural landscape.



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