Thursday, October 10, 2002

I received urgent email from my favorite Internet Radio broadcaster, SomaFM, tonight. It's a call to action to revive H.R. 5469, the Small Webcaster Amendments Act of 2002.

Here's the text of the letter. Help out if you can.
    Thu, 10 Oct 2002 21:31:41 -0700 (PDT)
    This is probably the last time I will write to you asking for your help in lobbying for small webcasters, and to help SomaFM return to the air.

    Update on the legislation in the Senate:

    We just spoke to Beryl Howell in Senator Leahy's office. She has said that her office is trying to move the Bill right now, but that there are still holds on the legislation. They are working to get those holds removed, but right now they don't know where the holds come from. She has heard complaints most often from DiMA and the NAB about their desire to modify the legislation, but she tells me that there simply is not time for that to happen, as the House goes out of session tomorrow. Either the bill passes in its current form, or it does not pass at all.

    (There are also a lot of "hobbyist" webcasters who are opposed to any fee at all, and are asking the senate to block this bill because they would still be required to pay a $500 minimum annual royalty fee and they insist that it is their right to pay no fee at all. SomaFM supports a fair royalty that will reward artists for their work, while allowing us to competitively operate our station.)

    Ms. Howell suggests that, if we want to have any chance to get this approved, we need to light up the phones right away. If the offices of the Senators with a hold hear from enough listeners of small commercial webcasters (that would be you!) that they need this bill, they may decide to give up on their holds. If they hear that we fear that large webcasters and other competitors are trying to put the small, independent webcaster out of business, they may respond.

    I am writing this email only to enlist your support for help in getting this bill through the Senate. Take the time. Call every Senator (except Mr. Leahy, who is already on our side) - ask for their legislative aide dealing with Internet issues - tell them how important
    it is for you, the listener, that this gets approved BEFORE October 20. Light up your their phones!

    Today and tomorrow are the days to get these holds removed. Beryl says that the bill can move as late as Tuesday, but it is ready to go right now, if the holds can be removed. Everyone get on the phone right away. Call until you reach somebody. Send a fax if you can, but at this point we need calls. (SomaFM has already sent out several faxes to each senator.)


    We need people to target Senator Brownbeck of Kansas' office (Kevin Krufke is his legislative assistant), and Senator Smith of New
    Hampshire, as we hear that these may be putting a hold on the bill.

    Senator Smith
    Washington Office:
    Phone: (202) 224-2841
    Fax: (202) 224-1353
    307 Dirksen Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510-2903

    Main District Office:
    Phone: (603) 634-5000
    Fax: (603) 634-5003
    1750 Elm St., #100
    Manchester, NH 03104

    Senator Brownback
    Washington Office:
    Phone: (202) 224-6521 ask for Kevin Krufke
    Fax: (202) 228-1265
    303 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510-1604

    Main District Office:
    Phone: (785) 233-2503
    Fax: (785) 233-2616
    612 Kansas Ave.
    Topeka, KS 66603

    For the senators in your state, visit . Be sure that you CALL. Email will not be tabulated in time.

    Thank you very much.

    I want to get SomaFM back on the air as much as you want to hear us again.

    This is our last chance.

    We are close. But not there yet.

Call your local representative if you have a chance. There are a lot of small Internet webcasters that would love to get back on the air. We need alternative voices and sounds. Give your support to a worthy cause. Let the lawmakers in this country know we care.

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