Broadcaster Hypocrisy Has No Bounds

Broadcasters Rake in Billions for “Free TV” But Refuse to Pay Musicians

WASHINGTON, DC – Broadcasters will collect $11.7 billion in fees this year for television that is available free over-the-air yet balk at the idea of paying musicians for playing their songs on the radio.  This double standard has come into view as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) lobbies Congress to sunset the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR). 

NAB cites the U.S. Copyright Office to justify blacking out 870,000 Americans and removing the Federal Communications Commission’s “good faith” authority, despite ignoring the Office when it comes to paying musicians to play their songs on the radio

“I guess they Copyright Office is right when the NAB agrees with their position but wrong when they disagree.  Broadcasters will say just about anything to pad their wallets,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.  “They refuse to pay artists for their work, but have no problem jacking up fees for television that is available for free with an antenna.  But it doesn’t matter what broadcasters say because the reality is that if Congress doesn’t reauthorize STELAR, TV blackouts are going to get even worse and prices are going to go up.”

TV Blackout Crisis: Over 1,300 Blackouts since 2010 as Broadcasters Rake in Billions from Viewers

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 1,300 broadcaster-initiated blackouts.  Blackouts have affected consumers in nearly every congressional district and media market across the U.S.

  • 276 blackouts in 2019
  • 165 blackouts in 2018
  • 213 blackouts in 2017
  • 104 blackouts in 2016
  • 193 blackouts in 2015
  • 94 blackouts in 2014
  • 119 blackouts in 2013
  • 90 blackouts in 2012
  • 42 blackouts in 2011
  • 8 blackouts in 2010


The American Television Alliance (ATVA) brings together an unprecedented coalition of consumer groups, cable, satellite, telephone companies, and independent programmers to raise awareness about the risk TV viewers face as broadcasters increasingly threaten service disruptions that would deny viewers access to the programs they and their families enjoy.

For more information about ATVA, visit our website. Follow us on Twitter @ATVAlliance.

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