Radio stations are hurting in these tough economic times, and a radio royalty proposal by Congress could make things worse.

The proposal, co-sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would require radio stations to pay not only songwriters but performers each time their song is heard on the radio.

That would undoubtedly lead to more layoffs in the industry — and perhaps the closure of some stations.

In an effort to save Utah radio jobs, 96 of 104 Utah legislators joined with Utah broadcasters in asking Utah's congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., to oppose the legislation.

Utah Rep. Julie Fisher, (R-Fruit Heights), whose husband, Scott, is a morning host on KOSY radio, drafted the letter.

"To require local radio stations to pay a fee while at the same time promoting the music industry's product is an unreasonable requirement."

In addition to Hatch, the letter was sent to Sen. Bob Bennett and Reps. Rob Bishop, Scott Matheson Jr. and Jason Chaffetz.

Dale Zabriskie, president of the Utah Broadcasters Association, said, "We deeply appreciate the support expressed by the vast majority of the Utah Legislature. While this is a congressional matter, we hope our senators and representatives will come to the same reasoning. This truly could mean many more Utah jobs will be lost to pay additional royalties to mostly foreign-owned record companies."

If the music industry really wants more revenue, it needs to more effectively crack down on illegal downloads off the Internet.

Most people first hear a song on the radio, and to require payment on that process is like charging a TV station a fee to air a commercial, instead of the other way around.

RADIO HAPPENINGS: Citadel Broadcasting's stock has plummeted in the past month, leading to rumors about the long-term viability of the company that owns ABC Radio and several hundred U.S. radio stations, including KBEE, KBER, KENZ, KFNZ-AM, KKAT AM/FM, KJQS and KUBL in the Salt Lake market.

WHO WILL replace the late Paul Harvey? According to Inside Radio, ABC plans to offer a menu of commentators that stations can choose from. One commentator is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

KBYU (FM-89.1) will present a special evening featuring Fred Child, host of "Performance Today," on April 2, at 7:30 p.m., in BYU's Harold B. Lee Library. Child will discuss the current state of classical music including the business, the concert scene and music in the media. Contributing members of KBYU are invited to call 800-298-5298 to reserve a pair of complimentary tickets. Seating is limited.

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