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Rep. Sensenbrenner proposes music licensing database

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner introduced a proposal this week to establish a database of licensing information for musical works and sound recordings.

The Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act is meant to help anyone using music look up the licensing status of the music to determine how they could use it legally.

“Across the country, businesses and establishments play or perform music for the enjoyment of their patrons, but the process of ensuring they are legally able to do so, as well as those who hold the license to the music or recordings being played are fairly compensated,  … Read More

State Supreme Court delivers open government victory

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled unanimously in support of open government advocates in a case involving a school district that held closed-door meetings.

The June 29 ruling said the Appleton Area School District violated open meetings law when it allowed a committee to review curriculum in a closed setting. The court ruled that the committee counts as a governmental body and should be subject to open meetings law.

Justice Michael Gableman wrote the decision. He dismissed the district’s concerns that subjecting such groups to the open meetings law “would be detrimental to the functioning of government.”

“We are not at liberty to exempt (the group) from the definition of ‘governmental body’  … Read More

FCC Chairman Pai, Sen. Johnson connect with Wisconsin broadcasters

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Sen. Ron Johnson took time June 5 to meet with Wisconsin broadcasters at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center and Pai went on to tour other broadcasters in the state.

Chairman Pai was in Wisconsin as part of a “heartland trip” across the Northern Plains to speak to people about how to make the FCC work for them. He was joined by Sen. Johnson during the Wisconsin leg of his trip where he met with broadcasters and broadband providers.

More than 25 managers from Wisconsin radio and TV stations came to Milwaukee to meet with Chairman Pai and Sen.  … Read More

Vetterkind testifies in support of repealing personal property tax

WBA President and CEO Michelle Vetterkind testified twice to state lawmakers in support of repealing Wisconsin’s personal property tax. She testified on May 24 before the Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues and on June 1 before the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

Vetterkind argued that the personal property tax is a burden to broadcasters, who maintain many pieces of equipment subject to the tax.

“The next time you are in your local TV or radio station to do an interview or a show, take a look around at all the equipment that is needed to put the interview you just did out over the air,” Vetterkind testified.  … Read More

WBA hits the Hill, FCC for an action-packed DC Trip

The WBA’s Annual DC Trip took place Feb. 28 and March 1. Executive Committee members Nancy Douglass, WLKG-FM, Lake Geneva, Steve Lavin, WBAY-TV, Green Bay, along with WBA Federal Legislative Chair Roger Utnehmer, Nicolet Broadcasting, Sturgeon Bay; Jan Wade, WISN-TV, Milwaukee, and WBA President & CEO Michelle Vetterkind along with WBA Director of Communications Kyle Geissler attended the Leadership Conference which was held Feb. 28.

Vetterkind joined a panel at the morning session to discuss strategies for connecting with lawmakers and provided examples for how the WBA does this using social media.

To complete our delegation of 33 WBA representatives,  … Read More

Committee votes on changes to online court records

A committee convened by the director of state courts is reviewing issues regarding the state’s online court records system: Wisconsin Circuit Court Access, or WCCA, which most people refer to as CCAP. 

The committee is the third convened to ponder changes to the system, the other two being in 2000 and 2005. Those committees resulted in refinements to WCCA, including changes to how information is presented.

The current committee has more than two dozen members representing people inside and outside the court system, including Beth Bennett of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, and Michelle Vetterkind of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.  … Read More

WBA gets new hotline attorney for FCC issues

With the retirement of our long-time D.C. counselor, Dick Zaragoza, as of Jan. 1, David Oxenford of the Washington D.C. law firm of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP will be our new “hotline” attorney for FCC issues. Feel free to call or email David with general questions about FCC legal issues, and David or someone from his firm will try to help you – at no charge to the station. Keep the questions general, as the hotline is not meant to review specific copy for ads or other broadcast material, and David and his firm will not be acting as your attorneys,  … Read More

WBA files brief in open meetings case involving Appleton School Board

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association has filed an amicus brief alongside the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council supporting the plaintiff in an open meetings case against the Appleton School District Board that’s been appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

A letter from the three organizations to Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel explains the case:

In this case, a committee of 17 teachers, administrators and staff members in the School District of Appleton was tasked with reviewing potential works of fiction to be included in a ninth grade reading curriculum. The committee, over the course of six months,  … Read More

2016 Post Election Update

Pillsbury has issued a post-election outlook after the victory of Donald Trump. You can read it here [PDF].  … Read More

Looking for insights on the election?

Our friends at Pillsbury have released their election night guide [PDF]. It’s a great guide to all the big races being tallied around the country. Take a look before election night.  … Read More