Mr. Fritts, your name is first on the list. Why do you not proceed first.
STATEMENTS OF EDWARD O. FRITTS, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS; WILLIAM J. STEDING, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CENTRAL BROADCAST DIVISION, BONNEVILLE INTERNATIONAL CORP.; ROBERT J. SABATINI, JR., WRKC-FM, KING COLLEGE, WILKES-BARRE, PA; AND CERPHE COLWELL, RESTON, VAMr. FRITTS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As you have mentioned, I represent the National Association of Broadcasters whose membership includes more than 4,500 radio stations and over 850 commercial television stations.
Of the 25,000 or so individual songs which are released each year, only a small number have lyrics which genuinely raise parental concern. As the principal trade association of the broadcasting industry, the main avenue of action for NAB when a problem such as the porn rock phenomenon arises is to generate industry awareness and sensitivity, and particularly the awareness of those at the top of our industry.
Thus, on May 13, 1985, I wrote executives of the more than 800 radio and television station group owners in the United States to alert them to the public conern that was developing over the issue of porn rock. Several articles have also been written on the subject for our weekly newsletter, which is sent to every NAB member.
The broadcasting industry response to my letter has been generally very favorable. In a number of cases senior executives wrote or told me in person that they had not been aware of the explicit nature of some of the music being played on their stations until they received my letter.
Some songs they found inappropriate for their audiences were removed from the play lists, and new songs are now being monitored more carefully. Additionally I believe the industry as a whole now has a higher level of sensitivity to this problem and to the general desirability of maintaining certain levels of good taste in programming.
A few weeks after I sent out my letter to the group owners, we discussed the porn rock problem at a meeting of the executive committee of the NAB board of directors. The conclusion which emerged was that we might be able to help our members respond by asking the record companies to supply copies of the lyrics when they make new records available to broadcasters. Thus, on May 31, 1985, I wrote to the chief executives of 45 record companies that together account in sales for about 85 percent of the Nation's recorded music, and I asked that all recordings made available to broadcasters in the future be accompanied by copies of the songs' lyrics.
Although there was a good deal of support for this proposal among broadcasters, the recording industry was not overwhelmed by the idea and subsequently rejected it.