AAF Government Report

July 30, 2009

Clark Rector Jr., Executive Vice President – Government Affairs

CDC Issues Obesity Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report of Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States that includes limitations on advertising. According to the CDC, in 2006 obese people spent over $1,400 more on medical care than people of normal weight. The CDC also reported that medical spending in the U.S. due to obesity reached an estimated $147 billion in 2008.

Among the many recommendations the CDC released for combatting obesity is one that suggests communities should limit the advertising of less healthy foods and beverages. The recommendations acknowledge that “little evidence is available regarding the impact of restricting advertising on purchasing and consumption of less healthy foods.” No specific definition of “less healthy foods” is given, nor is any consideration given to consititional free speech issues.
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Congress Considers Fees for Radio Music

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled an August 4 hearing on a proposal to require AM and FM radio stations to pay performers for the songs they play. Proponents claim that this would bring the stations in line with cable, Internet and satellite services. Opponents argue that compensation is already provided and additional fees could put many stations out of business. A companion bill has already passed in the House Judiciary Committee.

Meanwhile, two congressional leaders have asked the Federal Communications Commission to look into allegations that some radio stations have engaged in retaliatory behavior over the legislation. The MusicFirst Coalition, which supports the legislation, alleges that many radio stations have refused to air their ads, but will air the ads sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters, which opposes the measure. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif. and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher, D-Va. have written a letter to the commission asking for a “thorough examination” of the claims.
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