Dubbed the Elective Act for Radio, or EAR, the legislation would require AM, FM, Satellite, HD, and Internet Radio to embed a new technology into all broadcasts which is capable of sending a signal from radios via cell phone towers back to a main server which will track the amount of time a user listens to radio.
Radio users would then be required to register for radio listening at a new government website, eartax.gov. Then, every two months the Federal government will bill users via email at a rate of .002 cents per hour of listenership.
According to Representative Suchafayke (D): “With the mounting deficit proposed by the current administration, this new radio listener tax will go a long way towards helping defray the cost of both the President’s current budget proposal and the recent stimulus bill. Personally, I think it is high time American radio listeners began to pay their fair share of the entertainment costs of the country.”
The EAR bill does have its critics. Several Congressmen have already come out against the legislation characterizing it as nothing more than a “Redistribution of Sound” and say it will unduly burden regular radio listeners by forcing them to pay for all citizens, whether or not they listen to radio on a regular basis.
According to Senator Yerkiding (R): “The EAR legislation is one more step toward more government in our face - uh, in our ears. Plus, I have concerns about embedding anything into transmissions. The airwaves should be free to carry musical styles and lyrics without fear of big government intervention. Frankly, it jus5 doesn’t pass the smell test.”
Some lawmakers fear if passed, it may prompt the F.C.C. to bring back The Earness Doctrine, which was banished during the Reagan administration.