Jim Yager, the CEO of Barrington Broadcasting, is a longtime BMI board member. He shared with TelevisionWeek the importance of BMI to broadcasters as well as the meaning of Frances Preston’s legacy:
BMI, or Broadcast Music Inc., was formed to give broadcasters and any users of music an alternative source for copyright. Back in the late ’30s there was only one source, and that was ASCAP. So BMI was formed to provide those writers and publishers as well as broadcasters an alternative source. And from a broadcaster’s point of view it was an alternative licensing source, but from a writer and publisher point of view it was an alternative source to represent them to protect their royalties.
Frances has just done a sensational job in building an organization and expanding BMI’s reach out into areas other than broadcasting. There are so many other people who use music, and she’s protected the writers’ and the publishers’ rights in those areas, making sure they are well protected in terms of their copyrights.
Cable for years didn’t pay for the copyrights of the music they were using. And Frances has expanded that and she’s expanded in the foreign area. But her real legacy is that she has done it with great charm and with great grace.
She has built a wonderful organization, a very strong organization of executives who are very committed to the company, who are very committed to the writers and publishers and who are very committed to the relationship with broadcasters. They’ve helped broadcasters understand what it is they’re paying for when they have a music license. There’s a reason for it and I think they’ve done a very good job in communicating a reason for it.