SANTIAGO – Chile’s Senate has passed a bill that would force the country’s radio stations to devote at least 20 percent of their programming to music by Chilean artists.
The initiative will be signed into law by President Michelle Bachelet after more than a year of discussions in Congress.
Under the provisions of the bill, the percentage of music by Chilean artists will be monitored daily.
No more than half of the national-content requirement can be allocated to the hours between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. and a quarter of the 20 percent reserved for Chilean music will have to include songs recorded within the last three years.
Stations that disregard the regulations will be fined in amounts ranging from 215,340 to 2.15 million pesos ($342-$3,428), with penalties doubled for repeat offenders.
The Bachelet administration says legislation is needed because Chile’s radio stations broadcast too much music by international artists.
The Archi industry association, representing more than 1,000 radio stations, contends the bill “infringes on the freedom of expression and programming that historically have characterized this social communication medium.”
Archi says the choice of music cannot be regulated by percentages, since some formats have room for plenty of Chilean music, while others focus on genres in which English predominates.