-- The Country Music Association (CMA) has released follow-up findings from the market research study it conducted in 2008. A few highlights: Country fans dropped slightly to 37% in 2009 from 39% in 2008; 40% of fans feel better about country music than they did in 2008; total country fan spending on recorded music and concerts dropped about 28% from 2008; 18% of country fans listen to radio online or through cable TV radio; and Walmart accounted for 48% of country fans’ CD purchases while Target got 16% (both were up four points). (Music Row)

-- Producer Phil Ramone and “American Idol” Music Director Ricky Minor penned a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski to ask that wireless mics are protected as the FCC frees up the radio spectrum used by the devices. “Pioneered by the broadcaster, wireless audio now touches almost every aspect of our lives. We certainly would not want the future to arrive at the expense of the present,” wrote Ramone. In 2008, the FCC decided to open up unused broadcast TV spectrum – the 300MHz to 400MHz “white space” – for unlicensed use. Rep. Bobby Rush has drafted a bill that will add protections to wireless microphone systems from interference. The bill would let wireless microphone operators register in an online database so new devices could avoid those frequencies. (Broadcasting & Cable)

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