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AG presents $73,947 to Alabama Music Hall of Fame

By Phillip Rawls
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — At the suggestion of Alabama lead singer Randy Owen, state Attorney General Troy King gave the Alabama Music Hall of Fame $73,947 Tuesday that was left over from a nationwide settlement with music distributors and retailers.

"To visit the Alabama Music Hall of Fame is to touch the roots of American music," King said at a ceremony with Owen and the board from the hall of fame in Tuscumbia.

Owen said he has been a supporter of the hall of fame since Alabama voters approved its construction in 1980, and the money will continue its mission of celebrating Alabama's musical heritage.

"I'm very thankful looking at it from the standpoint of a musician and songwriter and entertainer," the Fort Payne native said.

The money comes from a lawsuit that attorneys general from more than 40 states, including Alabama, filed against music distributors and retailers accusing them of price fixing.

King said the $73,947 was Alabama's share of the refunds that weren't claimed by consumers. When he learned of the money, King phoned Owen, whom he described as "my musical adviser," and asked what should be done with the money. Owen suggested the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

David Johnson, executive director of the hall of fame, said about 10,000 schoolchildren from Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee visit the tourist attraction each year on field trips, and the $73,947 will be used to continue the hall's educational mission.

The Alabama Music Hall of Fame is receiving $250,000 in state funding this fiscal year. It used to get about $400,000 annually, but the funding was eliminated in fiscal 2004 when the state was going through difficult financial times. The Legislature restored $100,000 last year and then boosted the amount this year.

"It is regrettable our state has provided so insufficiently for their mission," King said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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