Pubradio stations that stream music on the Web are split on whether they will participate in Internet radio’s “day of silence,” June 26 , conceived to protest proposed streaming royalty rates.
The increased royalties, set to go into effect July 15, will hit commercial webcasters of all sizes as well as noncommercial stations that have more streaming usage than the average in pubradio.
Stations with large online audiences including KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., and Philadelphia’s WXPN plan to participate in the day of silence, according to an informal poll by Mark Fuerst, executive director of the Integrated Media Association. Others, such as Boston’s WGBH, San Francisco’s KQED and Washington State University’s Northwest Public Radio will not.
“There’s a sense that it won’t do any good, that it punishes the listeners,” Fuerst says, explaining the nonparticipants’ thinking. But Fuerst backs the protest. “The people who have spoken out the strongest about this are the ones who’ve moved the needle” in Congress and among listeners, he says.
Webcasters are backing a pair of bills in Congress that would set streaming royalties similar to those paid by satellite radio.
The House Committee on Small Business will hold a hearing June 28 to assess the impact of the proposed rates on recording artists and webcasters. [Richard Eiswerth, president of WGUC-FM in Cincinnati, is among the witnesses, according to the committee's witness list.]
Web page posted June 26, 2007
Copyright 2007 by Current Publishing Committee