AOL Mary Wehmeier's Radio Weblog
Yeah-- We rolled over for a lot of money. Formerly a Titanic Deck Chair Rearrangement Corporation (NASDAQ:TDCRC).


Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.



  Thursday, March 07, 2002

Better Late to the Party Than Never

A picture named Devilhood.jpgYes Doc, Welcome to Hell.

Do you ever listen to an internet website?  Listen up! May be you listen to a pure webcaster, or may be it's the little home town station 1500 miles away, or may be it's the local radio station you can't get inside your office building-- well if you do listen, or know anyone who listens to internet radio, it's time to be very upset.

The Skinny: The
Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel ("CARP") of the Library of Congress (LOC) decided to be judge and jury by issuing a ruling under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that will effectively shut down each and every small webcaster within the next several weeks.

How? Because the blood suckers at the LOC have done some type of backroom deal that sets the price a webcasters would pay to play music at such a high rate no one (repeat) NO ONE can afford to pay them unless you are a major broadcasting corporation!

And the sad thing is-- the MAJOR broadcasting companies, like AOL/TW, Clear Channel, Disney, Belos etc. don't give a rats ass about internet broadcasting! The Big Broad-COs are so glued to making the "book" for their ratings, that they don't even care about servicing the internet. (Ask me I know-- I sat on a major committee to get an honest book done on Internet Radio.)

Why do I care?  If you knew me, you might know my families been around the broadcasting world since my uncle put a broadcast tower up in the backyard and started doing local programming out of the living room over 50 years ago.  The old fossil was a pioneer and a damn good business man, who believed that if you could bring something entertaining to the people-- was worth trying. For a long time it did not make money. Internet radio follows along the same pioneer lines. It is worth trying and supporting. If the old man were alive today he'd be trying it as well-- or urging one of us kids to do it.

So just when you thought you had an alternative place to hear what you wanted in internet radio-- vs. the over-consulted, homogenized crap on the AM and FM airwaves, the damn LIBRARY OF CONGRESS is trying to put a fork into internet radio before it could even get off the ground and become profitable!

Me thinks I smell a rat-- and it smells like RIAA!  Hmmm... where have we seen that before? (May be I should order one of THESE to put a picture of Hilary Rosen in on my desk. Nah, might scare the dog.)

In a nutshell: Internet Radio is in the perfect position to be the alternative choice to traditional radio. This is especially true when the concept of local radio has gone out the window with recent FCC rulings where major corporations like Clear Channel, Belos, Disney, AOL/TW and others can and do own a large number of stations across the country. In the great hunt for the bottom line (profits,) stations are no longer is a station obligated by the FCC to local programming that reflects the tastes and needs of the local community inwhich the radio/television stations broadcasts. Hell, even the announcer on your local station may not be local or live!

Here's why you want to support Internet Radio: Your right to choose what you listen to!

Internet Radio while not local-- the programming is directly influenced by the listener. Webcasters are pretty sharp cookies and they want listeners. So they are not bound by a playlist of less than 200 pieces of pop-crap that demographically hits the 11-19 year old range. Webcasters are directly influencing and introducing new groups and music to the public in record numbers. These are groups that would never get a record deal, or get radio airplay. But from the expanded sales numbers of alternative recording sales, people are buying this new music if given the opportunity. Commercial Webcasters, like commercial radio have always been willing to pay reasonable royalty fees, and unlike radio, webcasters want these fees go to the artist.

But that isn't what CARP has in mind.  (PDF)

CARP's current recommendations on a pay per play model will make it virtually impossible for any independent webcaster, commercial or private, to meet their payment model and remain in business. But don't take my word for it go read about it here and here, and YOU do the math.

If the CARP recommendations are enacted there is no way in hell a webcaster-- any webcaster can stay in business. Especially considering these are startup businesses and the state of today's economy where venture cap funds of any type are as dried up as Death Valley.

What can we do?  Read about it. Learn all you can. Then write letters (the snail mail kind, because these are the ones they read,) to the LOC Copyright Office.  Due to September 11th, the LOC has extended the comments period to April 5. Write, call and fax your US Senators and Congressmen. Explain in plain language that in this election year this situation is a major priority for you and you want their attention to the matter. Keep your letters to no more than 2 pages, because they get attention.

A picture named devs.gifIt's time to put the heat on.  If we don't, the next thing RIAA is going to put its finger on is the New Low Power FM Stations (LPFM) and squeeze these local non-commercial broadcasters off the air before they even get started.

Feel free to point your friends here-- there's more to come.

Thanks to © Kitty Roach (c) 1996-2002) for the wonderful animated devil. Check out her site!

4:10:27 PM    

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2002 Mary Wehmeier.
Last update: 3/7/02; 4:11:06 PM.

March 2002
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Feb   Apr