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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Internet Radio Music Safe For Now

Stream on! Local radio stations say they won't pull the plug on audio streaming music Sunday, the deadline for implement new royalty fees. Wired magazine says new royalty rates have been temporarily set aside while negotiations continue between webcasters and the organization which collects the fees for the recording industry.

That's great news. Stations have said they could not afford to pay hefty increases starting Sunday – retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006 -- demanded by the Copyright Royalty Board. Public and commercial webcasters have been negotiating with the Sound Exchange, which collects fees for the music industry.

"As of right now, we're planning on maintaining our music stream as long as financially feasible," says Richard Eiswerth, president and CEO of Cincinnati Public Radio, operators of classical WGUC-FM (90.9) and talk/jazz WVXU-FM (91.7).

Eiswerth and Bryan Jay Miller, general manager, testified before the House Small Business committee on June 28 seeking legislative relief. Eiswerth says WGUC-FM's fees would increase 250 percent under the new rates. Public radio's web streaming agreement with the Copyright Royalty Board expired at the end of 2004.

Managers for WNKU-FM (89.7), Oxford's WMUB-FM (88.5) and commercial also plan to keep the stream flowing for now.

“ is hopeful that these negotiations will result in a long-term solution to the benefit of webcasters, artists, and labels alike,” says a statement posted this morning .

In an interview with the Radio and Internet Newsletter today, Sound Exchange director John Simson said that royalty-compliant webcasters can continue operating after Sunday without fear of legal action.

"We will continue streaming as long as we can in the hopes Congress will soon intervene," says Aaron Sharpe, WNKU-FM development and marketing director. "Obviously we’ve reached the most critical stage of this situation, and it is more important than ever to speak out against the impending rate increase."

Internet listeners can find information about the stations’ campaign at


at 7/16/2007 11:09 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the new internet radio royalties, am I missing something? It is my understanding that the internet radio stations are willing to pay but the proposed fees are way to high and also retroactive. They look as though they were designed to shut down the internet stations.

With the way "Corporate Radio" is going, there are fewer and fewer new artists on these stations. The internet radio was one way for new artists to be heard by many of us who want to hear "something new". I heard one story was that it as starting a "musicians middle class".

I hope saner minds prevail. Just as Itunes proved, we are willing to pay for music. Just be resonable!


at 7/17/2007 8:34 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last comment got it right. This is clearly a lobby effort by traditional broadcasters to cut off a potential new competitor. If necessary, congress should get their act together and fix this mess.
Forget this retroactive business about royalties and give these little guys a fair chance.
Internet radio is like the shortwave broadcasts of the past.

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