There's nothing like a little good news to end a long day, which is what a gathering of webcasters, artists, and independent label representatives received as they wound down their walk through Congress on Tuesday.
Let's qualify a couple items before moving on:
1) "Little Good News" refers to the extension granted to internet radio
stations, postponing royalty payments to July 15. This was announced
in conjunction with posting to the Federal Register of the Copyright
Royalty Board's March 2nd decision.
2) "Webcasters, Artists, Independent Labels" references the few dozen
persons who performed a physically-demanding feat on Tuesday.
They split into groups and visited over a hundred Congressional
representatives to discuss the implications of the CRB's decision, and
to ask for support of H.R. 2060 - "The Internet Radio Equality Act
introduced by Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Rep. Donald Mnzullo (R-IL).
"EA in this case means a person who's wanted to be a disc jockey or radio program director finally getting to run their own station."
For those who are sitting back and watching - in particular the major radio groups that are not pledging support to fight these high royalty rates - witness how the actions of a few are going to have a positive effect on many. The groups that walked Congress on Tuesday were trying to save themselves but will also end up saving broadcasters, because the latter are required to pay the new internet music royalty rates along with internet-only stations.
Where were Clear Channel's representatives on the Hill Walk? Nowhere to be found. Fact is you couldn't find a representative from Cumulas, Greater Media, Cox, CBS, or any radio broadcast group. (Judging how executives from each have run the radio industry into the ground, though, having none of the above involved may not be an altogether bad thing.)
On the flip side, it's not hard to imagine that broadcasters are hoping the high rates will drive thousands of independent stations out of business. Less is more for the radio industry in this case as well.
Now - Move On
The "Hill Walk" was another of those noted events in internet radio's history, representing one more step to gaining validity in the eyes of advertisers. It's also drawing more attention to radio online, which will, in turn, increase audience. The future's not dead, just challenged. Challenges are overcome all the time.
If your station is online, your time to act is now! Urge listeners to call their Congressional representative and ask them to support H.R. 2060 - "The Internet Radio Equality Act."
Place a banner on your site to spread the word about these high royalty rates for internet radio. (Use mine if you want. Download it here and have it link back to SaveNetRadio.org.)
Run audio PSAs... Again, use mine if you want. Download a set of three here.
The good news is that payment day has now been pushed to July 15 and gives everyone time to get involved in the most important point of your future. Whether you're a broadcaster or online-only radio station operator, come July 15 staggering amounts of royalty money will need to be paid.
...That is, unless enough people contact their Congressional representatives about "The Internet Radio Equality Act." Then, this whole story may end up being nothing but good news for everyone.