Internet Radio royalties need to be more fairly assessed

I’m a regular listener to Milwaukee’s latest public radio format, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. It’s a terrific FM station with many “degrees of connection,” so to speak, to the web and new media. First, they have a great site. They also have a high-quality, 128k internet streaming signal — one that I use frequently through iTunes. They even have a member of their on-air talent who co-produces his own extraordinary podcast. That would be Sam Van Hallgren, who is co-star with Adam Kempenaar of the best film buff podcast out there, Filmspotting.

Today you won’t be able to sample 88Nine’s streaming signal. That’s because they, along with other web stations, are protesting a fee increase for use of licensed music. This increase is huge, and threatens to put most of their ilk out of business. I’ll let LaCrecia Thomson, RadioMilwaukee’s new Listener Relations Director, explain:

On Tuesday, June 26th, RadioMilwaukee will join other Internet radio providers in a “Day of Silence” for net radio. Internet radio is in immediate danger of being silenced permanently through new, government-imposed royalty rates that are so high they will shut down most webcasters and could force RadioMilwaukee to severely limit our stream.

BE HEARD.  Preserve the diversity of service web radio provides and the voices it inspires.  Without action, your listening choices will be limited.  Support net radio and RadioMilwaukee.  Wisconsin’s U.S. Representatives Gwen Moore and Tammy Baldwin have already sponsored the Internet Radio Equality Act.  Let senators Herbert Kohl (202.224.5653) and Russ Feingold (202.224.5323) know you want a diversity of entertainment options.

All I can add is if you have a favorite streaming radio station, check it out today. It will likely be silent as well. I’m sure their site will point you to the appropriate lawmakers who can help ensure that the silence doesn’t continue indefinitely.