06/20/2007 01:12 PM
For Immediate Release: June 20, 2007
Contact: Greg Fitzpatrick, Public Information Assistant, 202-885-1571
WAMU 88.5 to Join Webcasters in "Day of Silence" June 26
Station's online music streams will go silent for a day
Washington— WAMU 88.5 will turn off its two online music streams Tuesday, June 26, in recognition of a "Day of Silence" for webcasters across the country. The online stream of WAMU's BluegrassCountry.org and WAMU 88.5 Channel 2 on wamu.org - which broadcasts music content from WTMD in Towson, Md. - will go silent for a day. Visitors to the sites who click on the streaming audio links will instead hear a recorded statement. The station's regular on-air analog and HD signals on 88.5 FM will not be affected.
The Internet radio "Day of Silence" is being organized by SaveNetRadio.org, a coalition of artists, labels, listeners, and webcasters. It is meant to represent the silence that could occur when new online music royalty rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) take effect July 15. Webcasters and others who stream music online face drastically higher royalty rates than they currently pay, which could force many of them to go silent permanently.
The new rates would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006, and would nearly double the overall cost to WAMU 88.5 for providing a music stream on BluegrassCountry.org this year. With the rates set to increase annually, the station’s overall streaming costs would almost triple by 2010.
"As an internet station with a global audience, we are concerned about the recent CRB decision and its potential effect on BluegrassCountry.org," WAMU 88.5 Music Manager Jen Hitt said. "We feel that public Internet radio enhances the community by connecting listeners with music they love, much of which is increasingly difficult to hear via traditional terrestrial radio models."
The CRB decision treats public broadcasters the same as commercial entities. National Public Radio has been pursuing avenues to reverse the effects of the decision on behalf of itself and its member stations. Additionally, the Internet Radio Equality Act introduced in Congress would vacate the recent rate changes, and protect public broadcasters from high royalty fees.
American University's radio station since 1961, WAMU 88.5 is the leading public radio station for NPR news and information in the greater Washington, D.C., area, with more than 600,000 listeners in the region. WAMU 88.5 is "your NPR news station in the nation's capital." Launched in 2001, WAMU's BluegrassCountry.org is a 24-hour listener-supported online music station with a worldwide audience. It features knowledgeable hosts who play the best in traditional and contemporary bluegrass, and educate listeners about its history.
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