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Radio royalties fix: Require FM radios in phones?

A tech-policy problem that's been festering for the last decade may be nearing a solution--but, in keeping with the sad history of this issue, the latest proposed fix has far more to do with lobbying than logic.

The issue should be familiar to politically-aware Web-radio fans: the disproportionate royalties that those sites pay to the musicians whose work they stream over the Internet. A flawed political process resulted in a panel of judges setting punitively high rates that would have put many Webcasters out of business, and even the more reasonable rates negotiated last year are substantially higher than those that the XM Sirius satellite-radio firm owes, and infinitely higher than those that AM and FM stations pay.

That's because in the United States--unlike in most other countries--radio stations don't pay "performance royalties" to musicians at all. Instead, they only pay "mechanical royalties" to songwriters, the same ones that Webcasters and other non-radio broadcasters also pay on top of performance royalties.

(Radio stations say they promote musicians by airing their work and note that record labels give them free promotional copies--something I remember from my days as a DJ at my college radio station. But by that logic, songwriters shouldn't get any extra compensation either. Since radio broadcasters seem unwilling to follow that line of thought, you're left with the argument that AM and FM should get a free ride on performance royalties... just because.)

A Performance Rights Act to even things out by requiring radio stations to pay performance royalties has slowly been gathering steam in Congress, and now broadcasters appear open to compromise.

For the most part, the proposal outlined in this release by the National Association of Broadcasters seems reasonable. Stations would pay, at most, 1 percent of their annual revenue, and those rates could no longer be ratcheted upwards by the same panel that tried to mug Webcasters. Stations would pay less to simulcast their content online and would be able to air the same commercials online and over the air.

But there's one weird wrinkle: The government would also have to require mobile-phone manufacturers to include FM tuners in every phone.

NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton defended that idea in an e-mail:

From a public safety perspective, it is critically important to have broadcast radio's unparalleled lifeline service available instantaneously in times of emergency. For that reason, NAB would oppose any legislation related to royalties that did not include that feature.

Somehow, the broadcasters did not think to make such a request earlier, even though an entire generation of Americans has grown up thinking "phone" means "mobile phone." So either the NAB has only recently begun to put a higher value on human life, or it thinks spending other people's money--that of phone manufacturers, the carriers who sell their products and their customers--will sell this proposal to its members.

Over at the MusicFirst Coalition, a lobbying group that advocates radio performance royalties, spokesman Marty Machowsky wrote that "inclusion and activation of FM chips in cell phones and PDAs would give consumers more choice and more ways to listen to and enjoy music." Which is a fair point, except it's not the government's job to make manufacturers provide those things.

Machowsky suggested that adding FM capability might not cost much. Indeed, iSuppli analyst Andrew Rassweiler, whose firm conducts "teardown" dissections of gadgets, noted that many phones, such as the iPhone, include unused FM support thanks to their use of consolidated chipset packages. He estimated that adding a separate FM tuner would add at most $1 in parts, not counting design and testing expenses.

But electronics manufacturers are predictably unamused by the idea of the government forcing them to add features customers don't seem to want--the Consumer Electronics Association denounced this proposal in a press release. But in a separate statement forwarded by a publicist, CEA president Gary Shapiro allowed for a compromise: some of this performance royalty would get kicked back to phone manufacturers to compensate for their added expenses.

Odds are this tuner-mandate proposal won't accomplish anything but demonstrate the sense of entitlement some industries have. There are just too many other companies opposed to the idea. Stifel, Nicolaus and Co. analyst David Kaut predicted its demise in a phone interview Tuesday: "If they want to get this done this Congress, I'm skeptical this survives."

Even without that provision, however, the proposed fix would still need work. To avoid distorting markets, it should impose the same royalty structure on broadcasters everywhere--whether they use the airwaves, satellites or the Internet to reach listeners. But that's far too fair, simple and logical an outcome to hope for, right?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  August 20, 2010; 2:56 PM ET
Categories:  Music , Policy and politics  
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Comments

i have an iphone, and there's no reason to exclude an FM radio. I'd use it daily. I use a radio app at the moment, but that drains the battery, and it isn't as reliable as FM radio.

Posted by: Vanguard08 | August 20, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

It's the old coercion marketing approach. Broadcasters bang the drum for free markets and liberty until their own interests are on the line. Then they free ride on the property of others: must-carry on cable and DBS, royalty-free music on radio, and this attempt to impose their storefront and costs on successor technologies.

Call your favorite flag-wavin' conservative host and ask him whether government should impose this backward analog mandate on the private digital networks of tomorrow.

Posted by: EconCCX | August 20, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of morons. Even if the tuner only costs a buck, then someone is going to have to design a screen interface for it. And everyone knows that FM reception isn't worth a damn unless you are using your headphone cord as an FM antenna. And how much will an always-on FM circuit drain battery life?

Where are the Republicans when you need them? If they think it's unconstitutional to force people to buy health insurance, it should be just as unconstitutional to force them to buy FM radios.

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | August 20, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

FM is better than digital for communications in a national emergency. Simple low power receivers. Independent of the internet and cyberattacks (and Obama's internet kill switch).

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | August 20, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Assembling Robette. Wireles signal in computing IS FM. EG || | | || | |||.

Notice Frequency of Transmitted voltage varies thru time, interputed with device as Signal. Perhaps thats FM Robs' referring to. Mfg could with FCC approval have FM, Cell Internet & ATSC Signal Ability, yet those signals outside Internet are OWNED by Transmission Companies, NOT Device makers.

Reason to restrict market is to lower amount of Knock OfF mfG, which slowly degrade quality of reciever devics to make others seem BAD. Only real way to hear WTOP Is with FM Radio, one carried as extra along with Tablet or recieved thru inernet as goes thru conversion process from Signal head. NOT at reciever end, has been Standard. Or Standards become vague & output, unreliable.

Internet can outdo any local FM Radio, even TV. Better to own multiple devices than cram one device with so many competing standrds. Signal makers will blame each other, while listner/viewer will be overwhelmed with BAD Signals, As Spite.

Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRSHEK M.D.

Posted by: thomasxstewart1 | August 20, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Some quick clarification:

Local radio broadcasters are currently paying two royalties:

One goes to songwriters for every song aired by stations. This royalty amounts to hundreds of millions annually, and is paid out of the recognition that songwriters have a much more difficult time monetizing radio airplay than do recording artists. Recording artists generate revenue through album sales, concert sales and merchandising opportunities -- all three of which benefit from local radio airplay promotion. Songwriters don't have this luxury.

Local radio stations also pay a second royalty to musicians and record labels for music streamed on station websites. This royalty is indeed lower than the rate paid by pureplay Internet stations like Pandora, and there are very good reasons for that. Unlike free and local radio stations, pureplay Internet stations have no public service obligations and little if any local programming. If a tornado is coming through your town, or there’s an AMBER Alert child that needs rescued, good luck getting that type of potentially lifesaving information from Pandora.

Moreover, pureplay Internet stations face none of the regulations imposed upon local radio. They have no indecency restrictions; no discounted time requirements for politicians; and no obligation to serve the community. The features that are the hallmark of local radio – commitment to community, serving as a lifeline in times of crisis, and being free of charge to 239 million listeners each week – warrant a reduced streaming rate for local radio stations.

Finally, a radio chip on cell phones would cost pennies as a mass-produced item. In fact, many cell phones currently have radio-enable chips, but which have not yet been activated. In a society where cell phones and other mobile devices are increasingly ubiquitous, it is not unreasonable to think that the public would benefit greatly from having immediate access to the reliable, free and local lifeline service that is provided day in and day out by local broadcast radio.

Dennis Wharton
National Association of Broadcasters

Posted by: DennisWharton | August 20, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of FM tuners on cell phones. I have made decisions to buy a particular cell phone for that reason in the past. However, I do not think that it's the government's place to mandate this.

Posted by: midanae | August 20, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Today's unattended, robot-run FM stations are indeed comparable to Pandora as emergency information systems. But the cell phone network delivers emergency information immediately, whatever else you're doing. If, G-d forbid, there's a shooter loose on campus, your radio doesn't wake up to warn you; your cell phone does. And hurricane information is available both by alert and on demand on the cell network. It's pure luck if you hear it on radio before your cell's battery life drains away.

Radio today is a remote, recorded product whose hosts attempt to sound live and local, giving listeners a false and dangerous sense of security. Those who believe in carrying an FM receiver around for emergencies certainly have that right. But most of us know better. It would be just like Washington to shore up a dying technology by fiat at the expense of a true emergency system.

Posted by: EconCCX | August 20, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

My Nokia 1661 already has a FM radio built-in. I love this feature.

Posted by: tuzoner | August 20, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

As usual, I can see it both ways. In my mind there's not a lot of harm in having FM capability on mobile devices, although, no offense to Dennis W., it does seem slightly throwback. (Does it come with a Bazooka Joe comic?) And plenty of devices overseas are already equipped, not to mention the fact that some of our domestic handsets have dual-purpose chips with the FM receiver unactivated.

On the other hand, it does seem odd to statutorily compel an industry to undertake a course of action when they aren't direct stakeholders in that particular policy debate. Not sure I'd call it a "tax on consumers" or anything, but costs are costs.

The public benefit should be taken into consideration: if wireless providers keep instituting data data caps due to any combination of poor public policy, or false scarcity, there is a compelling reason to have over-the-air broadcasting available to handset users. Emergency information is also something to consider.

Is it enough to sway the outcome in a debate that's raged for multiple decades? Can't wait to find out.

I'm personally more interested in opening up some frequencies to additional low-power FM stations, which also cost little, provide public safety benefits. And you can almost carry them in your pocket... ;-)

Posted by: caseycontrarian | August 20, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Listening to FM? There's nothing worth listening to anymore.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | August 20, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

If this isn't a prime example of why our legislative system is hopelessly corrupt, I don't know what is.

I mean, passing a law mandating an entertainment feature on a telephone? How much in "campaign donations" do you have to shell out for THAT?

Posted by: kcx7 | August 20, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I have a phone that has a built in FM radio. I can also upload videos, take photos,record video, text and use the internet.The majority of these "features" are useless. This phone sits in a desk drawer.

My other phone makes and receives phone calls. That's the one I use.

Please don't do me any favors.

Posted by: dontsendnofarkingspam | August 20, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

More Americans are tuning out FM radio and tuning in Pandora and other online music sources, listening to digital music collections and using new and innovative tools to access music. We're using our cell phones to listen to music too -- the iPhone is in many ways a music source that happens to make phone calls.

But we're not using our cell phones to listen to FM radio. Why? Because the vast majority of us simply don't want to. But radio broadcasters don't want to adapt their business plans. They'd rather lobby the government to force all consumers to pay for an FM radio tuner in their cell phones. Sounds like the most backward-looking, back-room political deal imaginable? It is. Meet the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) -- their plan is to hobble their competitors and get the government to artifically create a market for their dying service.

The Consumer Electronics Association, where I work, was founded in 1924 -- and our name back then was the Radio Manufacturers Association. NAB was around back then too, representing radio stations. Today, CEA represents 2,000 of the nation's most innovative manufacturers and retailers of consumer electronics products and services. We've grown and changed as new technologies come and go, and the pace of innovation means CEA and its member companies have to adapt to changing consumer demands with innovative new products.

NAB, on the other hand, still looks a lot like it did in the 1920s, representing the same broadcasters with the same business models and roughly the same technology. That explains why -- like a buggy whip manufacturer might have panicked at the advent of the car -- NAB is seeking government mandates to force consumers to continue using the same old radio technology they have soundly rejected.

Perhaps conceding that forcing consumers to pay for something they don't want to use is not a good selling point, broadcasters are now trying a new approach -- public safety. An FM tuner is vital in cell phones, says NAB, because we can thereby receive emergency alerts from broadcasters.

But do broadcasters actually pass along all of the emergency alerts they receive to listeners? No. Broadcasters aren't required to -- and in fact do not -- pass along many emergency messages, mainly because they quite often don't have anyone staffing their stations when the alerts come in. And more often than not, "local" radio news comes from a satellite feed. That's why I get emergency alerts on my cell phone delivered via text message from my local government.

My friend Dennis Wharton from NAB comments here that FM chips are cheap to install and it is "not unreasonable to think" consumers might like having FM radios in their cell phones. Of course, if NAB is successful in its lobbying push to force all manufacturers to include the chips and all consumers to buy them, it won't really matter whether we would like it or not.

Jason Oxman
Consumer Electronics Association

Posted by: joxman1 | August 21, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

My Samsung Omnia already has an FM radio built in. I seldom use it.

Posted by: docchari | August 21, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

I have a phone that I use as a phone, not for anything else.

I have a computer that I use as a computer, not for anything else.

I have a radio that I use as a radio, not for anything else

I do NOT want a phone combined with a computer combined with a radio combined with a. . . .

I am a consumer, and I DEMAND that I have the right to choose which product best fits MY needs. Isn't that what the 'free-markets champions' are constantly screaming?

Or, why don't we just make it law that the FM tuners in the phones are pre-tuned to a specific frequency, and the consumer can't change it? If others don't see a problem in requiring all cell phones having an FM radio, I see no problem in requiring a pre-tuned specific frequency.

Posted by: critter69 | August 21, 2010 2:53 AM | Report abuse

Attn: National Association of Broadcasters

I'll start listening when you stop kissing Clear Channel's hind quarters.

Thank you.

Posted by: jamshark70 | August 21, 2010 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Walking past the NAB near Dupont Circle, I would always wonder what they do. Now I know the answer -- an outdated lobbying firm that greases politician's pockets in the name of the people. Give me a break, FM tuners for public safety? You do realize they have to be ON for anyone to realize that safety benefit? And since there is currently little demand for FM tuners in phones, why would you think that suddenly everyone would be listening for public safety information? Instead of forcing FM radio capabilities into phones, these groups need to realize why no one is listening to radio anymore. It's nothing more than a sounding board for commercials and pre-paid, prepackaged Billboard Top 20 pop songs.

Posted by: tristesse27 | August 21, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

While I concur that government should not be mandating product design, that is apparently a hopelessly antiquated notion in the Nannystate.

Auntie Sam seems quite comfortable dictating seatbelts, airbags, catalytic converters, fluorescent light-bulbs, and even what kind of fat our donuts are fried in.
.

Posted by: gitarre | August 21, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

The post by Mr. Wharton of the NAB is bizarre. I will be charitable and not go any farther. It speaks for itself.

On a technical point, the safety aspect is important. During Katrina, cellphones did not function, and public info could only be disseminated by Ham operators. We discovered there was something missing in our emergency notification system. If the internet/cellular system goes down, like due to a cyber attack or natural disaster (Katrina?), there is a generation of cell phone users who may not have access to a conventional radio - except in their car.

Hey 20 somethings - serious question: If you suddenly discovered your cell, cable and internet connection did not work, and heard a huge bang off in the distance, what would you do?


Posted by: d_kmuller | August 21, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Radio? What's that? Do they still broadcast music on radio?

@d_kmuller, that "huge bang" will knock radio off the air, too.

Posted by: realworld51 | August 21, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Dear NAB - your proposal is a clear FAIL. I do have a radio in an iPod and it works OK as long as I have headphones as an antenna. No headphones/antenna, no reception.

Now, most people use a cellphone WITHOUT headphones. So radio is clearly not going to work. The "radio mandate" proposal is so silly, for this purely practical reason, that you should be embarrassed for having made it.

The other reason it doesn't make a lot of sense is because the radio programming has driven many listeners, including myself, away. Bruce S. wrote of "57 channels and nothing on" and it's just as true now of radio as of TV.

Posted by: vdev | August 21, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

My Motorola phone has an FM receiver, and I thought "hey, cool!" when I read that. But what wasn't on the package, in the promo copy, or even in the FAQ when I tried to look it up, is that the FM receiver will not work unless you have a pair of wired headphones physically connected to the phone, since those wires become the necessary antenna for the radio. A cellphone with an FM radio chip in it is not really an FM radio, it's only half a radio until it has a built-in antenna. Oh, and even with the headphones attached, this particular phone won't let you stream the FM broadcast via Bluetooth. Your only choice is the headphones you've attached. Sheesh, talk about a half-baked idea! Oy!

Posted by: HaigEK | August 21, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't want 'no stinkin' FM radio" on my phone! I just want a PHONE!!! No radio, no camera, no text, no internet, no cutesy ring tones, no music.... nothing but a cell phone! Can I get it??? NO!!!

Posted by: joeblotnik49 | August 21, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

It looks like the RIAA and broadcasting industry have decided that lobbying and litigation are a better business model than content people want to consumer.

Not to mention the FM radio in my phone can barely pick up anything inside a building, even next to a window. That is a moot point these days though, as I have no use for terrestrial radio other than "Traffic and Weather on the 8's".

The whole reason I bought an iPod is to listen to music that is never played on the radio. Not to mention my favorite shows (that used to be on the radio) are now podcasts. Other good content can only be found on Sirius/XM. If there was so much demand for FM content on mobile devices, I am sure the manufacturers wouldn't have a problem adding that "few cents" into the product.

Another fail from the broadcasting and recording industry. Bring back the old WJFK and I'll listen to radio again. Until then, I have Sirius, mp3s, and podcasts.

Posted by: BurtReynolds | August 21, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I had a radio show too - WMUC at Maryland on the AM band. Two actually because my partner and I had creative differences... Zero Discipline with Dan & Dave became Zatz Not Funny with you know who. I should have pushed harder for some sports coverage opportunities though, those guys at the time sucked but were graced awesome vantage points.

Posted by: davezatz | August 21, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

During first hour of Los Angeles Earthquake in 1994, In North Hollywood, at 4AM went out to own vechile & turned on radio. NO Transmissions on any part of AM or FM Band.

So Not much point in extreme emergency. maybe in thunderstorm, Not catastrophe.
Signed:THOMAS STEWART von DRSHEK M.D.

Posted by: thomasxstewart1 | August 21, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Long live FM and vinyl. Forget DAB and prerecorded cds.

Posted by: truth1 | August 21, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I have a phone with an FM radio. It doesn't get any stations unless I have the headphones plugged in to act as an antenna. If I turn on my bluetooth headset, the phone tells me to unplug the headphones and the radio stops working. Under ordinary circumstances, if there is an emergency, I will have to walk home to find my headphones to plug in the get the radio to work.

Posted by: sscritic | August 21, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

This is corporate welfare at it's finest.

Posted by: Nymous | August 22, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

So some manufacturers would be forced to turn on the features, while others would have to include new hardware. All of them would charge more for the devices than they now do.

Consumers win because they're forced to buy something they don't want and will not use? Really, is that so?

I don't care how many suits come out of the RIAA's dancing clown cars, the FCC should not be in the business of giving them money at my expense. At this point, if you're going to try to force me to listen to Metallica, *I* want to get paid for it. Lars and his gang of screeching toads have grown tiresome as I've watched his henchmen sue grandmas and well, now this...

Posted by: Nymous | August 22, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

How does this in any way pass any antitrust smell test? If anything it's an argument against prior behavior in the music industry.

Posted by: Nymous | August 22, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

If they're going to require radio capability in phones, they should at least make it the digital, HD format. That might actually be useful.

Posted by: JoeMc | August 22, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I love the argument that radio should get a free ride on paying performers because "they provide promotion." How about those oldies and classic rock stations, which couldn't exist without the use of someone else's work product? The Beatles and Led Zeppelin need "promotion"? Seriously, this is beyond stupid, but that's never stopped the NAB from making idiotic arguments before.

Posted by: miffedone | August 22, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

And don't forget the extra dollar or two a month that you will be charged for having the availability. The artists will never see a penny of this money, it will all go to a failing music industry and the RIAA.

Posted by: gmclain | August 22, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

From a business perspective, it might be worth it for manufacturers to consider that in the rest of the world, in developing nations that are just beginning to get cell phones, radio reception is greatly valued, and people are willing to pay a little more to have their phones include radios.

Posted by: katiepu | August 22, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

if these phones with radios were able to get conservative talk radio...
then they would not be pushing for this...

Posted by: DwightCollins | August 22, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

One minor correction - broadcasters do not currently pay "mechanical" royalties, but instead they pay public performance royalties to the composers, just as the proposed royalty would be a public performance royalty to the aritsts and labels for the use of the "sound recording" (the composition as recorded by a specific artist). The public performance right is granted under the Copyright Act for a specific right - the right to perform or transmit a song to a public audience. The "mechanical" royalty is a royalty for a different right - the right to the reproduction of the composition - a right usually paid by, for instance, a record company to the composer for the use of the musical composition when the composition is "fixed" - like when one of the label's artists uses the composition in a song that is recorded on a CD or in some other format. Mechanical royalties are also paid for the use of the composition in ringtones - as copies of the composition are made when the ringtones are downloaded by a mobile phone owner.

Posted by: doxenford | August 22, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

So if a national emergency were to happen, we're supposed to turn on fm radio...and we found out there is a national emergency and we need to turn on the fm radio..HOW? The cell phone went out? So is my sitting on the wrong end of my couch a national emergency? Or should Newspapers be mandated? (Remember in the movies when an EXTRA came out if something big happened? It did.)

Posted by: EagleMom1 | August 23, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Here's another twist on this half-baked idea: Hurricane Ike rumbled through Houston/Galveston in 2008. Cell phone networks were jammed for hours in the immediate aftermath, but my standalone radio and landline phone both worked. So,if you are dependent on cell phones with a built in FM radio, you would have waited for hours after a natural disaster like a hurricane.....

Posted by: steelydanfan1 | August 23, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget - you need to add an A.M. radio too!

Posted by: ABitofThought | August 23, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

An FM tuner on my cell/smart phone is something that I often thought would be a very desirable feature. I support these efforts and am looking forward to their implementation.

Posted by: Freethinker101 | August 23, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

re: Mr. Wharton's justification of lower royalties because of "obligations to serve the community":

Umm, no. That's the "price" you pay for access to the publicly-owned airwaves. No reason to assume additional benefits to make up for paying that price (which you agreed to when you got your license).

Posted by: km352 | August 23, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

This is yet another way to tax...once you have a radio on your phone, now they can add a small but growing tax to your monthly bill. If I want radio, I'll decide and pay for it. Then you have universal access-fee and so it goes.

Posted by: alantich2000 | August 23, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

d_kmuller.. I'm a 20 something who has been in that situation. About 7 years ago, I was working in a medium sized city when an area emergency did occur. I didn't have access to a television nor online so I turned to radio, thinking they would tell me what was going on. There was only one problem - nobody was there to staff the station! It was all automated and using voicetracking. Out of a dozen stations in the city, not one was live and local. I was stuck in a building not allowed to leave and had no idea why. Not until I got to a tv did I find out why.

The days of someone actually being at a station to give updates should a real emergency happen are done. Most stations are VT'd at least 50 percent of the time. Weekends are dead for live personalities in most areas. Thanks to conosolidation and greed, "live and local" died forever.

Posted by: mwd_11 | August 23, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

All this is assuming that all radio stations are actually Controlled LOCALLY by a HUMAN. In many smaller markets the radio station is controlled by a remote computer (most of them owned by Clear Channel Communication) with pre-recorded and pre-programmed station ID loops.

Remember the chemical spill in some rural town, where the local emergency officials frantically tried to contact the "local" radio station, so it could broadcast the information, and warn the people to get out of town; only to find out that there is NOBODY at the station anymore?

Posted by: bata4689 | August 24, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

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