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Wednesday, 20 June 2007


Dennis Haarsager

I emailed Todd and told him that he made my day with his comment [below] -- though in the post he cites I wasn't really trying to get anyone to change their plans on this. Just to let others know what he's talking about, I'm quoting below the post which went to the list for all public radio CEOs. It was essentially a longer version of the one above. --Dennis
I’m very supportive of [HR 2060] and the Washington [public radio] stations made it a priority during Capitol Hill Day (side observation: too many of us stayed home … you snooze, you lose), and Rep. Inslee from here was one of the original sponsors. This is not a skirmish, but rather a protracted fight in which I believe we will make steady progress because no matter how much the recording industry pushes back, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Remember payola? They need us for discovery as much as we need them for programming. Where we’re vulnerable is that music is struggling as a radio format these days. We urgently need to adapt to the complex realities of new platforms and that’s why we need reasonable royalty rates. Along the way, we also need to adopt new business models that recognize the value contributions that each of the players – composers, artists, producers, copyright owners, distributors, and radio stations – make along the way. That’s going to happen, but it’s going to be slower if the CRB rates aren’t moderated.

Not to try to influence anyone else, but since you asked, [Northwest Public Radio is] not going to participate in the “day of silence.” That seems to me to be punishing the listeners for something that neither they nor we did wrong. “I’m going to hurt you until you help me” worked with my little brother when I was 12, but I don’t think it’s effective with our donors. Weekly online listening is now about 30 million people, about the same as FM listening was, as I recall, in the mid-1970s (and, coincidentally, the same as public radio’s [today]). Would we have shut down our FM station for a day 30 years ago if we had a beef with copyright royalties? I don’t think so.

Todd Mundt

Dennis - thanks for your thoughts on this, and for comments you offered in response to the AREPS letter from NPR. Initially, we decided to shut down Iowa Public Radio's four music streams. But after considering more carefully the bigger picture you presented, we decided we can't step away from the principle of treating our streams with the same importance as transmitters. Also, since we're not planning to shut down our streams if the royalties stand (although we will cap the number of listeners) we didn't think it was in our best interests to shut them off now.

Thanks, again, for so eloquently expressing your thoughts.

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