If you thought that you could avoid Christmas Creep by staying out of stores — think again. It’s annoying you on the radio as well.
Assuming negotiations succeed, you’ll have your Pandora to listen to after all. On Tuesday, Congress passed the Webcaster Settlement Act, which gives Internet radio stations like Pandora until February 2009 to reach a new royalty agreement with copyright holders; if they meet the deadline, the government will not interfere, which is great news since it was the gov’s Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) that set the current market-killing fees in the first place.
XM/Sirius have (temporarily?) canceled two punk rock stations, Fungus 53 and Sirius Punk, and are redirecting listeners to a 24-hour station “dedicated to Australian hard rock act AC/DC.” We’ve been told by readers that this is a temporary promotion and happens all the time, to which we ask, wtf? XM/Sirius sometime cancels real programming channels to run paid-for promotions? Do you get a refund on those channels, or what? [Punknews.org] (Thanks to Craig!)
Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of Sirius-XM. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new anti-consumer practices. To seek out new revenue streams and crowd out new competitors. To boldly safeguard the dangerous monopoly granted last night by the FCC.
I will be in a roundtable discussion guest be on KCRW’s “The The Point” at 2:10 PM eastern today. You can listen here by clicking on the “LIVE” link at the top left, or tuning into your NPR affiliate station if they carry it. We’ll be talking about the economy, the growing pressures on consumers, the grocery shrink ray, and what, if anything, you can do about it.
Kieffe and Sons, a California Ford dealership, decided for some reason to launch a radio ad attacking non-Christians and people who believe that prayer shouldn’t be in public schools. Audio and transcript of the ad, inside.
Poor Kevin Martin. The Senate is well on its way towards killing his proposal to let newspapers get all freaky and consolidate with television and radio stations. Martin shouldn’t be too surprised: this is exactly what happened the last time a FCC Chairman tried to ram media consolidation down our throats.
Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh was having problems with his Mac. A program called Time Machine wasn’t restoring his emails properly and repeated calls to Apple Support were fruitless. Based on complaints in online forums, he wasn’t the only one either. So finally he complained about it on-air and that caught Apple’s attention enough to assign an engineer to go fix it (the guy had to delete the “null mail folder” and rebuild it in the internal directory with the terminal command). That’s the power of leveraging your voice . But you don’t need to have your own radio show, just deploy some of the technique that we described in “The Ultimate Consumerist Guide to Fighting Back” or in our interview with Ron Burley to get real customer satisfaction.
Reader Travis would like to purchase an XM radio from Best Buy. Sadly for him, Best Buy refused to sell him the radio without first learning his phone number. Travis does not want to share his phone number with Best Buy, therefore Travis has no radio.
I’m listening to the radio and I hear an ad for “Check-n’-Go” check cashing services. At the very end of the ad, the announcer quickly mutters, “Remember to always use cash advances responsibly.” This is what we’ve come to, they’re borrowing language from liquor ads. Guess that’s the boilerplate you throw up when advertising an item that’s potentially addictive and hard to escape. What’s next? Remember, always gamble responsibly. Remember, always snort responsibly. Remember, always Katamari Damacy responsibly.
Bill Moyers produced an excellent segment on media consolidation and its disproportionate impact on minorities. African Americans and Hispanics account for over a quarter of the population, but own just 33 of the nation’s 1,350 television stations, and only 6% of radio stations. According to Melody Spann-Cooper, owner of Chicago’s only black-owned radio station:
Radio has moved from being in the business of empowering and educating people to Wall Street, to making money. And that’s not the big corporate conglomerates, you know, that’s not their fault. They were allowed to do this.
Media conglomerates are preparing to feast on a banquet of local media outlets thanks to a resurrected proposal from FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. The Chairman wants to relax decades-old rules that bar media companies from owning both a newspaper and TV or radio station in the same local market. A similar proposal was presciently struck down three years ago by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Currently, a company can own two television stations in the larger markets only if at least one is not among the four largest stations and if there are at least eight local stations. The rules also limit the number of radio stations that a company can own to no more than eight in each of the largest markets.
Wired’s Listening Post Blog claims that internet radio has been “saved” (for now, anyway) and that SoundExchange executive director Jon Simson “promised — in front of Congress — that SoundExchange will not enforce the new royalty rates. Webcasters will stay online, as new rates are hammered out.”
Ignoring all rationality and responding only to the lobbying of the RIAA, an arbitration committee in Washington DC has drastically increased the licensing fees Internet radio sites must pay to stream songs. Pandora’s fees will triple, and are retroactive for eighteen months! Left unchanged by Congress, every day will be like today as internet radio sites start shutting down and the music dies.