Webcasters silence radios in protest


DENVER -- Don't expect to tune in to your favorite Web radio station today. Odds are they're off the air.

That's because the webcaster radio community is conducting a "National Day of Silence" to protest the Collective Royalty Board's new royalty rate structure that Web radio operators must pay SoundExchange.

The "Day of Silence" was organized by the SaveNetRadio Coalition and counts Yahoo, Live365, Rhapsody, MTV Online, Pandora and KCRW as participants, among thousands more. Still broadcasting, however, are AOL Radio and Slacker, among others.

In place of music, participating Web radio stations are asking listeners to contact their representatives in Congress to support the Internet Radio Equality Act. The new Royalty rates are scheduled to take effect July 15.

Meanwhile, Congress continues to investigate the Web radio royalty issue. On Thursday, the House Small Business Committee will conduct a hearing to examine the CRB's royalty rate impact on both artist and webcasters. Expected witnesses include executives from NPR, the American Federation of Musicians, Tommy Boy Records, La La Media and several artists.