Those who have a favorite Internet radio stream, or two, or six, will be a bit grumpy today.
A broad-based effort by a number of webcasters, both large and small, will replace programming on the streams with "A Day Of Silence", in protest of the...well, we'll let webcast guru Kurt Hanson and his "RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter" tell the story:
On Tuesday, June 26, thousands of U.S.-based webcasters plan to turn off the music and go silent in a unified effort to draw attention to an impending royalty rate increase that, if implemented, would lead to the virtual shutdown of this country's Internet radio industry.
Internet-only webcasters and broadcasters that simulcast online will alert their listeners that "silence" is what Internet radio may be reduced to after July 15th, the day on which 17 months' worth of retroactive royalty payments -- at new, exceedingly high rates -- are due to the SoundExchange collection organization, following a recent Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision.
Some major broadcast groups - including Saga Communications, which owns stations in Ohio - are joining up for the event. A number of big public radio outlets, small stations and independent webcasters are also in the mix today.
But a well-known, independent local broadcaster here in Northeast Ohio is also going silent on the Internet for a day.
It's the area's classical music outlet, WCLV/104.9.
In a note posted on the station's website this morning, WCLV warns of what would happen if the larger fees take hold:
The fees being charged by the record companies could bring to an end WCLV's Internet transmission of its many classical music programs, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Symphonycast, and concerts from Oberlin, Baldwin-Wallace and CIM.
Like the other webcasters, WCLV asks concerned web listeners to write their member of Congress. The specific goal is to urge support of the "Internet Radio Equality Act", a proposed measure which has garnered support from both sides of the political aisle.
For at least some tech-savvy WCLV listeners in Cleveland's far eastern suburbs and beyond, the Internet stream of the station's programming has been the only way to hear it in recent years.
Of course, in the Great Frequency Swap of 2001, WCLV moved off of the Cleveland-licensed 95.5 signal - now occupied by Salem's WFHM "The Fish" - to the Lorain-licensed 104.9 class A signal now coming from a tower in eastern Lorain County, in Avon just west of the Cuyahoga County line.
We don't have a list of other, smaller Ohio broadcasters and webcasters going silent today, so feel free to add your own outlet to the comments section if you're participating...