It’s easy to let political issues sort of simmer in the back burner while imminent daily things take over your life, and so it’s been with the Save Net Radio movement, which you’d think I’d be on the forefront of, until this morning, when I saw that WMPG had posted a bold warning that the Copyright Ruling Board’s fee hikes threaten to shut down their streaming service.
Suddenly, the apathy melted. Even in the greater Portland area, WMPG can have a shaky signal and the ability to offer a version streamed online helps hundreds if not thousands tune regularly into the station. This is also the way that I tune into the station a lot, since my FM radio at home stinks, and is also how I get to listen to my beloved WWOZ. After Katrina, I sobbed into many shots of bourbon while listening to the sweet sounds of New Orleans croon from my home thousands of miles away. I also stymied my sense of missing the party during Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, when I could raise a glass from the privacy of my home yet still hear the pulse of the Crescent City.
I can’t quantify the loss I’d feel if that signal went silent, but it’d be a big one.
Likewise, though this issue doesn’t effect podcasting (yet!), I know this is how a lot of you hear the show, especially those who want to hear the live version, as rough-hewn and stumbling as it can sometimes be. And even though I don’t tend to listen to internet-only stations, I totally respect what the small-time webcasters have done for the millions of listeners out there, and the diversity of material they’re offering to the world. Taking this all away for the sake of pennies for the media monopolies is a nightmarish thought. We have to defend the places that haven’t yet turned into terrestrial commercial radio!
And so, as the deadline for the fee rollback looms — that’s THIS Sunday, July 15!!! — I urge you, yes you, to immediately contact all of your representatives and beg for them to stand up against the Copyright Ruling Board’s rate hikes by supporting the Internet Radio Equality Act. Even timid ol’ me found contacting Senator Collins, Senator Snowe, and Rep. Tom Allen a pretty painless experience… in fact, the person at Tom Allen’s office actually seemed interested and made me feel like my voice was heard and important. Pretty cool.
Thanks to Save Net Radio, WMPG, and the cool jazz of WWOZ for waking me up to this… And hey, ol’ NPR for their mighty efforts to get these fees revoked as well.