Local News

Internet Radio Faces A Significant Hurdle

Posted April 18, 2001 4:30 a.m. EDT

— Internet radio is a growing phenomenon. There are hundreds of stations around the world now broadcasting across the web, but the number available may soon decrease.

Stations like KFI-AM, a California talk station, are dropping their streaming audio broadcasts because of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists' demand for extra fees for music and commercials.

Organizations that license music to stations, such asASCAPandBMI, also want money from Internet-only radio stations, which have not had to pay for over-the-air broadcasts.

ASCAP is trying to collect huge penalty fees for commercials using union actors that were not cleared for Internet use.

Broadcast stations such as Capitol Broadcasting'sMIX 101.5and many others also stream their programming. That service could end because of the uncertainty over proposed fees.

If commercial stations leave the Internet, the gate is open for unregulated foreign broadcasters to fill the void.

The issue of licensing music and commercials likely was prompted by the Napster controversy and the strike by actors over pay for commercials.