A guide to the Day of Silence – Tues – Jun 25

www.kurthanson.com


BY
KURT HANSON, PAUL MALONEY, and DANIEL MCSWAIN
Thousands of Internet radio stations and channels across North America are preparing to go silent tomorrow (6/26) as part of an industry-wide “Day of Silence”. The landmark event is designed to draw attention to impending royalty rates that threaten to virtually shut down Internet radio as a medium.

Plans for the event have already received coverage in numerous press outlets, including in The Wall Street Journal, on public radio’s “Marketplace” program,and, this morning, on CNBC.

Webcasters participating in the event range from thousands of “hobbyist” webcasters and mid-size commercial webcasters to major commericial and publicbroadpandoracasters and most of the largest Internet-only webcasters (including Yahoo!, Pandora, MTV, mtvRhapsody,and Live 365).

The event has the potential to galvanize public support behind webcasters and move thousands of Internet radio listeners to call their representativesin Washington D.C. and urge them bagel radioto help our industry by supporting the Internet Radio Equality Act.

In 2002, the webcasting industry faced a similarly unworkable royalty rate structure. The May 1, 2002 “Day of Silence”event organized in response to that crisis was massively effective in drawing national media attention to the plight of thewebcast industry, and many who were involved considerit to have been instrumental in turning the tide in webcasters’favor and to secure more reasonable rates for the industry.

When does the “Day of Silence” start?
Most webcasters are going silent from midnight tonight (12 am Tuesday morning) to approximately 11:59pm Tuesday night — either in their own time zone greater mediaor EDT.

What to do with your streams
In a show of solidarity for the day’s event, RAIN hopes that everyoneparticipating will commit to a stream that is PRIMARILY — more than 50% — silent (although bleeps, surf noise, and static could all count as “silence”), with occasional PSAs interspersed that very briefly explain the event and its significance.

A number of brief and clear PSAs produced by Spacial Audio and Mountain Echoes Radio areavailable for all webcasters’s useat the SaveNetRadio.org site.

Message on website
Webcasters participating in the event may want to explain to their audiences that the “silence” they’re hearing is part of a national event, and that listeners’ action is instrumental to the day’s success. Also, in order to not confuse listeners into thinking that their favorite webcast is simply not functioning right, a message on the page could assure listeners that your service will return on Wednesday as scheduled.

An example message that you could post visibly on your site is below, taken from the SaveNetRadio.org website:

Today is the Day of Silence at _____
The future of Internet radio is in immediate danger. Royalty rates for webcasters have been drastically increased by a recent ruling and are due to go into effect on July 15 (retroactive to Jan 1, 2006!).

To protest these rates and encourage you to take action and contact your Congressional representatives, we are taking part in the Day of Silence, by silencing our programming for today.

We ask that you excuse the interruption of our normal programming, and ask that you take action to help ensure this silence is not permanent. Please call your Congressional Representatives today. Click the link below http://www3.capwiz.com/saveinternetradio/issues/alert/?alertid=9738601 
for instructions how. Thank you.

Key points for media/press
The RAIN office has been fielding a growing number of media requests for tomorrow’s event. If you are contacted by media, or have the opportunity to reach out and inform press in your area, we’ve prepared a short bullet-point list of “talking points” and info that can quickly and clearly convey the “highlights” of the event:


  • The “Day of Silence” was organized 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.
  • Participating streams 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.
  • Major webcasters like Yahoo! Launchcast, Rhapsody, and Pandora.com, in addition to some terrestrial broadcasters’ online simulcasts, will silence their streams along with other Day of Silence participants.
  • Listeners are urged to take action TODAY by calling their representatives in Washington D.C. and urging them to help our industry by supporting the Internet Radio Equality Act.

Please re-visit this page later today for more “talking points”.
x

More resources
If you’d like to issue a press release to encourage coverage of your activities in your market, you may download a template here (.pdf) or here (.doc), and customize them.

Here’s a banner to include (make it link to: ‘http://capwiz.com/saveinternetradio’). SaveNetRadio has more banner material available here.

For a full list of participating webcasters and broadcasters, as well as additional “Day of Silence” information, click here.

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