Ah, election season. When we at FMC aren’t checking returns, we somehow find the time to address those pressing issues at the intersection of music, technology, law and policy. February has been a hectic and exciting month for us, what with the arrival of our sparkling new Executive Director, Ann Chaitovitz. Most of us on staff already know her pretty well, but we wanted to give her a chance to say hi to all of you, too.
Hello from Executive Director Ann Chaitovitz!
OK Go and Bonerama release EP, play shows for New Orleans musicians
FMC’s Brian Zisk presents the SanFran MusicTech conference
FMC at Arts Presenters: wrap-up
Policy Update - LPFM
Full-Power Licensing Blog Series
Updated Fact Sheets for 2008
Educational materials & survey for New York State musicians
Education Director Kristin Thomson at McGill University in Montreal
Local Media, Democracy & Justice Summit in Pasadena, CA
This post is the first in a series about last October’s full-power, non-commercial licensing window opened by the FCC. Mike Janssen, project manager for FMC’s Full Power Initiative, will provide an up-close look at several applicants, while examining what this process could mean for listeners. read more
The latest issue of Wired has a short, one-page article called “Why Things Suck: Radio.” We’re guessing it’s a part of a series, but we can’t remember having ever seen it before. We’re probably too fixated on their “What’s Inside” column, where you can find out about all the bizarre stuff in everyday consumer products.
But let’s get back to radio and suckiness. The piece does a fair job of itemizing the reasons the commercial dial is often devoid of actual entertainment. Public (airwaves) Enemy Number One? Profit-hungry conglomerates like Clear Channel: read more
They say you better listen to the voice of reason / But they don’t give you any choice ‘cause they think that it’s treason. . .
-Elvis Costello, “Radio, Radio”
In the course of doing some internal research here at Future of Music Coalition, we rediscovered a fantastic article by John Nova Lomax, which ran in Houston Press back in January. The piece is all about how the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 resulted in the appalling homogenization of the commercial airwaves.
In the story, Lomax lays bare the tactics through which the National Association of Broadcasters claims diversity on the dial. FMC Executive Director Jenny Toomey is quoted heavily: read more
The dearth of musical variety on the airwaves these days is much bemoaned and well documented. In 2002 an FMC study provided early evidence that the deregulation of the radio industry had resulted in less musical diversity among stations, a situation that hadn’t changed much by 2006. So it’s no wonder that frustrated music lovers are turning off their radios and plugging in their iPods, flipping to satellite radio or taking refuge in the blissfully eclectic world of webcasting. But don’t give up on old FM radio just yet. It could soon welcome a wave of sonic innovators. read more
Clear Channel responded Friday to FMC’s Request for a Declaratory Ruling, which we filed at the FCC over the chain’s attempts to strip indie artists of performance royalties in exchange for airplay.
Clear Channel officially announced it had revised the language on its licensing agreement (for a fuller discussion see this blog posting). In media reports, Clear Channel officials said, “FMC’s allegations of a ‘payola-like scheme’ are irresponsible and totally false.”
Here is why we made the complaint and why it’s significant. read more
Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on the Future of Radio. This hearing was set up to address a range of issues — LPFM, ownership, royalties, public radio, etc — but after a New York Times article last week disclosed that FCC’s Chairman Kevin Martin was considering a fast track effort to loosening media ownership rules even further, the Senators also used this time to send a message to the FCC, reminding the commission that a bi-partisan majority had objected to the efforts to deregulate media in 2003, and the Senate was ready to do so again. read more
Just a decade ago, options for hearing chamber music, jazz, and world music on the radio were straightforward and rather limited: a local NPR or Pacifica station spinning Beethoven string quartets or Wynton Marsalis on a dial filled with infinite varieties of commercial pop, country, and talk. But as with many art forms, the Internet has revolutionized how niche music reaches fans. With recording, podcasting and webcasting becoming cheaper every day, traditional radio broadcasts have morphed into dozens of new forms on the web, and ? perhaps most importantly ? the line between being a performer and a broadcaster has blurred. This new environment offers new possibilities for reaching new audiences, but it requires a new way of thinking about radio. read more
As we wrote about yesterday and in previous weeks, Clear Channel is attempting to strip indie artists of performance royalties in order to be considered for airplay on its stations.
As part of a settlement with the FCC following an investigation into payola allegations, Clear Channel and other major broadcasters agreed to air 4,200 hours of local and indie programming. Clear Channel set up a page on its station’s web sites that allowed indie artists to submit their music for airplay, but required them to check a licensing agreement that waives the artists’ performance rights. read more