With the push massively hiked broadcasting fees for web radio stations, a lot of stations are pushing back as hard as they can, with now a ‘Day of Silence’ where normal broadcasting is being suspended completely or a looped programme (in the case of KCRW) explaining what the issue is and the impact on them. The only players who seem not to be getting involved are the biggest, who are probably both the least innovative and can weather the increased costs – namely Clear Channel and AOL (more details –Additional Details Emerge Ahead of Webcaster Day of Silence).
To add to the pain, live sessions that some stations are noted for and attract a lot of good publicity for the artists involved – such as Morning Becomes Eclectic (on KCRW) and the famous Peel Sessions for the late great John Peel on Radio 1, are under pressure. A number of artists are now pushing for performance or royalty payments (more detail here Musicians To Radio Broadcasters: “Clearly, We’re Not Wealthy Enough” and Variety article). The irony is that the artists that I’ve seen involved probably are smallest beneficiaries from such sessions, and I’m sure that the likes of Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey can manage without the extra few thousand that such a change would introduce. But those need and benefit from the exposure of live sessions – the smaller and indie artists like Wilco will lose out on the publicity as stations are likely to cut back or stop doing such sessions.