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The Almighty Buck

AFTRA Halts Many Radio Stations' Webcasts 233

livitup writes: "Surprised when you couldn't listen to that live stream of your favorite radio station at work today? AFTRA (The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), the union for Radio and Television actors has dealt a blow to the internet. AFTRA is now requiring radio stations to make supplemental payments to AFTRA members on stations rebroadcast on the internet. So they have in effect shut down internet radio rebroadcasts, because no radio station in their right mind would pay their DJs 300% more just to stream over the internet. This NYPost article quotes Clear Channel, which owns 1170 radio stations has ordered them all to stop streaming their on air feeds."
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AFTRA Halts Many Radio Stations' Webcasts

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    You speak as if unions were the only ones acting out of greed. A lot of the bennefits you enjoy at work, assuming you do work, you have because unions fought for them. To numerous to mention--but consider the recent rash of incidents involving the RIAA, DMCA, HarryPotter domain name disputes, a recent story about how listening to baseball games over the net are no longer. Point is, look almost anywhere on the net and you'll find stories, on a daily basis, on how corporations are stiffling the internet thus reducing it from a medium of popular and democratic participation to just another mass comsumption and propoganda tool. No Virginia, Reagan was not right about the union thing (he himself was in a union). And you should learn to apply a little more complex thinking.
  • "But what we're talking about is replacing one mom-and-pop radio station with five corporate affiliates. That's the situation on your dial these days, overall."

    No, it isn't. And it will never be, as long as there are a finite number of FM radio stations available for licensing in any given area. When there is replacement these days, it is to replace a current station's management with new management. Not to replace one station with "five corporate affiliates."

    And, having lived in 3 different metropolitan areas of different sizes over the last 6 years, I can vouch for the way clear channel and it's bretheren have been innundating local markets with "market music." Just because the phonomenon started 10 or 15 years ago, doesn't mean it isn't worse today.
  • The union only represents major- to medium-market stations, AFAIK. I worked in small-market radio for several years, and was never an AFTRA member.

    Kinda revealing to me about the true nature of the union. Instead of representing the people who (arguably) need representation the most, it concentrates on people who are likely to be able to provide the most dues (salaries in major markets are *much* higher).

  • One of the small-market stations I sometimes listen to has the following notice up:

    Do to recent issues regarding additional talent fees for playing radio commercials over the internet, we have been forced to temporarily disable audio streaming of WNAX AM and FM. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to find a solution as quickly as possible so we can resume our webcast.

    (They misspelled "due", not me. :-))

    So, in their case, it has nothing to do with their air talents, who are not likely to be AFTRA members, but with the talents on commercials that they air.

    OK...that's just stupid, and indicates an extortion scheme. Does anyone disagree? I hope not.

  • Why is the only prejudice it's PC to have is anti-Christian prejudice?

    Probably because people are more tolerant of people being less tolerant towards people who are generally a pretty intolerant lot.

  • >I recall a time when I could drive down I-10 or I-12 and hear nothing
    >but Country stations, but now it's very rare for me to find a stretch
    >of road where I can't pull in Classic Rock, Hip-Hop, even National
    >Public Radio.

    Like he said, it's gone to hell :)


  • by hawk ( 1151 )
    that's klinux/gnu, thank you. But you did comply with the licensing by sharing the reference.


  • Try to tell the stations that if they want to move into a new medium (the net) that they should share some of the procedes with the folks who make the content.

    In reality if the DJ's etc have a contract with the stations then they should expect the stations to stick to it. If the stations want to move into a new market, they need to share what they are doing with the DJ's.
  • I don't know you can't swap Pedro Martinz for Joe pitcher and get the same results. However many people here on /. work in jobs where you can distingish yourself from the next guy. For many jobs from flying an airliner to driving a school bus there is not a lot of difference between an OK person and a great person.
  • by Zachary Kessin ( 1372 ) <zkessin@gmail.com> on Friday April 13, 2001 @04:55AM (#294425) Homepage Journal
    Part of the thing is that I think unions work a lot better in places where people are more or less interchangeable. For example airline pilots. Now I know some airline pilots they are very highly skilled and well trained. But lets face it if you take 2 guys who are both rated in the same plane (say a 737) then there is not much difference between them. One is not going to get the plane there any faster then the other.

    On the other hand a good ball player or school teacher is not replacable by another. But even in that case for every great person you have a hundred people who are good and get the job done without being amazing, they still deserve some protection.
  • It is not by accident that I used OPEC; the similarity reveals one thing: labor unions are cartels.

    Possibly, but they are not necessarily monopolistic cartels. For example I can reel off three UK teaching unions -- NUT (National Union of Teachers), NASUWT (National Association of Schoolteachers/Union of Women Teachers), PAT (Professional Association of Teachers) -- and there are more. These unions compete for members, have slightly different values, and their campaigns and their aims will not always overlap.
  • Well Metro Radio is worse. Used to be the best local radio station in the UK and now is one of the worst.

    Ana Schofield [clickmetroradio.com] - Metro's breakfast DJ is worse than anything radio 1 can come up with.
  • Whatever resurgence there is right now in talk radio, it is all (and I do mean ALL) owed, for better or worse, to Howard Stern.

    EVERY radio station now has a show with a central host accompanied by a pair of chatty co-hosts and a sound effects/sound byte engineer. Most of them are annoying in there desparate failure to approach the self-deprecating humor, interpersonal interplays and spontenaity (or successful illusion of spontenaity) that make's Howard Stern's show so staggeringly successful.

    It's kind of like when Nirvana came out with "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and a whole new wave of bands scratched their heads and said "Loud...then soft...then loud again. Cool!" Dynamics were re-introduced to pop music for the first time in a long time.

    The Stern format is interesting and is probably here to stay, if people can find the courage to do it their way instead of imitating his.

  • That was my goof on the Nielsens - I had an early-morning brain cramp. I knew it was Arbitron, lord knows I've heard Imus rant about it enough times during drive-time.

    When you have technology in place to broadcast only the content and block the ads, make sure you run a "this is ad time that you'd hear if AFTRA wasn't a bunch of ninnies" PSA during the breaks so people don't think the stream died.

    I'd suspect that the more specialized the fare, the easier it is to find a streaming audience. Talk shows, sports programming (like regional sports stations), and specialty music would seem like obvious things that would find a Net audience - Top 40 I'd expect nobody to stream if they have a radio available (since there's a Top 40 station in pretty much every market). Christopher Lydon, according to an article I read a few days ago, is drawing about 2000 listeners per streamcast so far (he's done a handful) since leaving WBUR and The Connection. However, that's a fraction of the radio audience. Ironically, a couple of radio stations are now broadcasting the webcast of a show that used to be broadcast. It makes your head spin...

    - -Josh Turiel
  • Internet-based radio streams are useful as a way for a radio station to widen their audience somewhat, and a way for people to listen to their hometown radio when they're away. I strongly doubt, though, that Internet broadcasting (except maybe in a very few cases) of a radio station gathers anywhere near even 5% of that station's over-the-air audience.

    The interesting thing, though, is that it's easier to measure the audience on the Internet - just count server connections and you've got a pretty accurate audience measurement. As opposed to the satistical sampling of radio diaries by Nielsen. So if stations could sell those additional numbers and pay unions/labels appropriately, then it'd be worth it to stream.

    The problem there is that I suspect Internet listeners are going to be (because of the dispersion) listeners that advertisers don't want. A large proportion of radio ads are local, and only have appeal to the local audience. If I'm listening to a Boston radio station in San Francisco over the Internet, does Bernie & Phyl's Furniture really care that I'm listening? They don't go any farther west than Westboro - heck, Springfield is out of their market, let alone San Francisco!

    Basically, that's the problem - if an Internet simulcast gets a lot of listeners, it's often going to be because those listeners aren't in the market and therefore won't buy the stuff in the ads. The unions and record companies want stations to pay based on audience, the statons would rather pay for that part of the audience that they can actually sell to.

    They need to meet somewhere in the middle - but if our experience to date with the record lables is any indicator, that won't happen.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • Just a few moments before getting far enough down the thread to read your post I sent the following email to AFTRA (and was looking for a good post nearer the top than the bottom to attach it to :-) ).

    There seems to be some confusion as to exactly why radio stations are discontinuing their internet "simulcasts". Does AFTRA represent announcers, i.e., DJs, and is it asking the stations for more money for them, or is it asking for more money for the voice talent used in producing advertising, which is usually recorded and then sent to advertising agencies who then send dubs to the stations they buy time from. Why shouldn't the advertising agencies (who control who is or isn't hired to be in a particular ad) be the ones to pay the actors more instead of the radio stations who have no control over the creation of the ad. Do radio stations who simulcast on the internet get to charge the clients who are buying the air time more for the time than if they don't simulcast? Does the guy running the car lot in Hartford or Phoenix really feel that getting "airplay" for his commercial on somebody's computer in Tallahassee or Des Moines is worth paying extra for? Thank you in advance for a prompt, informative reply.

    Perhaps businesses in Des Moines might still benefit from your hearing of their ads (you might buy something from them when you go back to visit, etc.), but for the most part I can't see where there's any great value added for local businesses when their ad is heard in some other media market far, far away. Perhaps I'm wrong, I last worked in broadcasting a couple or three years before commercial radio via the internet amounted to anything, but I can just hear the local merchants saying "I'm paying extra for what?"

  • What you really need is a way to tell which internet listener is located where geographically and tailor the spot break content accordingly. (I can hear your IT people groaning now.) Sort of the radio version of the televised baseball games where one or more of the signs along the outfield wall gets different ads digitally imposed depending on which city the broadcast is being viewed in.

    If I remember correctly they only run the Arbs in big enough markets and smaller ones get their ratings from another outtfit whose name doesn't spring to mind at the moment. MediaStat or some such.

  • Amen, brother. I spent a lot of years making the proverbial "$50 a week and all the records you can eat".

    As far as major market salaries are concerned, it may have changed now, but about 20 years ago I saw a survey in one of the trade mags and except for a few big names (Imus, Kid Leo, like that) even the major market talent wasn't hauling down very big bucks relative to cost of living and salaries in other lines of work in whichever market they worked in.

  • As Paradise_Pete pointed out in comment #261 the contraction was of "it has", not "it is", however the sic (Latin for "thus", as in "Thus did I find this written, so don't blame me for accurately quoting someone else's mistake.") should have immediately followed, in parentheses, the alleged mistake and not have been placed at the end of the sentence leaving the reader unclear as to exactly to what it refers.

    As far as that monkey is concerned, it is Dave's or Microsoft's. Either way, be sure to clean up after it. And the chicken, too.

    As far as using the letter s at the end of a word to form the plural, to create the possessive, and for contractions involving "is" or "has", the responsible parties should have been ashamed at creating such a linguistic and typographic minefield.

  • I hope you aren't laboring under the misapprehension that any of those elements you cite, or even the combination of them, are something that Stern was the first, or even one of the first, to do.
  • Conclusive evidence that the moderation system is totally hosed is that the above has been up for almost half a day without being modded up as informative, interesting, or insightful.
  • When record companies pay radio stations to play their records it's called payola. It's not legal.
  • C'mon now. Radio DJs don't make the kind of money that lets them indulge in all the latest fads like scooters. They borrowed it from a rich relative when their old Pinto or Vega broke down (again).
  • Oh stick it up your ass you self-important fuckhead. You so called 'radio professionals' are so caught up in your industry's self-manufactured little world that you have totally lost contact with the real world.

    Doesn't really matter where you live, radio sucks. The best is when a new station comes in, and plays a bunch of stuff you've never heard.

    But then, after a couple months, you realize that it's the same-old-same-old - the same rotation of the same fucking 100 songs getting the shit played out of them until you puke in disgust.

    If I hear "What if..." or that same damned song from Godsmack again I'm going to be sick. Great songs, the first 10 - 20 times you hear them, but give me a break.

    Fucking play something new, play something unknown, play some other song off the same album as a chartbuster. Don't play that shitty song "Mother" from Danzig, play some of the scary shit off the same album.

    Give us some depth of perception. Get out of your weenie world. Don't give me the pathetic excuse "We only play things that have been released as a single..." Bullshit, Stairway to Heaven was NEVER released as a single. With your bullshit clonish corporate attitude, that beautiful song would have never been heard by millions. Play the GOOD music, play the REAL music, not this pre-packaged pap that gets puked out by the music marketing companies.

    Have some balls. Have some spirit. Give your radio station some style, rather than just another sad format station. Give your DJs autonomy -> "You have to play these 15 songs today, but there are 10 other slots that you get to pick". This depends on a bit of intelligence from the DJ, the DJ'd better not play some Brittney Felcher crap on a metal station, but what's wrong with the DJ saying "Hey, I heard this great song over at my friends and thought you people might like checking it out..."

    Instead, you fuckers give us the sameold sameold sam eold sam eolds ameoldsa meolds ameoldsam eold sameolds ameo ldsameo ldsameol dsameol dsam eoldsameol dsame oldsa meoldsam eoldsa meoldsa meoldsame olds ameold - Ack! FuckingStopAlready! and think you know all about it.

    No - you just know how to play the bullshit musicopolitical game.

    You're not important, in fact, you suck.

  • And you still haven't learned about the real world... How sad.
  • by hatless ( 8275 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @05:43AM (#294444)
    Given the rate at which people in the tech sector are being laid off and pay rates are leveling off and even starting to decline, I would have thought the brand of thuggish, anti-union conservatism so popular among geeks the past few years would be on the wane. (How exactly is it "libertarian" to argue that government should assist companies in blocking people from engaging in collective bargaining?)

    When you guys get laid off without severance pay in a couple of months because your department's project is being moved to a subcontractor in Russia or India, let's see how anti-union you are. Right now, the only hot jobs are for J2EE programmers and senior sysadmins. Even those are likely to dry up at the rate things are going.

    Anyway, back to the AFTRA/media-company standoff:

    The broadcasters have had a good five years to negotiate terms for Internet rebroadcast with AFTRA. That's how long decent streaming has been around, so it's not as though this whole "internet" thing just blindsided everyone. When the broadcast companies decided to start collecting additional advertising fees for their Internet rebroadcasts, their lawyers were well aware of the terms of the AFTRA contracts that were in place.

    The New York Post is a right-wing tabloid; be aware of their bias and as with any publication, read it with the appropriate decoder ring. Clear Channel has a business unit that runs separate Internet-only "radio" stations. It's entirely possible that this cutoff has less to do with AFTRA than it does with their desire to "replace" Internet rebroadcasts of radio stations, and eventually those stations themselves, with their cheap-to-run Internet stations with their anonymous, interchangeable, and non-union deejays.
  • One type is, as you mention, those that listen from afar to their hometown radio. The other, which is possibly much bigger, is people listening to it at work within the coverage range of the station and would rather use their employer's expensive hardware and network infrastructure instead of buying a cheap FM radio.

  • For the record, the reason that you don't hear anything decent on the radio anymore is, for a large part, due to the fact that approximately 90% of radio stations are owned by three companies.

    I think radio right now is the best it's ever been.

    I'm no expert, but I have been a #1-rated DJ (in a small market) and a Music Director / Assistant Program Director, so I'm not without expertise.

    I recall a time when I could drive down I-10 or I-12 and hear nothing but Country stations, but now it's very rare for me to find a stretch of road where I can't pull in Classic Rock, Hip-Hop, even National Public Radio.

    News/talk is seeing a resurgence it hasn't had since FM was invented, and a lot of it is in the FM band.

    Those "three companies" are bringing economies of scale into the administration and advertising sales that results in a lot more money being available to pay the talent, upgrade the equipment, and license good programming.

    Radio sucks the least it's ever sucked. I suspect that you think this because one radio station you liked changed formats and nobody replaced it. That has always happened, even at tiny little mom-and-pop radio stations in the rural midwest.

  • The difference is that, 10 or 15 years ago, in larger markets, the DJs would occasionally play a local band JUST BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO.

    You really don't know much about the radio biz, do ya?

    10 or 15 years ago, I was Music Director and Assistant PD for two stations in Oklahoma, and spent most of my free time socializing with my buddies from other radio stations, including folks from much larger markets and one guy who was syndicated on the Star Network. They all said the same things you're complaining have "changed" since then.

    On just as many stations back then as now, you played what the Music Director said you played, or you went and looked for another job.

    The difference nowadays is that there are more radio stations, about the same number of total jobs for DJs (because although there are a lot more stations, there are a lot more that play syndicated programming, so it evens out), and the jobs pay a lot more.

    On one of the local stations, an alternative/college rock station, a DJ decided to play one of their songs and was promptly put on the vampire shift, for "playing music not in line with the station format and our corporate strategy."

    He'd have gotten that same speech from our General Manager in 1986, only he'd have been representing the strategy of a much smaller corporation. (I.E., owning one station instead of 1,000).

    Unfortunately, I simply cannot agree that replacing mom-and-pop radio stations with corporate affiliates is any better than replacing mom-and-pop stores with Wal-Marts.

    But what we're talking about is replacing one mom-and-pop radio station with five corporate affiliates. That's the situation on your dial these days, overall.

    Oh, I'm sure there will be half a dozen posts now from people who live in specific areas where things suck, but there are always half a dozen counter examples to anything.

    However, opinions vary, and you are welcome to yours.

    Mine is based on having done the job for years, and having kept my nose in it since then.

  • Whatever resurgence there is right now in talk radio, it is all (and I do mean ALL) owed, for better or worse, to Howard Stern.

    I don't disagree with that, in the FM band.

    However, that doesn't mean that the rest of their broadcast day is necessarily filled with crap.

    And the AM band is better than ever, too. Like I said, nowadays you can't sling a dead cat without hitting an NPR station, and nearly as easy to find classical.

  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @04:44AM (#294452)
    The issue is that the 4A wants them to pay triple for the ads. Remember the commercial actor strike? They were complaining that they weren't getting paid when their ads show up on the internet.

    No one is demanding that DJs be paid more...
  • by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @04:59AM (#294453) Homepage
    See this CNET article [cnet.com] for a better description of the problem.

    Actors in radio commercials get paid more if the commercials are also broadcast on the Internet. The advertisers do not want to pay the additional fees if they never asked to have their commercials simulcast on the Internet. The radio stations could pay the difference in fees to the actors or delete the commercials from the Internet feed.

  • It seems that whenever there's a cool technology that benefits consumers, some greedy dickhead(s) has to come in and tear it down.
    Net radio is pretty nifty, I mean how else could I listen to another station hundreds of miles away, that might have a different format or wider variety of music than any of the stations in my area.[1]
    Not to mention, net radio is nice for cubicle-dwellers stuck inside, where bandwidth is available, but radio signals are weak.

    The radio stations are already paying a license fee so they can broadcast, why should they have to pay another one just because a transmission media has been added?

    Greed sucks.

    [1] IMO, Denver radio bites. KBPI has a couple good DJs, but the playlists are too repetitive.
    KTCL used to be pretty good, 'till they sold out, and KXPK has that annoying ex-MTV chick. Ugh.
    The only station I remember as being really good was 92X (KNRX, I think) but they only lasted a couple years.

    C-X C-S
    Dinosaurs will die.
  • by Silver A ( 13776 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @07:51AM (#294461)
    Most companies get the unions they deserve, and all unions get the management they deserve.

    In the construction industry in California, the unions provide training for new workers, and generally only make noise over pay scales. Union construction companies in return don't generally pull lots of arbitrary and heavy-handed shit on their employees.

    Stories I've heard from people working for PacBell or AT&T indicate that the unions fight hard to keep incompetent workers, people who show up stoned, and otherwise make a general nuisance of themselves. In return, the companies will fire people for minor infractions that wouldn't even rate being reprimanded in a sane work environment. Then the union files a grievance, and the employee gets reinstated, without back pay for the day missed.

    Teachers unions are notorious for fighting against any form of accountability for their members, for demanding more money every time any budget at the school gets increased, even the maintenance budget, and for opposing any kind of change in the way that schools are run. In return, school managements play nasty political BS games with the teachers, over rooms and scheduling, and have kept teachers poorly paid, which is directly related to the lack of accountability the unions cherish.

  • Aside from gathering otehrwise useless liteners (those who can't buy the stuff advertised)...

    Why should people be paid more for doing the same job, but more efficiently (the DJs are doing the same shows, just getting pushed to more ears)? If I get a better PC and it crunches my data faster, but I do no more work, I still get paid the same.

    FWIW, NPR is still on the net.

  • you'd better make sure it's an original tune. And don't even think of any lyrics, or Harry Fox himself will come, unbidden, into your mind - ala Freddy Kruger - to force you to write him a check.

    I would put a smiley on this post, but the possibility of these things coming true is so close as to be more frightening than any horror movie.

    *** Da Da Da Dum, De De De Dum *** -- at least this is in the public domain.

  • So my options of getting "legit" music reduce down to: listen to the "alternative" tenny bopper pop station, listen to the Steely Dan station, listen to the Metallica station, listen to the Kool & the Gang station, pay $18 for a CD, pay $6 for a cd-single.

    I think I'll hum quietly to myself.
  • by nabucco ( 24057 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @09:23AM (#294469)
    All this anti-union talk is pretty much standard fare among what I hear here and among my IT co-workers all day. To address the comments:

    Unions raise salaries - this will kill the company! - well, if you are so concerned about the companies survival due to high wages, then take a pay cut as that will give the company a few thousand dollars more as part of the bottom line. I don't understand this really, if the company I work for can not pay me market rate for what I'm worth, I move to a different company. If you fellows have some kind of protective feeling for the legal construct that is your corporation...good for you...I can assure that your CEO, who will bail out with a golden parachute when the going gets rough, does not. I guess you folks are the same ones that sign up for those dot-bombs who ask people to work for free, like APBnews and Wolfe New Media did.

    I also find funny the resentment of the union workers in the machine rooms, electricians or whatnot. These people get a lot of IT people's scorn more than anyone. You can't get a cable pulled after 5PM! How lazy! To me it seems they're smarter than most of these IT people, who work 60+ hours a week, and rotating on-call, weekend, and early morning shifts which are tacked on to their regular M-F 9-5 weeks. In stead of a guaranteed 1 1/2 times work pay in their check in two weeks they get the promise of a discretionary bonus at the end of the year, which most people are usually disappointed in. They also get carrots waived in front of them, like a promise of advancement, although there are 20 people vying for one position, so it's obvious there are 19 unhappy people.

    As far as this, "I'll go by my skills, not by some union thing" nonsense - this is crazy. I bet dollars to doughnuts that almost everyone posting this are guys in their twenties without a wife OR girlfriend. That's who I usually here this from in real life. Since they are not spending time enjoying the company of the opposite sex, they spend almost 24/7 doing tech stuff, usually for their company.

    Getting skills takes time. Despite a more advanced position, I still spend a lot of time performing menial tasks that "need to be done" and putting out fires in stead of sitting down and architecting a great infrastructure. I probably spend 55 hours a week doing useless stuff (which includes working with propietary systems), and maybe 5 hours a week doing stuff that is advancing my skill levels for my next job. Even with those 60 hours, many people at my company work more hours, so I am behind them at my company, I am further down the pecking chain. Now to further my skill set, I havfe to spend my own time boosting my skill set, lets say an additional 10 hours a week. That's 70 hours a week working - now try to fit in things like sleep, commuting, chores (washing clothes, cleaning), going to the gym since you sit behind a desk all day, and spending time with friends and a significant other. The bottom line is you can't, something will have to get cut, and it's definitely not going to be anything out of the thing that is taking up the biggest chunk, that 60 hour workweek.
  • This is why Napster and other similar programs are going to prove to be unstoppable regardless of DMCA and other litigious attempts.

    This is why I now listen to foreign radio at work.

    Feel free to chime in with yours...

    Code commentary is like sex.
    If it's good, it's VERY good.

  • For shame, young man. Quality, Comfort, and Price know no boundaries.
  • When you guys get laid off without severance pay in a couple of months because your department's project is being moved to a subcontractor in Russia or India, let's see how anti-union you are.

    I'm not afraid of that situation. While I'm not denying that happens, Fortune 500 companies in the USA do not work that way. Business deals are made at golf courses and fancy dinners. It's a giant old-boys network. Why do you think so many CEOs are white males? Same with presidents. The USA is a still a white male dominated country. The reason most hi-tech *stays* in the USA is because large consulting companies keep it here. The Indian programmers can't play golf to save their life and that's why I still have a job. In fact, my client is going to be hiring very soon for my project. Out of all my friends, I've never known a single one to lose a hi-tech job to work outsourced to a foreign country. Chapter 11 sure, but that's it. Please take your unions and shove them, I am not a commodity and I'm willing to play the game based on how good my skills are, not my "seniority".

  • If you want to call up SAG and voice your concern about their greediness, have a look here [sag.com].


  • Have a look here [wgnradio.com]. SAG is involved in this.

  • Oh, and it is about advertising rates, but what really pisses me off, and you can see that at www.poliglut.org [poliglut.org], is that SAG/AFTRA is trying to get money for distribution of commercials that radio stations are not charging more for. WGN radio would have a helluva time trying to get Old Style (obscure Wisconsin/Chicago beer) to pay for one of their commercials streamed to Thailand.

    SAG/AFTRA are trying to get money from a revenue source that does not exist, and therefore shutting down a free service.

    Oh, and yeah, I don't believe in residual payments to actors. That is, I think SAG/AFTRA is wrong to insist upon such a ridiculous payment scheme. But anyway, go to the link above if you are interested in more debate...

  • So couldn't the radio stations stop streaming the commercials on-line while continuing to stream the content? They could set it up to stream PSAs and/or station promos instead.

    Or am I missing something here?
  • by akb ( 39826 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @05:05AM (#294483)
    As one involved with a noncommercial streaming project motivated by the desire to disseminate points of view that don't make it in the commercial media I have to say this is good news. That capitalism's "warring brothers" shackle themselves in this new medium with licensing agreements and industry consortia that get a percentage demonstrates the value to society of information that is licensed for use by civil society (ie GPL, Open Content) or in the public domain.

    So if the RIAA wants to get all its slaves ... umm artist's songs off of Napster, I say let them cut their own throat, the independent music industry will flourish. If Clearchannel [clearchannel.com] (which controls 25% of the nation's radio advertising revenue thus can control the airwaves [indymedia.org]) can't webcast their thousands of carbon copy RIAA bitch radio stations, I say great, this is an opening for independents and noncommercials to take advantage of.

    This is of course only a temporary window of opportunity. No one believes that Clearchannel will not be able to get on the web. Ultimately this will probably speed consolidation in the radio industry, as the big players like Clearchannel will be able to leverage deals that small independently owned stations can't.
  • UGH, station has been going down hill for years.

    It hasn't been the same since Opie and Anthony were canned, if you ask me. Those guys were the life of the station.

    The DJs are still better than WBCN, though.


  • well.. should I ever feel the need to go on strike, I'll loose payment for that time, if not my job.. I'd love to have a union. a union allows workers to stand up to large companies, and is essential to the proper operating of any industry, who'd otherwise just screw their workers under the guise of either efficiency or profit.

  • Getting laid off without due notice / pay is illegal. Unions don't change that.

    Forcing large tech firms to keep on staff we all know they couldn't afford to hire in the first place will be the final nail in the coffin of good E-business.
  • Its also hard when you've always been an employee to understand being the employer looking at a loss of several million, or several hundred million dollars. Its even harder when you're the employer and you're publically traded and for no good reason, your shareholders could decide to tear your company to shreds. Public companies (which many current tech companies are) are run by shareholders in the end -- the shares go up or down based on the decisions made, and if the shareholders want people laid off, guess who gets laid off.
  • I never realized how much unions were like the mob's protection schemes.

    Have you lived under a rock most of your life? In many cases Unions are mob protection schemes. In recent years the unions have improved their image a little bit, but it wasn't all that long ago that the teamsters union was run by the Mafia.

  • Is it just me or are the DJ's getting entirely too annoying recently? They don't seem to add anything at all to the content of a typical Rock music station. The morning programs are the worst of all, getting downright disgusting.

    So maybe this will make a few radio stations get rid of the DJ's alltogether. I'd rather listen to commercials than some of their blathering. If I'm tuned into a 'music' station, I expect to at least occasionally hear MUSIC during the hours between 6am and 10am.

    So, anyway, I'd like to see the union get taken down a notch for this. After all, it's the number of people listening to the commercials that pays their salaries. Getting more people listening over the internet should be a money-making proposition.

    After all, it's a lot harder to switch stream channels than changing radio stations, more people listen to the ads on a stream than listen to them on a broadcast station. The whole ergonomic design of a car has gone to making it absurdly easy to play with the radio, but no one has yet come out with a peripheral that changes the stream channel for you.
  • Good point. There is some really good talent out there. I'll admit that I'm probably more spoiled than most, I grew up in a market that had some of the best radio talent anywhere. Good 'ol KGGO out of Des Moines. Jack Emerson is _the_ best DJ alive, best voice, eloquent, smart, funny, just what you want... They even had a good mix of music, good rock, any era.

    Too bad that lately they were taken over and now the're just another oldies station... Very sad.

    But the point is that when I moved to my current radio market, I was very spoiled by KGGO at their best (except for the morning show, they brought on a comedian and the dynamic fell apart) Then I get here to KC and every single show has too much talk and _awful_ station promos. Try listening to the same 5 2 second song clips between every song for hours on end.. Grrr..

    Thank goodness for Napster, I don't have to put up with that anymore. I just need a player in my car and I'll be set. Nice to see that radio is annoying itself out of existence just as a better way to distribute music has come along.
  • Ah - the classic way to karma whore on Slashdot. Find a problem and find a way to blame a corporation for it. Never mind that it doesn't make any sense, the children that frequent this site will mod it up anyway.

    For a radio station, broadcasting on the internet means they reach a wider audience. It's no different, conceptually, than if they got a more powerful transmitter and reached more people (admittedly with a different geographic distribution). It is perfectly fair for the artists to want more money - assuming their contracts are structured so that they get paid more for their ads going to a wider audience. Blame the ad agencies if they are not doing that because it's their fault, not the radio stations. Radio stations get paid for the advertising - they don't pay for it.

    The article you pointed to on Salon is egregiously naive. Radio stations have two sources of revenue: Advertising and record companies paying to broadcast their music. Advertising is constrained by the kind of listener audience they are able to command. The better stuff they play, the more listeners and hence more advertising revenue. Obviously, not everyone shares your opinion that radio sucks or there wouldn't be people listening to it and therefore no advertising.
  • Oh yeah. That's what I'd like to see. We should make laws that tell people what they should or should not play on their radio stations beyond what is obscene or defamatory.

    Are you being facetious or are you just naturally stupid?
  • With a few corporations owning majority control over the major-market radio stations in the US, they're all the same anyway. I can't tell the difference between a "classic rock" station in Boston, Chicago, or anywhere else.

    Public radio and noncommercial radio are not affected; some of my favorites on the web:

    WZBC-FM Boston College Radio [zbconline.com]
    WNYC-AM National Public Radio [wnyc.org] - Windows Media Player, sorry.

  • Oh well! There goes the ethernet enabled IM (I think Clear Channel coined IM to mean internet modulation which means streams). Anyone remember Kerbango and a few others of those radios with built in modems for streaming audio?? Looks like they are useless rocks now, unless they can pick up Internet Only streams like Wolf FM.
  • by Sc00ter ( 99550 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @04:31AM (#294522) Homepage
    The problem is this. Radio stations pay for rights to play music based on their market size. They also charge for advertising based on that. When they're just in one city the market is limited but now that they're on the internet they can almost get to the entire world. So they can charge more for advertising (I know most don't at this point, but they could if they wanted to).

    The other nice thing about internet radio is that you could keep track of exactly how many people are listening and if you have a small form to fill out you could get some nice demographic information and then sell nice targeting advertising at very nice prices.

    Now, with all this (potential) extra income, and the fact that the radio station pays the artist/record company based on the size of their listening audience. Doesn't this just make logical sense that they should pay more? (based on the exsisting way they pay)

    And before you start saying "Well this is the internet, it's different". People that use Napster sometimes say say that you can trade music in real life, why should it be different over the internet... You can't have it both ways.


  • As someone who has been in the radio game for over 20 years I see this as a good thing. Not because it protects the fat cat idiots that controll the medium, but because it keeps them out of the streaming game. With the advent of streaming, the last thing we would want is this old media controlling a new one. Good. Get them out of streaming. That way the true innovators of the medium can create truly compelling content. We don't need the large broadcast companies turning streaming into another mindless, banal medium like radio has become.
  • The question is who is the "them" in your statement. Radio stations sure as hell do not pay for the advertisements they broadcast, the ad agencies do not pay for them, and the actors do not pay for them. The business that wants to advertise itself pays for the ads. 4A wants more and the actors want more (strangely the radio stations do not seem to be charging more for ad space on internet broadcasts); they should be talking to their clients not the radio station.

    Or am I missing something here?

  • the whole union thing is a reaction against the inhumane excesses of Corporations against working people. Every stupid "union rule" you see today is in place because in the pre-union past, companies abused their power. The next time you wonder why something can't get done after 5 pm, remember that years ago companies would force workers to toil 16+ hours a day with no extra compensation or get fired.

    Of course, unions today are nearly as bad as the Evil Corporations, but at least they hate each other and strike a sort of balance.

    Corporations are out only to improve their bottom line, and that means perpetrating any and every abuse possible. Our economic and legal system makes this so (shareholder lawsuits and just plain greed). The union system we have today is a DIRECT consequence of that behavior.

  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @07:07AM (#294529)
    Okay, first off, DJ's make shit, so 300% more gets them up to what? $15 bucks and hour? Gimm'e a break, with the exception of a few heavy hitting on air personalities, no one makes huge cash.

    Salon.com did an article on the radio biz, and to be honested, it made microsoft seem nice compared to clear channel.

    Basically salon said this:
    Top 40 stations in major markets get about 100K annually in marketing co-op (read money to play songs). The people who do the co-op with the station collect from the studio. The studio passes the cost of this co-op to the artist. This is basically how someone who sells 1M CD's ends up will a bill from the label when it's all said and done. Clear channel has bought the middle man out, and basically running a fine line between creative marketing, and outright extortion.

    They COULD say "We own 90% of the top 40 stations in the US, if you want your song added to the play list you'll incure 'marketing costs' of 5K per song/per station."

    So, sorry to break someones bubble, but in my opinion Clear Channel is part of the problem, not the solution.
  • Unions haven't driven out manufacturing; taxes and employer greed have. Did you ever notice that the price of goods remains the same for those companies that have moved their plants to places like Mexico? But people keep paying it. Merit pay only works if you have an honest employer. People who bitch about unions are pissed off because they have no job security and are too afraid to speak up when they are upset with their employer. You either have to take a load of crap and get shafted or walk out the door. Yes, there is corruption in unions, but that's just like anything else. Why the hell shouldn't the workers be able to get what they deserve? People complain about how union laborers continue to benefit despite mediocrity and/or laziness. What about those hard workers who get thrown away like they were nothing after 20 or 30 years of dedicated service? You think it's that easy to pick up and move on, especially at age 50 or older? Why not actually get out there and talk to blue-collar laborers and see how easy it is. I don't know about the rest of you, but I sure as hell wouldn't want to fly in a plane with a pilot who's unhappy because he's not being fairly compensated. You think going on strike is an easy power play? Fortunately, my dad's union never had to make the decision to strike, but the threat and fear is real for the whole family. Union funds only go so far and most people don't have enough savings to last any significant amount of time. Frankly, I'm tired of getting into these arguments. People like you are ignorant as hell and are too cheap to pay an honest price for honest services rendered.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @09:49AM (#294532) Homepage
    SAG is the Screen Actors' Guild. They have nothing to do with this. Radio and TV talent is under AFTRA. SAG and AFTRA have an agreement between them that's useful if you're a performer who appears in both TV and movies, but SAG has no radio involvement.

    Besides, this dispute really seems to be about advertising rates.

  • Nothing's preventing the "little guy" from having a web-streaming radio station

    If they don't pay the ascap fees then they are doing it it illegally in the first place and then they can be procescuted and stopped. I guess the little guy will have to be a talk station or sing their own copyrighted music. There is no way to follow all the rules they have put in place if you use music with any kind of copyright on it.

  • There are times that unions are greedy. It's not greed for money, but for control. I have seen the Boston Teachers Union do some things that were not in the interest in employees, but in power. They were trying to sanction a teacher for claiming that all teachers in a school were not being treated equally (in a discrimination complaint) and were trying to hold a star chamber proceedure against this teacher. I told the building rep, that the contract sucked, her first response was, "you don't know what you are talking about." She didn't realize that I had read the contract. But, the Boston teachers had one of the best pay and benefit packages in the country.

    This same issue with web publishing of newspapers and magazines is going to the Supreme Court. I think that 300% is a bit high, but if you are rebroadcasting a show, is there not due some additional compensation. Most of the SAG and AFTRA members are not paid large sums of money.

  • The goal of a union also is to protect their members. That is why the have the NLRB. The unions handle some disputes, not jsut over money, but working conditions, and general employment disputes.
  • I recently moved back to Dallas after 8 years from Austin, and that's not quite correct. I remember the Edge from when I was in high school here, and here's where the various stations have shifted to on the dial: Q102 is dead and gone from what I can tell, although similar music plays on 92.5 still. For more metallish/hard rock stuff, if that's what you want, there's 97.1. Mostly crap 80s hard rock there, though, with some of the most annoying DJs on the radio here, other than the 93.3 ones. The Edge moved to Q102's old slot, 102.1. For the most part, they play about the same type of stuff they've played since a year after the station started (no old post-punk or other interesting stuff, more current "hard alternative" music for the most part). At 94.5, where the Edge used to be, there's an oldies R&B station, which was an odd but interesting change of pace when I moved back. Hope that helps.
  • Actually, there ARE laws in place to prevent record companies from directly paying radio stations to play the songs the record companies want played. They were enacted in the late '50s or early '60s, and are generally referred to as payola laws, after the payola scandal of the '50s. Since the radio industry deregulation, folks have found a way through this by going through "independent promoters" that pay radio stations a certain amunt of money in exchange for the ability to choose a certain chunk of their playlist. These independent promoters then turn around and charge the record companies to make sure their songs are added to the playlist. If you read the Salon article listed above, most of the info is in there.
  • No, actually, the reason I think that radio sucks is because radio currently does, in fact, suck.

    And, to be fair, for the most part, it's always been hard to hear anything decent on the radio. The difference is that, 10 or 15 years ago, in larger markets, the DJs would occasionally play a local band JUST BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO. Not because their corporation wanted to be the first to break a new band on radio, not because the "band was situated to enter the market," but because the DJ like the way the band sounded, and thought the listeners might, too. A good example of this was a local band from Austin called the Asylum Street Spankers. Fun band, does modern riffs off of old-style music, lots of swing, old-style country stuff with titles like "I Was Flannel When Flannel Wasn't Cool" slamming Johnny-come-latelys in various scenes and "Beer" explaining the singers preference of beer over any other drug. Generally fun stuff, well liked by the college crowd in the market. On one of the local stations, an alternative/college rock station, a DJ decided to play one of their songs and was promptly put on the vampire shift, for "playing music not in line with the station format and our corporate strategy." Now, don't misunderstand me, I know that that type of crap happened before the corporations got involved, but it was less frequent. You know why? Because, in order for that DJ to get that song played, he would have had to talk to one person, who could have simply given him a "Yes" or "No" answer, rather than putting in a request to four different departments, clearing it with legal, etc. Ultimately, the reason that radio stations suck these days is that their programming decisions are made less and less by people who love music, and more and more by beancounters and lawyers.

    However, opinions vary, and you are welcome to yours. Thank you for some intersting comments on the current state of the music industry. Unfortunately, I simply cannot agree that replacing mom-and-pop radio stations with corporate affiliates is any better than replacing mom-and-pop stores with Wal-Marts. Ultimately, you reach a point where no matter what store you go to, they're all Wal-Marts or Targets or K-Marts, and you have to buy the same crap.
  • by Bitter Cup O Joe ( 146008 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @04:42AM (#294550)
    You'll note that AFTRA did not start requiring this until AFTER the American Association of Advertising Agencies started requiring its members to pay additional for their ads being simulcast on the internet. Ultimately, the radio stations are to blame for what's happened to them, due to their own greed. However, as Clear Channel and its ilk are wont to do, they'll pass the screwing on to you! "Damn AFTRA for saying that if you get paid twice for an artist's work that the artist should get paid twice as well. It's all the artists that are making us shut off your internet broadcast, not the radio stations trying to get something for nothing, rather than pay the artists their cut."

    Fucking radio corporations. For the record, the reason that you don't hear anything decent on the radio anymore is, for a large part, due to the fact that approximately 90% of radio stations are owned by three companies. For an excellent article on the subjct of why radio currently sucks, check out Pay for Play [salon.com] on Salon [salon.com].
  • >The implicit goal of labor unions is to raise the price of labor (for the benefit of their members).

    And, like any consumer, the goal of the company is to lower the price of labour. When you walk into a store to buy something, do you never wish the price of it was lower? If you had even a modicum of control over the price, would you not change it to benefit yourself?

    That's partly why unions exist: To balance this out.

    When you lower the value of a commodity, the commodity isn't necessarialy harmed. But people aren't a commodity. When you lower their value you harm them directly. And harming people is wrong. Therefore unions ensure people get their value in wages.

    I know, I've seen the difference in wages between union and non-union shops. I've seen people get $14 an hour to install network cards under a union, and people without a union get $12 an hour to administrate 30,000 users!

    Now, there are cases where the unions overstep their boundaries. But, unfortunately, that's the price we all have to pay because the world wouldn't run without corporate slaves.

    The difference between unions and OPEC is that you can always shut down your old company and open up a non-unionized one, but you can't start putting soybean oil into your unleaded car without problems.

    Not only that, but most companies don't start out with a union (unless the manager wants it that way). They have a union thrust upon them because they got enough workers so angry that they felt they needed one. When I bought a car, I never got a choice of what fuel I can put in it, I had to use OPEC sanctioned fuel (unless you expect the gas jockey to know where the fuel they're pumping came from).
  • WBER is a community radio station in Rochester, NY. Except for it's station manager, and programming director, all of the DJ's are 100% volunteer. As with most forms of math, 2 * 0 = 0.

    Though I will say that WBER kicks ass, and is one of the reasons I'm staying in Rochester.

    -Paul Mischler -Secretary, RIT Student Music Association -http://music.rit.edu/

  • I have heard similar shenanigans on KROQ in Los Angeles. I thought I was losing my mind at first. Doubleplusgood duckspeaking station!

  • If you have any kind of ad revenue coming in at all, the ascap fees are not really all that unmanagable.

    I used to work as a wedding DJ when I was younger. In the early 90's, ascap started clamping down on mobile DJ companies, insisting that license fees needed to be paid for public "performances" of their music (even though the were playing at private parties).

    The DJ company I woked for just paid the fees, raised their price a little, and life went on pretty much the same as it always had. (Although we felt more free to burn our own mix CD's, because we were paying a per-song fee anyway. Before all the license issues were sorted out we were careful about using original paid-for disks only.)

    If you are running a serious business, the ascap fees will be one of your smallest expenses.

    In any case, paying fees on music is certainly less expensive than hiring live on-air talent to run a talk station.

  • The thing to do is this: Take reasonable steps to be compliant. If you find out that you are not paying somebody who is entitled to licensing (and can prove it to your satisfaction), settle it up with them right away. License holders are generally more interested in getting paid than in legal fights.

    Should you get dragged into court, you can avoid a lot of penalties by being able to show that you made a serious effort in good faith to comply with all licensing requirements.

    So the message here is: don't go into business expecting a tiny ammount of ad revenue to be enough. Make sure that your business model and starting revenue is robust enough to absorb unexpected costs.

    License costs are not that bad compared to the total cost of doing business, so if they are the straw that breaks the camel's back, you probably did not have a very sound business model to begin with.

    If you are just running a hobby site, and hope to reduce your costs by selling ads, remember that selling ads, even at a loss, is comercially exploiting your content, so you had better make damned sure the content is yours to exploit.

    A better choice for reducing the cost of a hobby site would be to rely on donations, or perhaps share ownership of the site with a few of your more supportive visitors.

  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @06:49AM (#294564)
    A lack of unions would mean long shifts and minimum wage for auto workers? What are you basing that claim on? Because that's how auto workers were treated in 1930? Have you stopped to consider that our current ecomony does not really resemble that time in history very much? That maybe you would have a hard time getting good people to work in an auto plant for minimum wage, when the local Starbucks is paying $10.50 an hour for much easier work?

    The scenario you are reciting is a total myth. Every time somebody points out that unions are redundant, corrupt, and bad for everybody who is not a union boss (and they are), somebody drags out the old saw of "well, you would be working like a slave for change found in the couch if it wasn't for the union", which is total BS.

    I'm not in a union, and I make great money. Everybody I know who is in a union is only in it because joining was a requirement of the job. Unions are nothing but a mob racket these days, and anybody who doesn't see that must be blinded by their hate of industry and capitalism, because it should be obvious to anybody who looks at it objectively.

  • Okay, radio has sucked since about 1972. Before that there were still free-form independent FM stations in many cities. After that, everything went to formula, with even independent stations buying playlists from national services. It simply made more money, which allowed the price of stations to be bid up, which means there's now no economic choice besides these formula mills except ... noncommerical radio. The best DJs work for free. And what does a college radio station pay when it plays stuff? (I really don't know, but I know their budgets are zilch.)

    The whole Seattle music scene a decade ago happened because there were two good college stations, KAOS in Olympia and KCMU in Seattle, along with OP magazine out of Olympia and Bruce Pavitt's Sub Pop tape compilations - it was a very small circle of people, which also included Stephen Rabow who went from KAOS to being the only (and probably the last) free form DJ on a couple of commercial Seattle stations. Kim Thayil moved to the NW because he read in OP about what a cool station KAOS was - there was nothing like that in Chicago then. Soundgarden, Nirvana et al. happened only because this was enough to make a scene - that and that rent used to be cheap out that way.

    So there's really only one Classic Rock, one Urban Contemporary, one Country, one Hip Hop station in the country anyhow - all the same centralized playlists, the DJs don't do shit, they aren't allowed to. Internet broadcast for them is redundant, and the DJs might as well be paid more for it. But for the free form college and community stations, well, those really can matter. So if this means that the commercial shit declines in this sector of the Net, good! And if this leaves the door open for noncommercial Net broadcasts, this could be very good indeed.

  • Seems to me that it's the stations that are killing the feeds because they don't want to pay up according to agreements they accepted. That's what happens when you sign a contract, you have to abide by it.
  • 1. Radio stations derive revenue based on the number of listeners that they can bring to advertisors.

    2. Internet simulcasting and rebroadcasting allows a radio station to reach many more people, many of whom might live outside of their normal broadcasting radius, and who would not be reachable over the airwaves.

    3. Therefore it's not totally unreasonable to ask for more money if you're a DJ. The radio station management is certainly going to ask for more money from the advertisors; why shouldn't DJs see some of that money?

    It's an inconvenience for now for those of you in the listening audience, but it's a real issue and one that I think the on-air personalities have a strong case for.

    This isn't a situation analogous to the RIAA/MPAA vs. the people; the public *isn't* being gouged for the cost of listening to radio.

    It's more like the usual RIAA rips off artists so that the publisher and distributor can get fat off of the artist's vision and hard work.

  • No. "Big Media" as you call it is not dictating what we can or cannot hear. They are simply refusing to speak to us over the internet because they have a contractual obligation to some union members which they don't feel is financially worthwhile. That is, the added expense is not equal to the marginal revenue from internet broadcasting. I have serious doubts that webcasts produce ANY revenues for regular broadcast stations. First they have to pay for some pretty good servers and bandwidth and software, then they have to find enough ears so that they can pitch this as a value to advertisers. Either they can make a revenues selling webcast-only ads targeted to the demographic of internet listeners (which I think would be a stretch, low quantity-- a problem exacerbated by the likely geographic displacement) or they can simply increase their usual ad rates saying that they are adding value by including webcast as part of the package (I'd say this is a hard sell and most advertisers would ask for some good analysis before they let this slide).

    Now, as to what I can and cannot hear... "Big Media" has almost never given me something I wanted to hear, especially not over the radio. If this means I can't stream Britney Spears and Creedence Clearwater to my work-station at work, big deal. This is such a non-event. I mean, Clear Channel? I think we should be thankful they aren't polluting the net with their "music" anymore.
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @09:31AM (#294588) Journal
    Maybe it's because union labor == bad service? Think public transit, airlines, telcos, public schools, etc.

    These days far more people are unwitting and angry consumers of unionized labor than unionized themselves. Certainly that's true in the tech sector. So perhaps that's where the hostility comes from.

  • by sulli ( 195030 ) on Friday April 13, 2001 @09:42AM (#294589) Journal
    I also find funny the resentment of the union workers in the machine rooms, electricians or whatnot. These people get a lot of IT people's scorn more than anyone. You can't get a cable pulled after 5PM! How lazy!

    I find funny the willingness of pro-unionists to defend this sort of ossified, antiquated, anti-consumer work rule that makes unionized companies slower, less responsive, and less likely to succeed.

    Why doesn't the labor movement focus on higher skills and quality work as the benefit of union workers, and not so much on preserving antiquated practices that no rational businessperson would agree to today? After all, we (the consumers should get what we pay for.

  • Although I don't visit Minneapolis a lot - only 6/7 times a year, I have visited some of the restaurants and bars advertised on the station.

    I may be the exception, but whenever I'm going to travel somewhere, I like to hear what the road conditions are like (might rent a truck instead of a car if there's tonnes of construction), what the political climate is like (is there a municipal election?), or if they are having things like flooding problems.

    I also gain an additional familiarity with the area if I listen to "Jim & Bob" talking each day about how some highway is always backed up at or around the time I might be arriving at my destination...

    Yeah, I don't think that numbers of listeners over the internet is a good indication of compensation, but it is for the first time, an almost perfect count of number of listeners... A station could certainly use this to gauge what shows were popular or not.

    Oh well, as they say, whenever things like this happen, just follow the money trail to get to the heart of the matter.

  • How exactly is it "libertarian" to argue that government should assist companies in blocking people from engaging in collective bargaining?

    I guess it isn't. The government should just get out of labor disputes. Of course, that means that striking workers can be replaced if they don't come back to work. ON STRIKE then becomes equal to I QUIT. Would you like information on COBRA before you go?

    When you guys get laid off without severance pay in a couple of months because your department's project is being moved to a subcontractor in Russia or India, let's see how anti-union you are.

    Oh yeah, the unions have done such a great job keeping jobs here in America. That's why so many American cars are partially built in Mexico and Canada.

    Wanna kill any tech company? Unionize it! Do you know what union scale is pull a ten foot patch cable from one rack to another?

  • A local station (KOGO) is considering simply removing the ads from the streamed web audio as their solution to this. They don't get any additional money for the web listeners, so it's no skin off their nose to remove advertising. Long-term, I hope some more sensible people come up with a realistic system of compensation. 300% extra for web audio is completely beyond the pale with the sizes of the audiences they're getting.
  • WBER [monroe.edu]

    But then, it's a student run alternative station. Nobody gets paid.

    How odd, the alternative station is bypassing union wishes.
  • they are stripping the "air" commercials out of their streaming content and will sell the internet time separately.

    I think that is actually the best route to follow. Screw this money grubbing union, which is pretty damn sure not to forward all those "stolen" dollars to their members, after all their are costs involved in collecting it, and heck there are so many they would probably charge their members for the "service"

    I would expect many of the streamers to come back after installing the software needed to "swap" the commercials for approved ones
  • ...in Atlanta. WNNX (99X) is still 'casting on the Internet (listening to it right now). They're a commerical 'new rock' station.

    In general, you have to imagine that AFTRA knew what the consequences of their action would be. I wonder if there hadn't been the precedent by the RIAA requiring royalties for web broadcasts, that AFTRA wouldn't have gotten the idea of supplemental payments.

  • I've never been able to understand why unions are okay and striving to monopolize an industry or supply of a particular resource isn't.

    The way I see it is thus: every human has an asset: their labor, which is finite because their time is finite. There are many consumers who have a use for labor, many of these consumers being businesses. Labor is therefore a necessary resource.

    The implicit goal of labor unions is to raise the price of labor (for the benefit of their members). Compare this with, say OPEC, which seeks to raise the price of oil (for the benefit of its members).

    It is not by accident that I used OPEC; the similarity reveals one thing: labor unions are cartels.

    It is logically inconsistent to apply Antitrust law to corporations and not to unions. My personal view is that it (antitrust law) should not exist at all.

  • Damn tag filters! replace the first step with:

    • You type "#include <iostream.h>"
  • First, they're probably paying to use Mp3 or Real audio's format, second, they're paying for the bandwidth, and third, they have to pay AFTRA's fee demands. You know... I can't emagine why napster got popluar ;-)

    For anyone with faster-than-a-modem-connection; visit http://gnutelliums.com and join the Gnutella network, which always has and always will be free (beer & speech).
  • I dunno, but the DJ's I listen to seem pretty pissed off that they're being forced to stop net broadcasting. Good DJ's are not a dime a dozen, they're in control of their contracts and so they could refuse to do net broadcasts if that floated their boats. Bad DJ's can broadcast to the net all they want, they'll still be at the bottom of the market.

    This is just another example of why in general unions are horrid things, even if I respect peoples rights to form unions.

  • I agree that they deserve protection, but I have had horrible experiences with unions. Like many people I had to pay my own way through university, I lived in an auto industry town, so there were fairly well paying jobs available in the automotive industry. I worked in security, but rather than sitting all day and developing extra butt cheeks I got to work confined space safety. This was kind of fun if you liked working at heights or other hazardous things, which I did.

    Anyway, we'd also work accidents and injuries. Automotive plants are pretty dangerous places, we'd often catch drunk or stoned workers and send them home. I don't give a damn if somebody harms themselves but I don't think people should be allowed to harm others through their stupidity. The unions most important job was to get these morons back on the job pronto. In one particular case a very high heavy machinery operator nailed somebody with a forklift. Somehow serious injuries were avoided. He was sent home and back on the job the next day thanks to the union. Meanwhile if any worker decided to say they smelled something funny they could shut down a line. We'd come, test the air and usually find nothing. Hey, if somebody honestly thought they smelled something I had no problem. Oddly enough Friday's were the usual time to smell something though.

    So the union is more than willing to fight for worker safety as long as it screws the auto company in the process. If it interferes with a dues paying member than they're deaf, dumb and blind.

    I won't even go into the details of the union-sponsored threats (and one actual attempt on my life, fortunately by an epsilon-minus) during contract negotations, even though we were theoretically in the union, afterall we were forced to pay dues.

  • uncompetitive.

    Dang unions see dollar signs on the internet, and now they're killing streaming radio because of their greed.

    Maybe Reagan was right about that union thing.
  • First, this is bullshit. The web is not repurposed content -- it's the same as radio, just coming out of different speakers. You don't consider my Sherwood receiver at home to be a different medium than the Blau in my Passat. And, in a lot of areas, you can't have an honest FM station that will reach all your prospective listeners. A good example is Vermont's WEQX (I am listening online as we speak). It's one of the last great independent commercial stations in the world, and it's one of the few stations I've ever heard that will play what the DJs want to hear. But their transmitter is not powerful...it gets drowned out by powerlines and is nearly impossible to get indoors. Hence, I listen online at weqx.com. It's terrible quality, it get congested and the ads are stupid. But it satisfies my need for independent radio.

    This is the type of station that should be online -- a station whos playlist is totally different from every other station in the world, both statistically and stylistically. And, for that matter, EQX has listeners all over the country. Do the ads for Stratton Mountain and the Vermont Lottery appeal to these listeners? Hell no! That's why they supplement the cost of their online radio with print ads. The advertising is being broadcast online, sure, but it's hardly repurposed. It's not even properly targetted. Arguing that EQX's advertisers get money from all of their online listeners to Alan Yando's snappy Lotto patter is futile, they don't.

    I think this is a sensible law for some radio stations -- ones with nationally appealling ads, for coca-cola or ford motors or even Fox TV. But then again, those stations don't need to be online! The big advertisers don't deal with independent stations, because they can't offer the kind of run that would be cost effective. They deal with huge faceless corporations like ClearChannel, whose content from station to station does not vary anyway. In fact, ClearChannel's DJs are all nothing more than talking heads, with no humans manning the local station mics. They won't answer your requests, they don't understand local politics or personalities and they don't visit local businesses. In essence, ClearChannel stations over the radio are already netcasts...they're nationally broadcast playlists without regional content or any real insight into the listening audience.

    I suppose the only consolation I have is that, so far, EQX is still online...and I can still hear the Live Lunch at work.
  • Because asshole, Artist Corner is a TV Show, Learn to read the Bio's before opening your mouth.

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  • Cnet [cnet.com] has a similar article about this here [cnet.com]. Basically The Web radio standoff that silenced hundreds of Internet audio feeds this week could be good news for companies that help stitch ads into streaming media broadcasts. So the reason all these web radios halted was because of $$ issues. As the article say Major radio corporations Tuesday, including Clear Channel Communications and Emmis Communications, temporarily halted their Web streams because of unresolved online advertising issues. Although that decision was a temporary setback for nascent Web radio stations, analysts said it could help ignite demand for so-called ad insertion technology, which can be used to get around disputed Internet advertising rules. The way I see it Tuesday's dispute among actors, advertisers and broadcasters over royalty payments could make streaming ads more attractive. Since advertising agencies have agreed to pay radio voice actors a higher fee if their commercials are used online as well as on air, they will likely seek alternatives such as ad insertion to control their costs.
  • Does this signal the end of mainstream radio? That would be awful, because now my kids can just hop on the internet and listen to any one of the unregulated DJs spewing their filthy language and disgusting ideas. At least when they listened to Rush Limbaugh via internet streaming, I could still trust the FCC to fine him should he slip and let an occasional swear word through.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!