College stations dreading PRA


The recording industry believes it is cutting small noncommercial student-run college radio stations a huge break by allowing them a reduced rate on performance royalties. But students in the upper Midwest don’t find the amount to be so tiny.

The University of North Dakota’s student newspaper, Dakota Student, said that the possibility of getting a CP for a noncommercial student-run FM is getting just a little bit dicier there given the possibility that Congress might at some point pass the Performance Rights Act.

They looked at the budget of a student college station in St. Cloud MN. It was said to receive $14K from the student fund. That means it still has to find a way to come up with an additional $2K just to meet minimum operational costs. Adding $500, the PRA-prescribed minimum royalty payment, amounts to a 25% increase to that challenge.

At UND, they’re looking at start-up costs of $40K to begin with, and the possibility of a brand new ongoing fixed expense is just increasing the headwinds they are facing to even get the station off the ground in the first place.

RBR-TVBR observation: College stations are the perfect place for unknown acts to start generating some buzz. It’s vital free promotion that is available in few other places. But the recording industry has so lost its way that it cannot seem to remember that radio made it what it is in the first place.

College programmers will tell you that bands and labels call them all the time. They want to get on the air on campus. It’ll help them fill clubs and other performance venues, it’ll help sell t-shirts and other paraphernalia, and it might even move a few CDs and legal downloads. The exposure is worth far more than the pittance all musicians other than those already famous are going to receive from royalties.

And all the recording industry can think to do is panhandle the limited student fund for $500? Pathetic.