Small network eschews anti-airplay musicians


Have the first shots been fired in the brewing battle between radio and labels over performance royalties/fees? A small, three station North Carolina group called Christian Listening Network, "[i]n sympathetic response to the cries of the Music First Coalition that radio airplay has hurt rather than helped musical performers," is making sure that all MFC members are kept off of its airwaves.
"Our Music Directors are diligent in selecting the best songs week after week," said CLN GM Dan DeBruler. He added, "It is illegal for US radio stations to accept direct compensation in any form in exchange for airplay. We play and promote the best songs and artists, then watch as they climb the charts. The result is increased record sales and improved ticket sales at live performances. If performing artists believe uncompensated airplay is hurting them to the extent they need legislation to stop it, we’ll save them the trouble."
The MDs at WCLN-FM, WGQR-FM & WBLA-AM have been instructed to keep in touch with music reps in the event the "Performance Rights Act" is adopted and "negotiate individual fees with the artists whose music we play to ensure fair compensation."
RBR observation: This battle is essentially a cash grab by labels trying to find any possible income stream as their tattered business model continues to leak. They’ve been hiding behind musicians — notably, most of the artists they’ve sent to Capitol Hill are not frequently heard on the air these days — are Judy Collins, Sam Moore, Lyle Lovett or Alice Peacock on your current playlist? — and they wouldn’t stand to gain much from the Act. It will be interesting to see if the CLN is an isolated event or a harbinger of things to come.