The internet and cellular aspects of PRA


There are a couple of hundred million US citizens with cell phones, noted Radio Board Chair Caroline Beasley. And President/CEO Gordon Smith thinks that radio’s ability to get vital information to each and every one of those citizens during times of emergency make an FM chip in cell phones an relatively easy sell on Capitol Hill, even with opposition from the consumer electronics industry. The NAB also had things to say about the future of internet streaming.

In talks with musicFirst/RIAA, the association focused on negotiating the broadcast royalty rate above internet royalties, since it is the only rate applying to all music-reliant stations. However, it was able to get a plank in the early outline of a deal that would reduce rates to about 10% over six years. And at the end of that period, a new rate would be set under a free market-based negotiation with a third-party arbitrator used to resolve intractable disputes, rather than the CRB.

Asked how AFTRA concessions became part of the talks, Joint Board Chair Steve Newberry pointed out that AFTRA was a member of mF.

Meanwhile, the effort to get FM chips into cell phones is seen as a critical part of any final bill resulting from these talks. Smith noted a colleague saying he wouldn’t go back into his house to get a Walkman, but at least once a week, he has to go back in to retrieve a forgotten cell phone.

Radio definitely wants to be on the cellular platform. And the public interest benefits are seen as a key to getting them there, with the support of both radio and the labels.

However, the inclusion of an HD chip is not seen as currently feasible. As RBR-TVBR reported, concerns about pricing and energy consumption have rendered such a chip as not ready for prime time at the moment. However, HD is seen as a key element to work for shortly in the future.

Smith said there was a danger to accepting nothing less than 100% of your desires when pursuing legislation. He said that often, if you accept 70%, the remaining 30% can be added without too much difficulty in the next Congress.

RBR-TVBR note: See RBR-TVBR Exclusive: Cell phones might sell Radio on PRA this report explains the value to all parties involved.