Seriously Thinking About Hiding the Receiver


The radio world is overflowing with news this week: the creation of an all-Glee format, NPR's conquest of a student freeform station, Dr. Laura's apparent belief that the First Amendment is a shield against public criticism. But the biggest development might be the NAB and RIAA's interest in backing a requirement that portable electronic devices contain built-in FM receivers. As Ars Technica reports, the not-quite-finalized proposal would be a way for each lobby to get a favor from the government:

the framework concerns public performance rights. Radio broadcasters and music labels are at each other's throats over the question of whether radio ought to pay performance rights to labels or artists when it plays their music on the air (currently, only songwriters get paid, not artists or labels)….

The two sides hope to strike a grand bargain: radio would agree to pay around $100 million a year (less than it feared), but in return it would get access to a larger market through the mandated FM radio chips in portable devices.

Elsewhere in Reason: I wrote about the performance rights issue last year.