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helpIf you listen to BlackLight Radio, chances are you’re doing so because you’ve discovered something that you can’t find on the commercial airwaves… but this radio station, and thousands of other small internet broadcasters, are currently in the fight for their life.

The music royalty fees we must pay for 2016 have much more than quadrupled because of new performance fee rulings by the Copyright Royalty Board. Many smaller webcasters have already run out of money and closed down, and BlackLight Radio may soon face the same fate.

You can help bring legislative action to bring royalty costs back down to affordable levels and help us keep providing the kind of programming that has brought you to us in the first place. Please help by adding your voice to those fighting for our survival. Helping costs you nothing, and it could help save BlackLight Radio.

Go to www.radiodiversity.org — Our survival depends on your voice!

Please go now and make your voice heard so you can continue to hear ours.

Thank you.

Posted by Gene
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Call to Action Newsletter # 1

Please act to help reduce your fee.

Hello Gene

(This email is sent to all who were Affiliates as of a few days ago.) The first step in moving forward to regain reduced fees by bringing back the Small Webcasters Agreement is here and the time has arrived. While my attorneys continue to work behind the scenes, we webcasters and providers need to unite and start building momentum. This first phase is primarily to get behind a unified group pushing for success and begin telling our story to all who will listen and especially to those who can ultimately influence the outcome.

Four initial steps:

1) I encourage you to send this email to your stream host providers, to other webcasters, anyone else you think of that would get involved.

2) Sign up yourself and encourage your listeners to sign up at http://www.radiodiversity.org/ I may not always promote this website, John Draper, here at StreamLicensing, has a beta version that has been ready for months. However, at this time I think it is wiser to unite with this already recognized group. If as time moves forward we need to use our own website and action page I’ll let you know. So I’m encouraging you to move as many as possible to sign up at http://www.radiodiversity.org/ At least one Affiliate also has a good call-to-action website that I maybe sharing in the future.

3) If you haven’t already please read the following two articles for more background information. Once you have digested them, please share them with as many as you possibly can: As you know, legislative action is where it will have to go ultimately. http://www.radioworld.com/article/crb-ruling-is-%E2%80%9Ccrushingly-bad-news%E2%80%9D-for-microcasters/277856 and the second article: http://rainnews.com/small-webcasters-enter-the-unknown-of-2016/ As you read, please note that StreamLicensing fees are not being presently based on the CRB/SoundExchange commercial rate. However, if we don’t bring back the Small Webcasters Agreement before the end of the year, our fees will have to increase to the commercial level as shown in these news articles.

4) Putting links to the pages referenced in 2 and 3, above on your websites would be a great help as you promote bringing back the Small Webcasters Fee structure.

We small broadcasters have been hit with two major increases: ASCAP and CRB/SoundExchange. We can’t do much about ASCAP other than pay it, but we have the opportunity to bring rates back at least partially to affordable levels. We can do this as we unite and work what is ultimately going to be a legislative process to regain affordable performance fees as administered by SoundExchange.

I won’t be able to reply individually to your responses to this email but I want to thank your for all you are doing to help small webcasters have a continued future.

Marvin

Posted by Gene
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belt-tighteningAs many of you know, 2014 has been a year of change for BlackLight Radio. As costs continue to skyrocket and licensing companies close their doors, it becomes harder and harder to keep the 80s hits coming.


The record labels, under the guise of paying the artist, have been working to break internet radio financially. Unfortunately, the congressmen they’ve bought have done their bidding again and again, labeling stations like BlackLight Radio the enemy and raising royalty fees over and over since the implementation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.


As April approached, I took a long, hard look at what we’re doing here, and worked to figure out a way to save the station without completely going broke. After many stressful nights of searching the internet, asking my friends, and pulling my hair out, I believe I have come up with a successful way to keep the records you and I love streaming around the world while keeping royalty costs manageable.


To understand this elegantly simple solution, you first need to understand how the copyright office charges us. The rules are that you pay per song, times the number of listeners. The more listeners tuned in to a song, the more you pay. Also, the more songs you play, the more you pay. (SxL=$$$)


Other than shutting down, my first thought was to add more talk content. If we did 30 minutes an hour of talk, we’d cut the songs per hour down to about 7 (from 15). That would cut our royalty bill in half!


Then I realized how much time, energy, and thought would have to go in to, day after day, creating new spoken content. I do, for the time being, have to go to my day job to pay for my night passion. There simply wouldn’t be any way for me to do this, and I didn’t know anyone else I was willing to ask to undertake such an enormous project.


Another thought that occurred to me was to play only the PartyMixes of the 80s hits… you know, the 12″ remixes we play Friday and Saturday night. I immediately shot that idea down, though. First, there aren’t PartyMixes for every hit of the 80s. Second, some of the PartyMixes aren’t much longer than the single version. Third, I didn’t want to be responsible for getting you in trouble at work by causing you to dance uncontrollably every day of the week.


What could be done to control the river of money headed out the door and into the pockets of corporate fat cats? How could we limit the number of songs BlackLight Radio played without putting anything other than the 80s greatest hits on the stream back-to-back? Finally, the solution came to me:


SLOW DOWN THE HITS.


Of course! Why hadn’t it occurred to me before? So simple, so easy to do… we had already been speeding up songs a little to match how top 40 radio stations in the 80s sped up the 45s they got from the record labels… all I had to do was move the speed control the other direction! Every second of every hour would be wall-to-wall 80s hits, but we would significantly reduce the number of songs we play per hour. The result? Happy listeners, and lower royalty rates!


Today, we begin what the business world calls the “Second Quarter” of 2014… and as we start this second quarter, we cut our royalties (and the money going to pay for more yachts for the record label executives) in nearly HALF.


My hope is this idea will spread, and other stations online will begin doing the same thing. This could save the internet radio industry thousands, no, millions of dollars a year that can be better used buying decals to put on their station vehicle / wife’s minivan. The industry can finally break free of the shackles of the DMCA and breathe the sweet, fresh air of broadcasting freedom!


The best part is, if you tune in and listen, the slowdown is hardly noticeable. Chances are if I hadn’t mentioned it, you wouldn’t have ever detected it. No, no change in the hits coming your way, but a big change in the amount of… change… we get to keep each day!


Also: April Fools. We’ll return to normal speed tonight.

Posted by Gene
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