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rough roadAnother quick update to let you know our licensing rates, which already doubled in January, are going up again in February.

As a result, we are looking at several ways to control costs which disrupts the least number of listeners. One option may be disconnecting from a listener after a certain length of time (for example, when you might go to lunch, etc) or in the worst case scenario, blocking United States listeners.

We don’t want to do any of this, but SoundExchange has our back against the wall and it’s this, or shut down. Please know that StreamLicensing is continuing to try to negotiate on our behalf, and we hope that a cost-effective settlement will soon come.

Posted by Gene
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StillStandingFinal

In my previous update, I told you that the new royalty rates for 2016 didn’t include a small webcaster’s agreement, effectively pricing us out of the industry.

Although much is still up in the air, I wanted to update with what I know now.

First, negotiations continue behind the scenes to get SoundExchange to agree to a reasonable rate which will allow BlackLight Radio and thousands of other webcasters to continue streaming. While they have NOT yet agreed to anything, the negotiations are ongoing and may be be weeks or months away from a workable resolution.

In the meantime, we are waiting to hear what our licensing provider will charge us moving in to 2016. My expectation is that it will be a hefty increase, but perhaps not so great that we cannot afford it. We should find this out next week, and, if there is any way Cindy & I can afford it, we will continue streaming just as we are right now, into 2016 until negotiations are completed at least.

If, however, the rate given us next week is completely out of reach, we will begin to look in to streaming with another company called Radionomy. They have an app, and provide streaming links to many of the major directories like iTunes, TuneIn, etc. While the “behind the scenes” link would change, as long as you are starting at this page you should always be able to listen.

Where could this go wrong?

  • The rates with our current provider could be out of our reach.

  • The rates with our current provider could be workable, but SoundExchange could refuse to negotiate a reasonable price and we could be down in January, or February, or March.

  • We could try to go to Radionomy, but they could have changed their rules to stream for 2016.

  • We could go to Radionomy, but (believe it or not) not have enough listeners and get kicked from the service. (Yes, you have to keep a certain sized audience for them to keep you streaming with them.)

  • We could go to Radionomy but their business model could fail and they could go under.



…Then again, a meteor could crash through the roof right now, killing me and taking out the BlackLight Radio server. It COULD happen, but honestly I believe we will be able to find a way to keep streaming into the new year.

TL;DR — BlackLight Radio is not likely to shut down at midnight new years eve.

More updates as they become available… and merry Christmas!

Posted by Gene
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styx-paradise-theater_back



Let me first get out of the way that, yes, I know, “All I Need Is A Miracle” is by Mike + The Mechanics, while “Paradise Theater” is by Styx and contains “Don’t Let It End.” BlackLight Radio plays both songs, so I feel justified in mixing and matching for this post.

This will be a post of “maybes,” a visit from “The Ghost Of Christmas Future,” if you will.

Every legal internet radio station has to pay royalties to composers through ASAP, BMI & SESAC, and pay royalties to record labels through Sound Exchange.

Since 1998, small webcasters (those making less than about a million dollars a year, which is just about everybody except commercial broadcasters, Pandora, and I Heart Radio) have had reduced rates which allowed them to band together through companies like Live 365, Radionomy, and StreamLicensing.com and share the expense, and in this way make webcasting affordable.

Just a few days ago, the new webcaster royalty rates were released… and there are no longer small webcaster rates.

This jumps our expenses from about $30 / month to about $300 / month, which is completely out of my reach. The station had just started making enough each month to cover its own expenses, but there’s no way on a cable dispatcher’s income I can make up the extra $270+ / month the new rates will require.

If this is the rate we are required to pay, it means that BlackLight Radio will cease streaming as of January 1st, 2016.

You might think I’m going to ask you to help, but the reality is, it’s too late to help. The big broadcasters made the deals, and we’ve been shut out. About the only thing you can do is contact your local congressmen, but in the past we’ve been met mostly with apathy.

I simply wanted to let you know what happened if we are gone in a little over a week.

There are efforts being made behind the scenes to try and prevent this shut down. It is possible we may get a last-minute deal which will make rates affordable. We might end up moving to a different service, or only being available with a subscription, or we might only be able to broadcast outside the United States. (Ironically, the “freest country in the world” has the most oppressive music licensing fees.) We might be gone for a little while, or we might be gone for four years until rates are re-negotiated. We might be gone permanently.

I can promise you that we are not going down without a fight, and if there is a way to provide you with the 80s greatest hits in 2016, we will find that way.

If not, I can only tell you that it has been an honor and a pleasure to bring you back all this great music… and I will miss it just as much as you will.

Thank you for listening.

(I will update as information becomes available.)

Posted by Gene
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