Westergren sent a pleading message to his network and listener base this afternoon in which he explains that on the eve of making progress that might save Pandora, the National Association of Broadcasters embarked on a surreptitious petition to thwart the efforts:
After months of fighting to stay in business, Pandora, SoundExchange and the RIAA have finally agreed to one thing - we need just a bit more time to negotiate a royalty agreement that will let Pandora survive. Yesterday Congressman Jay Inslee and several cosponsors introduced legislation to give us extra time but for some reason the tradional radio broadcasters don't want Congress to help Pandora and the rest of Internet radio.
We understand that the National Association of Broadcasters is asking Members of Congress to oppose the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008."
"We were just starting to feel optimistic about getting close to a settlement," Westergren said this afternoon. "H.R. 7084 is a procedural bill that would extend the negotiation period and give us all the time we need."
According to Westergren the very day they made this progress the NAB began lobbying intensively to kill the bill.
"The thing that's so crass is that this bill is beneficial to broadcasters, it just gives us more time to reduce Webcasting fees," Westergren said. "They know we're running out of time and if they can kill the bill they can kill Internet radio."
Westergren says that action needs to be taken immediately to stop NAB as they only have a matter of days left before
"The only reason it's still there because the bailout has kept congress occupied," he said. "We don't have the time to get a full grass roots campaign going. The people on Capitol Hill need to know what is going on."
Westergren is urging listeners who want to save Internet radio to call their Congressional leaders now (202-225-3121) and ask them to support H.R. 7084, the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008.
Update 9/26/2008 8:51 p.m. Due to the bank bailout Congress is in D.C. this weekend working. The House vote on H.R. 7084 is happening tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 27) at 11 a.m. ET. If this passes it will go to Senate on Monday, Sept. 29. Those who want to make their congressional representatives aware of the need to pass this bill must act quickly. Send emails overnight and call overnight and throughout the weekend. The message will be heard.
Update 9/27/2008 7:16 p.m. H.R. 7084 passed the House today and goes before Senate on Monday, Sept. 28. The action for fans now is to contact their state Senate representatives.