A call to arms for radio fans: Pandora needs you now

A call to arms for radio fans: Pandora needs you now

Summary: When I spoke to Pandora founder Tim Westergren last week he told me that there would be a time when the Internet radio site would need to issue a call to arms to its listeners -- that time is now.

TOPICS: Banking

Pandora needs you nowWhen I spoke to Pandora founder Tim Westergren last week he told me that there would be a time when the Internet radio site would need to issue a call to arms to its listeners -- that time is now.

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.

Topic: Banking

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  • hype

    I'm a big fan of Pandora and have given them decent blog coverage due to that. But every few months we hear from Tim that there's a crisis and we must save Internet radio. And perhaps it's true. However, this is the wrong week to bombard our congress people with something (that in the big picture if) trivial compared to all the failing banks and serious economic problems. I want them focused on saving banks and preventing foreclosures, not answering phone calls from Pandora fans.
    • Yes

      There are bigger issues at play right now, but you have to think beyond "save Internet radio" and think about the long-term economic impact of such a decision. That's one of the points I made in my video blog about this. Yes, the bailout is a more critical issue right now, but the vote is happening tomorrow regardless and that is what is dictating the timing of approaching congresspeople. Plus, as the bottom of the economic concerns right now are businesses potentially failing, people losing jobs, people unable to support their families, and long-tern economic viability of certain markets, right? This impacts that. Perhaps it was short-sighted of me to not call that out in the initial blog, so I appreciate you bringing it up.

      Here's the legislation:
      Jennifer Leggio
    • This is the first appeal

      that I've received, and I've been a Pandora user for over two years. Moreover, the average Senator has close to 70 staff people tracking all kinds of issues. It's not like the back office grinds to a halt because a big issue arises. Every Senator, every day, gets a briefing on all votes that are coming up soon - including the pros/cons and who the support and opposition are. Never, ever, think that legislation slows for crises. If anything, it accelerates. All the "baggage" gets loaded in the trunk of the solution.
  • RE: A call to arms for radio fans: Pandora needs you now

    Surely we're not lobbying Congress to support a small, private firm whose negotiating standpoint is unkown? A company who plays my music without paying...? Why, because they're online?
    • "Surely we're not lobbying Congress to support a small, private firm..."

      "Surely we're not lobbying Congress to support a small, private firm"

      Nope, we're asking them to extend the arbitrary deadline they imposed so as to allow good-faith negotiations that are ongoing to continue.

      That's all.

      "whose negotiating standpoint is unkown?"
      I don't have the foggiest clue what that is supposed to mean.

      "A company who plays my music without paying...?"

      YOUR music? In other words you're the recording industry? Well you might want to complain to the congressmen that you bribed^h^h^h^h^h^h lobbied then.

      "Why, because they're online?"

      No, because it's stupid to put a company out of business over a stupid technicality at the bequest of broadcasters who have no direct stake in the negotiations.

      Or do you favor the "Everyone has a stake in absolutely everything" approach? In which case I have a complaint about your car; it's the wrong color. Please paint it purple.
      • Bravo.

        Great response. Not to mention Pandora is paying -- they are just paying too much.
        Jennifer Leggio
  • Radio death rattle

    I got into radio broadcasting in the early 80's. It was a time when the ???golden age??? of radio was fading very fast. With a good voice and perhaps a bit more life experience than younger disk jockeys, I fell in with some large stations that were still what I call ???full service.??? They provided weather alerts, news break-ins, and most important, local material from people who actually lived in the community.

    While this kind of broadcasting was still going on, stations big and small were experimenting (and saving money) with a new radio ???format.???

    Somewhere, some programming ???genius??? decided that people wanted MORE MUSIC, LESS TALK. DJ's played ???ten in a row??? with little or no intros, weather or anything else.

    Remove interaction with the listener, remove local references, play song after song without stopping. What does it sound like? It sounds just like an iPod. Twenty five or more years ago the radio industry essentially lowered the expectations of listeners and trained an entire generation to compare radio to the same experience they now get with a cheap MP3 player. They didn't see the monster they created.

    Now listeners are dropping off and radio stations will do anything, ANYTHING to try to keep their ratings and revenues up. This includes working with the RIAA to try to kill off the internet completion. Just follow the money.
  • Done.

    Sent my message to Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona.

    Hopefully the senate version passes!
    • Thank you!

      From me, lots of listeners, and I'm sure Pandora thanks you as well!
      Jennifer Leggio