Senate Committee considers the future of radio

by Eliot Van Buskirk, Wired Blogs

If you're curious about the state of radio -- and have 90 minutes kill -- check out today's Senate Commerce Committee hearing regarding broadcast media ownership rules and the Copyright Royalty Board rates.

I watched Mac McCaughan (of Superchunk, Portastatic, and Merge Records) talk about why radio is so important to him right now, how radio changed for the worse during the era of consolidation, and how his two bands that opened in the top ten worldwide (Arcade Fire and Spoon) get no love from commercial radio stations.

The next panelist, Russell Withers (representing the National Association of Broadcasters) asked for "reasonable" media ownership rules and railed against the new CRB royalty rates (key quote: "local radio should not be used as a bailout method" for ailing record labels). During the segment I'm watching now, Tim Westergren of Pandora is explaining to the Senators why his service makes sense ("Pandora users are 3-5 times more likely than the average American to purchase music") and why the CRB rates are so unfair.

Direct RealPlayer link to the "Future of Radio" committee streaming video

Here's the full list of panelists:

Mac McCaughan, Musician and Cofounder, Merge Records

W. Russell Withers Jr. (representing NAB), President. Withers Broadcasting Group

Tim Westergren, Chief Strategy Officer & Founder, Pandora

S. Derek Turner, Research Director, Free Press

Carol Pierson, President and CEO, National Federation of Community Broadcasters

Dana Davis Rehm, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Partnerships, National Public Radio

article originally published at http://blog.wired.com/music/2007/10/watch-the-futur.html.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey