ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Five Anchorage radio stations are pulling the plug on streaming their music programming over the Internet because of costly copyright fees that went into effect Sept. 1.
Traditionally, broadcast radio stations have paid fees only to composers, but not to record companies or to artists, since courts reasoned that they were compensated for their efforts because radio-play promoted their releases.
Under the new copyright law, composers, record companies and even people doing voice work can seek additional compensation if any broadcast material is streamed over the Internet.
However, the cyber-audience has proved small, fragmented and far-flung, generating little interest among local advertisers who make up nearly 90 percent of a station's revenue, said Dennis Bookey, general manager of the Anchorage Media Group, which formerly streamed four music stations over the Internet.
''Internet radio just wasn't cost-effective to begin with,'' Bookey said. ''Before this even came down, it wasn't making any money.''
The company continues to stream its own news programming over the Internet, which is losing money to date, but at least there are no copyright fees to contend with.
Continuing the four music streams would have cost $20,000 per station, or a total of $80,000 annually, with little or no return.
Cost considerations also have prompted managers of the University of Alaska Anchorage student-funded KRUA radio to stop streaming content.
KRUA general manager Chris Joy said not only continuing costs, but also retroactive fees and burdensome record-keeping requirements associated with the new regulations prompted them to stop sending content online.
''There's tons of college stations around the country that are shutting down their Internet radio because of this,'' Joy said. ''There are college stations that are actually Internet only which are shutting down.''
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