Columbia University's WKCR Eliminates Online Stream
January 11, 2016 at 11:52 AM (PT)
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY's WKCR (89.9)/NEW YORK CITY shut down its online stream last week, according to the NEW YORK TIMES.
“It’s a devastating setback,” said host and jazz historian PHIL SCHAAP, who has been at the station for 46 years.
The station insisted it was working on restoring its online simulcast after a note announcing the suspension of the stream was posted on the station’s website at the end of DECEMBER, with complaints from both inside and outside the station hitting social media.
Wrote one FACEBOOK fan: “We have some excellent stations for classical and jazz in NOCAL, but nothing as good as ’KCR.”
A COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY representative said that the problem was not the cost of royalties laid down by the recent COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD decision (NET NEWS 12/17) but contractual terms with the station’s “provider” and that negotiations were underway to clear that up.
Under federal copyright law, online stations face stricter terms than their broadcast counterparts when it comes to programming, with limits regarding how many songs by any particular artist — or even from a single album — can be played in a given period of time.
SCHAAP commented this restriction may be part of the problem for WKCR. “It’s not just a financial burden,” he said. “It’s the encumberment of the creative process.”
WKCR Dir./ Broadcasting And Operations PHILIP MASCIANTONIO released a short statement last week that the station was "currently reassessing our approach to streaming audio.”
The COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD decision was meant to target commercial webcasters like PANDORA, LIVE365 and iHEARTMEDIA, not necessarily public college statations like WKCR, DAVID OXENFORD, a lawyer who has covered the CRB hearings extensively on his blog, told the TIMES, e-mailing, "There have not been changes in the rules that govern the types of performances for noncommercial webcaster.”
WKCR has also been experiencing technical difficulties, while dealing with a brand-new student board that took over at the end of last year.
The station has been in the news recently with the release of a documentary about STRETCH ARMSTRONG and BOBBITO, who previously hosted an influential hip-hop show there for eight years, amid charges the UNIVERSITY refused to support it.
“To COLUMBIA, KCR is more a nuisance than the bearer of a great cultural legacy,” said former PD and current DJ ERIC INGRAM.