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ABC Kills Streams

ABC follows Clear Channel and others to discontinue web streams in the wake of the AFTRA contract controversy.

Another major group of stations-ABC Radio-has indefinitely suspended the streaming of its signals on the Internet as a result of the continuing controversy over fees demanded by the new AFTRA contract. ABC had allowed talk radio stations to continue streams until today, while all other formats were taken down last week.

ABC’s removal of streams this week follows similar moves by Clear Channel, Cox and Emmis have also shut down streams until a solution can be reached. Ad insertion companies like RealNetworks, LightningCast, HiWire and RadioWave have come forward to ameliorate the situation for broadcasters. Of course, that’ll cost money too.

The AFTRA contract that was signed in fall of 2000 stipulates that any spot recorded for use on-air could not be used online unless an additional fee of up to 300 percent is paid. While the agreement had been in place for several months, no agency had begun to levy the fees against broadcasters until Ann Chaitovitz, director of sound recordings for AFTRA, testified before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearings on “Online Entertainment and Copyright Law.”

After her testimony, several agencies sent letters to radio stations indicating that they would begin to honor the line item in the contract allowing for the collection of additional fees for Internet use of on-air spots.

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