Royalty Fees Forces Online Radio Station to Charge

Broadcasting & Cable writes about the details of why a pioneering webcaster like KPIG (FM station in Freedom, Calif.) has been forced to stop free streaming. It has now joined RealNetworks’ recently introduced RadioPass, where for $5.95 a month users have an à la carte service that offers 50 commercial-free, genre-specific channels as well as access to streams from what RealNetworks calls “premium stations.”

RealNetworks President Larry Jacobson believes Radio Pass will spark interest among the large radio-station groups. The radio partners, like RealNetworks video partners, will be paid under a model similar to the way content providers are paid by cable operators. “Someone like CBS has never been a big investor in new-media delivery as a group,” he says, “but now, with subscription potential, there may be renewed interest from the groups.” Subscription royalties have yet to be ironed out, but Jacobson says RealNetworks will plan accordingly once they have been.