Regional radio network Grant Broadcasters axes online simulcasts after High Court fee ruling

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Grant Broadcasters has axed all live streams for all 50 of their radio stations across Australia after a Federal Court decision earlier this year that saw internet simulcasts of radio broadcasts no longer covered by existing licenses.

“A recent Federal Court ruling has found that the simultaneous transmission of a radio broadcast over the internet is not a broadcast, and as a consequence, music licensing issues mean that this radio station is no longer able to offer this free streaming service,” according to a message posted on their live stream pages.

“We apologise for this inconvenience but would strongly encourage you to contact the
Federal Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull or your local Federal Member of Parliament to express your concerns.”

In February, the Federal Court ruled that internet simulcasts did not meet the definition of a “broadcast” under the Copyright Act, and therefore not covered by the existing licences by radio stations across the country. An appeal by Commercial Radio Australia failed in August.

This meant that radio stations will need to have a separate licence in order to play music on any internet simulcast, and at market rates. Previously, radio broadcasters were able to use the “one percent cap” in the Copyright Act to minimise their royalty payments to just one percent of gross income.

“It confirms radio stations must pay a licence fee for streamed music and we hope to move quickly to work out a fair and proper licensing deal. We look forward to working with radio to establish equitable arrangements,” Dan Rosen, the head of the PPCA – the non-profit organisation tasked to collect royalties for artists – said when the appeal was rejected.

However, Grant Broadcasters took issue with the rates provided by PPCA – saying that they wanted regional broadcasters to pay the same rates as their metro counterparts.

“When we were presented with the license for PPCA requirements, the rates and scales for stations operating in regional markets were exactly the same as those for metros,” Group Director of Programming and Content David Rodgerson told Radio Today.

“As a regional operator, Grant Broadcasters made the decision that it is beyond our market’s financial capacity to support and pay for the service.”

via Mumbrella

Join the Conversation

  • Anonymous

    I predict that by the end of this year or within a next couple of years Grant Broadcasters/capital Radio resume live streaming to their radio stations. That is if they are listening and reading to these comments right here on Techgeek. The PPCA’s claim is out-of-date and the Federal Government needs to step in and say that streaming radio is considered to be a broadcast. I’m angry/frustrated with this Grant/Capital Radio decision to temporary pull internet streaming.

    Until they resume streaming I’ll be turning off their stations including my local Grant Broadcasters Radio Station and will be mostly listen to AM Metropolitan radio stations as I’m currently doing.

    Grant Broadcasters if you are even listening you are trying to lose your radio stations online listeners and trying to say that internet radio is deteriorating, You need to return The streaming of your stations quickly. Your big stations Bay Fm/KRock/7HO/Mix Darwin/Hot 100/River 94.9 etc. are doing it tough without online live streaming plus the listenership around the world and the nation. I urge your former angry online listeners to contact the communications minister/PPCA to raise your concerns about this.

    They need to resume live streaming shortly and I hope to hear what CRA/PPCA think about this decision by Grant Broadcasters.

  • Anonymous

    I do hope this is only temporary. They need to return live streaming to Grant Broadcasting stations as well as Capital Radio Networks as quickly as possible either by the new year or the next couple of weeks, The Federal Government need to step up on this issue. Otherwise this will be a slowing decline in internet radio, All internet radio including online only stations will be gone by the next decade. This PPCA Decision and the latest decision by Grant Broadcasters is ridiculous, The PPCA is trying to shut down internet radio and as i said before the government needs to step up on this issue.

    Grant Broadcasters if you are reading this comment then return live streaming to your stations as quickly as possible to avoid receiving negative comments and your listeners turning off your stations. no if’s, not but’s, no maybe’s. The future of radio is digital and online and you can’t be left behind.

  • Fusion

    Well this sucks because a lot of people that live in Ballarat and listen to powerfm are now not able to as there place of work or house does not have a AM/FM reviver and they used the online way to stay with there fav radio station