Radio Networks Start Streaming Again

Listeners who enjoy hearing their hometown radio station streamed over the Internet can rejoice. After two months of dead air, stations are back online thanks to ad insertion technology.

In April, the 1,170 stations owned by Clear Channel Communications–as well as those owned by Ennis Communications and ABC/Disney–cut off their streams. The problem? The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) decided to enforce a contract stating that union announcers should receive 300 percent of their normal fee if an ad originally recorded for local broadcast is used online.

Claiming that webcasting is often done at a loss, just to publicize a station or Web site, broadcasters pulled the plug on the streams at the request of their advertisers.

But this week, Clear Channel Communications announced it will soon bring at least 250 streams back on the air. This has been made possible thanks to software from Los Angeles-based Hiwire, Inc., which removes local ads from a stream and swaps in those that have been cleared for national broadcast.

ABC/Disney is expected to start webcasting again soon using similar technology, according to several sources. However, the company has not announced whose ad insertion mechanism it will employ.

from Adweek Magazines’ Technology Marketing