Down and Out Down Under

The great Twitter account of @radioinsight brought some sad news today that touches both the world of radio as well as overall Internet freedom. As reported on Australia’s radioinfo website, all radio stations in that country are ceasing their online streaming. As is still being attempted here in the United States, Australia’s recording industry has actually succeeded in convincing their court system to allow ridiculous new fees on radio stations that stream online. Rather than pay these new fees, every station “down under” from the biggest network affiliates to the smallest community outlet is turning off its stream.

This is terrible in many ways and not just for the entertainment some stations provided to listeners all over the world. Somewhere, The Man is doing a serious happy dance as he has succeeded in shutting down a whole country’s ability to enjoy free, locally-programmed music over the Internet.

Of course, the recording industry will eventually rue the day this happened as the younger generations coming up will not tolerate a lack of choice. Still, in the meantime, Australians and the whole world will suffer as their music world goes mostly dark on the World Wide Web.

Thus, let us all say a sad goodbye to the long-time listings on this website’s Radio page, 5DDD “Three D Radio” in Adelaide and 4SDA “104.9 Sunshine FM” in Nambour. Until that day comes when Australians replace enough of these politicians and judges that wrongly believe the Internet is the enemy of recorded music, you will be sorely missed.

With the loss of Australia to politics and New Zealand to just plain bad radio (at least from those that stream), my Radio page is now becoming even less diverse. Only the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom remain in the English-speaking world with stations that fit my litmus test as being good enough to deserve a link.

It’s not a good day. However, it is a reminder to everybody in all countries to keep fighting against The Man and his attempts to make the Internet nothing but a big pay service. All must keep speaking up, continue spreading the word, supporting truly open media, and be unrelenting in pestering elected officials. If people do not do these things, it won’t be long before the same thing happens everywhere…and what a boring world we will have come to if we end up having to pay $21.99 a month for Clear Channel‘s iHeartRadio to hear 2,000 stations all playing the same 200 songs.

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