WRBB joins Harvard in lawsuit

By Amanda Murphy and Jess Beers

A goal for most radio stations is to increase the number of listeners that tune in daily. However, due to recent discussions concerning fees for webcasters and broadcasters, many university and college radio stations are finding that less is more.

As of right now, WRBB, Northeastern’s student-run radio station, has approximately 20 or fewer listeners per hour. This allows WRBB to be included in the $500 yearly fee bracket imposed by the federal government. The station operates on a budget, and the newly imposed fees have caused members of WRBB to protest the changes.

The station’s General Manager Blake Jenssen said he has joined forces with Harvard University’s student radio station in a lawsuit against the recording companies of America. As of right now, both Northeastern and Harvard’s lawyers are working against the enforcement of these fees.

Although September 1 was the deadline for WRBB to pay, lawyers for the university and WRBB remain in litigation over the fees. It is unclear whether WRBB will end up having to pay the annual fee.

“As long as the lawyers do not tell me I have to pay the fees, we will not,” Jenssen said.

If the case does not end in favor of college stations, WRBB will be forced to ask Northeastern to increase the station’s yearly budget.

Paying the fees is not what is most upsetting, even though they would incur retroactively from years past equaling a total of $1500, Jenssen told The News. He said that the paying dues for airing music on the internet is unconstitutional.

Jenssen said if WRBB is forced to pay the fees they will, even if this means that the money will be taken from other parts of the radio station, such as promotions, new equipment or costly events, as long as WRBB can remain available online.

Despite the negative controversy surrounding webcasting on campus, Jenssen and the rest of the staff of WRBB state that overall they are not worried.

What lies ahead for WRBB?

“More good music,” Jenssen said.

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