Ongoing History of New Music

A solution for American Ongoing History of New Music fans locked out the show by geo-blocking

The Internet is not free. Companies routinely block the streams of their radio stations from crossing borders for a variety of very good reasons.

It’s not that they’re cheap. It’s just that paying for these rights doesn’t make economic sense. Most radio makes pretty much zero from simulcasting their on-air streams to areas beyond their terrestrial broadcast footprint.

Advertisers don’t care that someone may be streaming the station in Rwanda because those aren’t the customers they’re trying to reach. There can also be issues with the talent used to make those commercials that involve union rules that may transnational use of these spots tricky.

But the biggest issue involves foreign performing rights societies, the companies who collect money from radio stations for the privilege of playing music as part of their business plan.

A couple of years back, SESAC, one of the American performing rights organizations(hereafter known as PROSs) made it known that they wanted to collect money from Canadian radio stations streaming their programming into America.

That’s when most Canadian radio broadcasters said “Screw this” and instituted geo-blocking. Why spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on performing rights fees to deliver programming to a small audience who aren’t going to patronize a station’s advertisers? Streaming into the US is nothing but a money-loser because of the demands of the PROs–and we’re talking thousands upon thousands of dollars, paid in US dollars.

(By the way, US radio stations do the same thing. It’s tough to stream American stations into Canada without finding a special app or going through the rigamarole of tunnelling with a VPN. Like most people, I just can’t be arsed.)

This, however, has created some issues with my Ongoing History of New Music program. Judging by the geographic analysis of OH podcast downloads, there’s a sizeable appetite for this kind of radio in the US.

In the past, Americans were simply able to stream the live online simulcast from a Canadian station of their choice. Geo-blocking put an end to that.

But there is a solution. At this point, there is one American affiliate for the show: the cluster of stations 91.3 WAPS Akron-Canton/90.7 WKTL Youngstown/TheSummit.FM run by Brad Savage. He runs Ongoing History at 11 am ET on Sundays.

Brad also says that he’d consider running the program a second time during the week if streaming demand dictates. If you’re interested, drop Brad an email. He’s a good lad and a great friend of the show.

Meanwhile, a whole whack on new alt-rock stations has gone on-air up in markets from Detroit to LA to Dallas to San Francisco to NYC lately. I would LOVE to get the show on those stations. The cost? Practically free. Seriously. Not only do affiliates get the weekly show and the daily features but access to the entire Ongoing History archive, which goes back over 800 one-hour shows. Plus we can make other arrangments that I’m pretty sure the audience will find beneficial.

If you’re in the US and you know of a radio station that should run The Ongoing History of New Music, you should contact the program director. Or if you’re a PD and you want to talk, I’m always here at [email protected] 


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38457 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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