A new signing from our D.C. office was in for a shock last week when he tried to listen to his favourite US internet radio station. The station was not broadcasting on 26 June as part of a US-wide campaign to overturn a recent court ruling that would see internet radio stations pay increased royalties for each song they play. The SaveNetRadio campaign organised a day long mikes down as part of a push to get internet radio users to contact their elected representatives on the Hill in support of legislation tabled to overturn the court ruling. (Incidentally why US radio stations seem to all have acronyms for names, like KJCM in Midnight Caller, is beyond us).
Upon entering your ZIP (post) code the campaign’s website gives you the name and contact details of your elected representatives in House and Senate along with a series of speaking points to help you get the message across. When you have completed the task you can give your feedback to the site. The site keeps you updated on media coverage of the campaign (international publications such as the BBC and the Economist have covered the campaign) as well as featuring testimonials from musicians who have benefited from net radio to boost their fledgling careers. Supporters can add messages to a blog, subscribe to a newsletter and a variety of banners are available for webmasters to multiply the campaign.
According to the site over 350,000 phone calls were made to elected officials in D.C. during the course of 26 June and the site received 14 million hits during the course of the day on the site. The effect of this action is yet to be seen, but with personal contact from constituents ranking as the most influential method of influencing Congress according to the Congressional Management Foundation one has to believe the campaign stands a decent chance.
With the EU crying out for engagement from its citizens, one has to believe that it is only a matter of time before we start to see more of these kind of internet based campaigns here in Brussels.