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ReelRadio Suspends New Subscriptions, Renewals

Vintage aircheck site is also scoping airchecks under RIAA threat

Vintage aircheck website ReelRadio is telling customers the company is now scoping the music out of its classic airchecks that are streamed online. For those new to the industry, “scoping” removes most of the music from a recording, just leaving a little bit of the intro and outro so what remains is more of the voice of the on-air jock and news anchor, in addition to the other program elements.

The Recording Industry Association of America told the aircheck repository company launched in 1996 it wasn’t complying with the conditions of its license, according to ReelRadio President Richard Irwin.

“The RIAA has determined that our service fails to meet the requirements for ‘archived programs,’ which must be at least five hours in duration and may not be made available for more than two weeks. The service must also display the title, artist and album of each featured song, but only while the recording is being performed,” says the owner in a letter today to customers.

No single aircheck the company owns last for five hours and the streaming technology ReelRadio uses doesn’t allow for real-time metadata like song, title and artist, to be included in the media file.

So for now, ReelRadio has suspended streaming some 1,147 unscoped airchecks in an attempt to show the RIAA it’s trying to comply, according to Irwin, who adds the music licensing publisher also wants the company to get permission from the copyright owners of these vintage broadcasts. Saying that would be difficult is an understatement, given that many of the stations the airchecks came from have changed hands and call letters many times over the years, points out Irwin.

Currently the site is not offering renewals or subscriptions while Irwin tries to address the issue.