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Fee or No Fee for a Secondary Channel?

Still to be worked out in the Tomorrow Radio concept is whether commercial stations would have to pay a fee for creating the supplemental channel

Still to be worked out in the Tomorrow Radio concept is whether commercial stations would have to pay a fee for creating the supplemental channel. Noncommercial stations are exempt from Ibiquity royalties for data services.

When Ibiquity developed its license agreements for broadcasters, it included a 3 percent fee that stations would owe the technology developer, a fee calculated from the total of any data revenues made by commercial stations in the future. Yet this was envisioned before stations began converting to digital and before the data possibilities with HD Radio seemed more viable.

When asked if the data fee of 3 percent still holds, or if it could be subject to discussion, Ibiquity Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Jury said, “This is the model we are working towards today. But, having said that, we continue to work with the industry on the topic since the business models around datacasting are still being developed. So yes, it is up for discussion.”

Broadcast engineering sources at CES indicated that whether there would be a fee and how much that figure might be for commercial stations could be contentious questions.

At its winter board meeting in January, NAB Radio Board members discussed the supplemental audio concept, some favorably, according to NAB; but a spokesman characterized the discussions as preliminary. The trade association has no position yet on the supplemental channel concept.

The Tomorrow Radio partners have met with some NAB staff members and said they received a favorable response, according to Michael Riksen, NPR’s vice president of government relations.

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