Idea Thursday: The Podcast Puzzle

Hello NCRA/ANREC Members

With 108 stations we see hundreds of hours of unique programming being produced by your incredibly skilled volunteers each and every week. The issues surrounding taking that content and sharing it with a broader audience is not a new phenomena. Many of our stations operate a playback system where people can go to your website and listen to shows from weeks, months and in some cases years after. Many of our members are also already podcasting, but we don’t know how many.

Broadcast radio is incredibly ephemeral. If you are not tuned into that frequency at that moment in time, then that program, that knowledge that experience will pass you by. Podcasting is a way of capturing the stories from your broadcast and share it in parallel. It takes the incredible work already being done and shares it with a broader audience. Podcasting can elevate your local programming to a national, or international stage.

Some of our stations are already doing an exceptional job of this. During a visit to Montreal the NCRA/ANREC staff were told about a podcast series produced on the topic of Mustard that was hugely successful! The French language show was very well received in France, congrats CHOQ!

Audience Insights and Ulster Media in conjunction with the Globe and Mail recently completed an in-depth study of podcast listeners in Canada. The study revealed that 34% of the Canadian adult population have listened to podcasts in the past year, with 4% of the adult population listening to a podcast each day! (See the study here) This is a huge audience and one that you can easily tap into!

We know that the topic of Podcasting has come up multiple times on the email thread, at sessions at the NCRC and through community radio world. We want to work with our members to take these conversations to the next step. Action.

The NCRA/ANREC are considering creating a podcasting network, we envision it as a central depository for podcasts from all of our stations. Imagine trying to find a program on Jazz, only to land on a page where there are 12 hour long shows added each week! We feel that given the incredible content creation within our sector we can bring together this work and help improve discoverability, and the longevity of your programming.

We also see podcasting as a potential solution for the barrier facing larger stations. Schedule congestion is becoming an increasing concern as legacy programming dominates the time slots and new volunteers struggle for the few spots remaining. Podcasting could help to create an audience for their program even before a broadcast. Plus podcasting doesn’t have the same restrictions as radio, vis a vis length, frequency of release etc.

Are you already podcasting?

There are dozens of podcast distribution services (see our title image for a few!) with various benefits to each. Does your station currently use one of these services? Or is it down to each individual programmer? Do you listen to a podcast or network of podcast that is easy to use/search etc?

What do you think of the NCRA/ANREC’s idea of compiling programming into a national podcast network?

Please let me know!



Only one of our shows consistently podcasts (Terra Informa), but several of our other news shows, like Adamant Eve and Word Salad, occasionally post episodes. We would love to do share more of their work as podcasts, but we face a couple intersecting challenges:
1. We have very little budget for the infrastructure needed to do podcasting. The Terra Informa team actually pays for their own web hosting, domain name, and domain mapping. They host the episodes on a WordPress site, and use FeedBurner for syndication.
2. The best hosting option I've found for the rest of our news shows (the best option we can afford on that small budget) is a shared WordPress site. And it's a very cumbersome process to post episodes on there, because with so many shows sharing one blog, we couldn't just set up an RSS feed that grabs an audio file from every single post. Right now it's like a 15-step process to log in and get your episode pushed to the right place. So that friction reduces the amount of teams that actually have time to post episodes online.
3. We are being very cautious around podcasting anything with music that isn't CC-licensed. So one of our most successful news shows, Acimowin, isn't being podcasted because they don't have time to edit out the music from their show each week.
If there was an NCRA platform that could help us solve the first two challenges, we'd be thrilled. A cheap and simple platform to publish on.

CICK is making our podcasts available from our hosted site.  This is
good in that it is a simple process for programmers to upload their
recorded shows.  The problem is that we are limited on the size of the
archive we keep as monthly costs are having an impact.

If the NCRA was to build an archive that we could all share and easily
add our podcasts to, I would imagine that our monthly hosting costs
could be reduced..

Sounds good to me.


We've implemented podcasting on a single WordPress site using the Powerpress plugin. It allows Category Podcasting, which means there is a unique RSS feed for each Category, which in this case is mapped to a show.

It's a little rough, and I'm hoping to get some proper time to really clean it up, but it works, and each show can have it's own page (as a Category).
We're limited in storage, however, as we are just putting the files up on our webserver which was donated space. We limit our shows to the most recent 9 episodes (1 hour long, high quality mp3) for this reason. At that rate, we could get quite a lot of shows podcasted (something like between 30-40).
We are allowing anything to be podcasted, under the reasoning that it has already aired through our streaming service, and the licence is supposed to cover that. Also, it being up for a limited time gives some cover there, I think.
A shared network, especially with shared storage, could be really nice, although the network throughput is the more expensive thing rather than storage.
We've been looking into this idea and I'm planning on doing some more research. 

But in regards to your comments on space, the NCRA/ANREC is purchasing substantial volumes of space to support our !earshot Digital Distribution System, and we already provide space for our Community Radio Exchange. 

We would be looking to take RSS feeds from what you already have, or from our shows on the Community Radio Exchange and putting them into some sort of Directory. If this is something we can do then we will work on creating this into a service for our members. 

I also wanted to remind people of our Copyright Handbook which says the following: 

"There are no tariffs for podcasting, and we don’t expect any to be introduced in the foreseeable future.

This means that stations should be extra careful about posting content online. It’s acceptable to stream
content online, and to post archived shows for manual download, but liability can arise from posting
individual songs for download (unless additional online music services tariffs are paid), and offering
subscription-based podcasts without obtaining permission from copyright holders (there are no
podcasting tariffs and permission must be sought from copyright holders directly)."
Good topic. I have posted to those previous threads you mentioned but I'll mention it again to consolidate the info. We use Mixcloud which is only a streaming service, and some might not consider that a podcast service. They say they pay royalties and hence demand a playlist. Less worry about violating copyright was partly why we use it. A couple of programs use other services, we have a librarian show that uses for example.
One of my "big picture" plans for the station involves a parallel online stream for training, podcasts, and rebroadcasts.
I like the idea just for the fact it makes it easier for a jazz show (to use your example) to find other similar shows and see what they do. Cross-pollination is a good thing I think. 

What a timely post! One of our goals at LocalFM is to introduce podcasts of our shows for download. I haven't really looked into how to do so or if we have the space to do so, but it looks like we have the tools in place to make it happen and we've had a lot of demand from listeners to introduce this. 

A few of our shows (Party Sauce, Rope2Rope, Saint John Forward) do podcast their episodes, but they're paying out pocket for their domain and hosting services. We also have a few programs that syndicate via the program exchange, I'm sure that the programmers who produce those shows would love the idea of a central podcasting resource. 

I hate to be a voice of caution, but I guess I have a mixe dresponse to this idea, especially being something spearheaded at the NCRA level.

From what I understand of the quote below, and previous discussions on this email list, in situations where a station does not own all the content (for example, anything
where music is included) or have waivers / permission for any audio content that is not owned, then our tariffs do not include the right to podcast that content.  Podcasting has - at least as far as I understand it - been defined as providing any method for automatic download / automatic distribution - something as simple as providing an RSS feed to the audio files is considered outside of what is legally covered under our current tariff.

From what I understand we also do not have the right to upload audio content that we don't 100% own (or have waivers for) to any other site beyond our own station website since this would be considered "distribution".  This means no iTunes, no Bandcamp, no Soundcloud, etc.

And now the NCRA is proposing and suggesting setting up a system which would essentially encourage stations to do something that is not covered by our tariffs and by their own admission puts stations in a questionable legal situation.  Essentially this "podcast network" would encourage stations to do what we've been told is not legal to do.

Unless I've misunderstood something I would think that the NCRA should distance itself from any such project.  In my view it is fine to say "you're not legally covered to provide an RSS feed to your audio unless you own 100% of the content or have waivers / permission on file for all the audio content" and then allow each station to decide what they want to do, accepting any risks on their own.  It is another thing to say "You're not legally covered for this, but we're going to encourage / help you do it anyway!"

Am I missing something here?

Forgive my potential ignorance... but if we were to promote a ‘listen again’ network, where all the content was available to stream from a server (or servers); didn’t offer downloads; and didn’t use the word ‘podcast’ at any point... would that be within the spirit of the legislation/tariffs that we’re currently bound by?

Loving this discussion by the way - it’s like a continuation of the great “Radio as a Medium” session from the last conference that Mark Kilfoil headed up. Definitely valuable (vital?) for supplementing the medium as we all continue to face the developments in media. 
First, there are 3 copyright collectives involved in licensing the use of music to radio stations: SOCAN, Re:Sound, and CMRRA-SODRAC (sometimes called CSI).  I would not say that we have working relationships with any of them except possibly SOCAN.  
Second, the NCRA's Copyright Guide was not developed with input from any of the collectives.  Instead, we worked with copyright legal expert at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, David Fewer, who advised us on the content of the guide.
Third, no current copyright tariff covers podcasting, and no tariffs for podcasting are proposed.  The law with respect to podcasting is presently unclear even to experienced copyright lawyers, and no one seems to be certain whether or to what extent podcasters could be held responsible for paying additional licensing fees, or to which collectives, or what must be done to avoid it.  I've been erring on the side of caution in advising that podcasters are required to obtain permission from copyright holders to include their music in podcasts.  That's the only 100% certain way to avoid liability for copyright infringement.  Although as I've also explained, if a copyright holder believes a station is infringing copyright, the first step is a cease and desist letter asking the station to take down the content.  Complying with the letter would generally end the matter, so I believe the risk to stations is fairly small.
That said, SOCAN appears to have taken the position recently that payment of tariff 22F for audio websites could include permission to podcast.  However, except for our web-only members, no NCRA members are currently required to pay 22F and I don't know whether it is possible for a radio station that is subject to tariff 1B to get additional coverage by paying 22F (the wording of 22F suggests that it isn't).  Regardless, if SOCAN really does take that position, then the NCRA (which already pays 22F because it's not a radio station and has a website containing audio) would be covered by that tariff to provide podcasts produced by member stations, even if those stations don't have copyright permission to distribute the podcasts themselves.  We're trying to explore whether that's a real possibility, whether we misunderstood, or whether the SOCAN staff person who explained it was incorrect.
To answer Adam's question from CJNU, the existing tariffs that c/c radio stations pay do cover all streaming audio (including simulcasts, repeated material, and new webcasts separate from the FM signal), so that is not an issue.  One-off downloads of individual programs (e.g. where you go to a website and click to download a specific chunk of audio) are also not an issue as far as I know.
I hope that clears a few things up.
It's not presently clear whether CMRRA-SODRAC or Re:Sound are interested in podcasts at all.  Re:Sound to date has only taken an interest in licensing web streaming, but not downloads, but I don't know enough to predict whether that could change. 

You may recall that CMRRA-SODRAC is only in the business of licensing the right to make copies of their clients' copyrighted material.  I don't think there is legal agreement about whether podcasting counts as making a separate copy such that CMRRA-SODRAC would have a right to charge further licensing fees.  
Also, the Copyright Board released a new decision in August on an esoteric concept called the "making available right", and the implications of that for podcasting are also unknown.  I asked counsel for CAB about this recently and he said he thinks that the copyright collectives (I'm not sure which one(s)) might might try to monetize it someday in the context of podcasts produced by radio stations, but they'll start with stuff that will make them money first, and we'll be low priority.  

Thanks to everyone for starting this discussion.  One of the main reasons we joined the NCRA recently is to get a better handle on the streaming/podcasting regulations that govern our sector.


Just as a sidenote:

My recent discussion with Re:Sound revealed that stations that podcast/stream, and monetize their websites have to submit monthly advertising revenues and pay an additional $100 for tarrif 1b.  Once this revenue surpasses $1.2 million there's a percentage of annual that kicks in.


Thanks again, and looking forward to joining the conversation about this.

Re:Sound has given you incorrect information (and this is not the first time they've done that - their staff don't seem to know the wording of their own tariffs and always tell non-profits that they have to pay more than they are actually required to pay).  
The Re:Sound webcasting tariff is here:
The entire portion pertaining to non-commercial broadcasters says this:  
"Non-commercial Webcasters 3. (1) The royalties payable for all webcasts carried out by a noncommercial webcaster shall be $25 per year. (2) The payment made pursuant to subsection (1) shall be accompanied by a description of the webcast services the webcaster offers or intends to offer. (3) Except to the extent required by subsection (2), a webcaster that is subject to this section is not subject to section 9."
In case you're wondering what non-commercial webcaster means, it says this in the definition section:
"“non-commercial webcaster” means any webcaster other than the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, that is owned and operated by a not-for-profit organization including any campus webcaster and community webcaster, whether or not any part of the webcaster’s operating costs is funded by advertising revenues;"
There is absolutely nothing in that tariff that restricts non-commercial webcasters from monetizing their websites, nor is there anything that places caps on the amount of revenue non-commercial webcasters can raise in the course of their webcasting activities, as long as they are operating on a not-for-profit basis.  As long as they are non-commercial, the tariff is fixed at $25 per year with no exceptions.  And that applies to all of any given non-commercial webcaster's activities, so if your station ha both a simulcast and a separate webstream, you still only pay $25/year.

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