Entercom Radio, parent of WEEI has decided to no longer stream its radio stations over the internet, including WEEI starting tomorrow. This message is on the WEEI web site:

“We regret that as of tommorow we will no longer be streaming our radio station on line. Due to many factors we’ve had to make the difficult decision that this is no longer a service we can provide. You may or may not be aware of the many legal issues surrounding the streaming of music online. To keep it succinct – there are many and they are complex. As we all move into this new digital age we have to collectively figure out the new rules so that artists, record labels and the industry that supports them, Radio, can all win. That solution has not been found yet. It’s likely in the coming months you will hear more of this issue as it appears on the agenda in our nation’s capital. If you wish to learn more, we suggest this web site as a good place to start — http://saveinternetradio.org

Glen Ordway talked about this a little this afternoon and said strongly that this is not the choice of WEEI, its staff, and talent. It is solely a decision made by Entercom. You can voice displeasure with this by sending E-mail either to the WEEI shows individually, and they will forward them to management or you can also send it to publicrelations@entercom.com

The issue is about royalites being paid to artists, so it mostly applies to stations that play copyrighted music all day. As a talk station, WEEI has none of these issues, yet Entercom is making the blanket decision to just shut off all its stations from streaming on the internet. Last year USA Today had an article on this battle over rights on Internet radio. At the time the article was written the big deal was about commercials. Stations got around that by taking out the commercials played during the breaks and inserting other material. (If you’ve listened to WEEI on-line at all in the last month you likely wince at the words “fun run”) Now it’s about other copyrighted material. Ordway thinks they can talk some sense to the Entercom bigwigs, so keep the e-mails coming to them. This is likely just the start of many battles by the entertainment business against the digital encoding of almost any media property.