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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

NACUBO and ACE Negotiate New Rates for College and University Radio Stations

May 4, 2012

After lengthy negotiations with the three performance rights organizations-ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC-the American Council on Education and NACUBO have reached a five-year agreement on rates paid by college and university radio stations not affiliated with National Pubic Radio.

The rates, negotiated every five years, were published by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) in the Federal Register on April 25 as proposed rules for comment. This is a required step in the negotiation process, and NACUBO does not anticipate any changes to the rates as proposed.


A year ago, citing the "precedent" of the higher, tier-based structure established for religious broadcasters in 2006, ASCAP and BMI presented ACE and NACUBO with a proposal that would have increased the five-year, aggregate payments by nearly 140 percent over 2008-12 levels. The associations retained outside counsel for the negotiations and vigorously opposed the proposals, finally agreeing upon terms just days before a deadline set by the CRB.

ACE and NACUBO significantly drove down the rates proposed by ASCAP and BMI; however, under the settled-upon rates, many institutions will see their rates rise well above the rate of inflation. ACE and NACUBO agreed to these rates only after negotiating them to a level that could be further lowered only by resorting to major litigation before the CRB.

The chart below explains the new royalty rates for ASCAP and BMI licenses (each) at non-NPR affiliated college and university radio stations:

Level FTE Students 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
1 <1,000 $319 $325 $332 $339 $345
2 1,000-4,999 369 376 384 392 399
3 5,000-9,999 505 515 525 535 546
4 10,000-19,999 655 668 681 695 708
5 20,000+ 882 838 855 872 890


The Level 1 rate will also apply to college and university radio stations with an authorized effective radiated power of 100 watts or less.


Negotiations with SESAC were less contentious and in line with past experience. For 2013, the royalty rate for an annual SESAC license will be $140. Rates for future years will adjust according to year-over-year changes in the Consumer Price Index or two percent, whichever is greater.

Payments for each license year are due to ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC by January 31 of that year.


Bryan Dickson
Senior Policy Analyst