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Ask MPR Mailbag

August 08, 2006

Can the playlists display upcoming music?

Why does the MPR Web site not show what is playing on KSJN now and to be played the rest of the day? Tried to see what was playing on KSJN at 7:11 PM. The playlist goes only until 7:00 PM. Tried to see what was on the opera show tonight, and it shows just the operas for June, none for July. Can this be made to be relevant, and informational?

Roseville, MN

Dear Tom, in the broadcast industry, the practice of publishing a music playlist in advance is called "forward-promotion".

We have stopped forward-promoting classical music selections in order to bring us into compliance with the recording industry's anti-piracy watchdog group, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The RIAA estimates that the industry loses a whopping $4.2 billion each year to piracy. They also believe that forward-promotion encourages bootlegging - that is, the unauthorized recording of radio broadcasts.

This didn't used to be a problem back when folks recorded the odd music selection from their radio onto a cassette tape. But now that people can burn their own CDs and share mp3 files with other computer users around the world, it's harder for record labels to control access to their product.

For this reason, the RIAA has asked that we stop forward-promoting our daily playlists, and we have complied. Keep in mind, though, that you can always see what music is currently playing, and what was played earlier in the day, by visiting the classical music programming playlist on our Web site.

You can also see the listings of upcoming opera broadcasts on MPR's Web site for The Opera.

Michael Popham
Minnesota Public Radio Member Listener Services