Surbhi Bharadwaj

Yale’s student-run online radio station, WYBCx — which temporarily suspended operations earlier this week amid concerns that the station was violating licensing laws — has resolved its legal concerns and will resume activity on Thursday at noon.

In a Wednesday email to the Yale Radio community, WYBCx general manager Emma Keyes ’19 explained that the station had violated licensing laws because, for the “past few years,” it has not paid an annual $500 fee to SoundExchange, a nonprofit performance rights organization that manages royalties for sound recording copyright owners. Although WYBCx was never put on notice by SoundExchange, Keyes added, the station elected to suspend its stream until it assessed the situation and resolved any back payments. After reaching out to SoundExchange, the station has made the necessary back payments and received the all-clear to begin webcasting again.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their patience while we dealt with this situation,” Keyes told the News. “We’re excited for the rest of the semester.”

In the email, Keyes said she spoke with the WYBC board of governors and the station’s counsel about the violations but did not comment on how these initially came to her attention.

Once it returns to business as usual, the station must abide by two new requirements pursuant to its newly renewed SoundExchange license: First, broadcasters cannot play more than four tracks by the same artist or from a compilation album, within a three-hour period, and no more than three of those tracks may be transmitted consecutively, and second, broadcasters cannot play more than three tracks from the same album within a three-hour period, and no more than two of those tracks may be transmitted consecutively.

“We are going to discuss ways to monitor compliance going forward, but hope that from here on out everyone will value the station enough to ensure they are following these two rules,” Keyes said in the email.

Keyes encouraged anyone who might have concerns about how the new rules will affect the music they play to reach out to her. 

Kaan Cankat ’20, a member of WYBCx, said that while he will keep the new regulations in mind, he does not think they will significantly affect his music stream.

“I’m really relieved to hear that radio sorted out the licensing issue so smoothly and will be back on its feet,” Cankat said.

But in the same email that Keyes announced that WYBCx will resume operations, she notified students that a second shutdown is likely to occur “very soon” — this time for technical reasons. The station is getting a “much needed” new soundboard, Keyes said, meaning the stream will have to shut down for a couple of days while it is installed.

“We are going to do so during a slow period to make sure we minimize the impact as much as possible,” Keyes said. “We’ll let you know when that will happen. I realize a second shutdown might be frustrating, but the result will be a board that works all the time.”

Leland Stange ’19, a staff columnist for the News, who has hosted radio shows at WYBCx for the past three years, described last week’s licensing debacle as “ridiculous.” He added that the issue reflects a larger organizational problem at the station, noting that he has seen numerous technical irregularities.

The week before the licensing issue surfaced, Stange said, he could not hold his show because the soundboard had broken down. The main computer in the recording studio is also broken, according to Stange.

“There have been a million problems in the last three years. [Licensing] is just kind of the breakdown they had coming,” Stange said.

Still, Mark Rosenberg ’20, who currently runs two shows on WYBCx, said Keyes does a good job managing the station.

Keyes did not respond to questions on Wednesday night about the technological concerns.

WYBCx runs a magazine called “Relatively Dark Blue Neither Purple Nor Green.”

Britton O’Daly | britton.odaly@yale.edu

Jingyi Cui |  jingyi.cui@yale.edu