I blog for enjoyment, or to bring order to the chaos of my mind, or to stimulate others to response through expression of my own opinions. But this post is a plea for information which might help me understand what on earth is going on at Radio Cymru. Its like watching a dear friend, having fallen seriously ill, and through ignorance of what medication is needed, being helpless to offer advice. Lets just consider the facts as I understand them. And I am open to correction.
In 2007, the Performing Rights Society decided that Welsh recording artists were being overpaid 'appearance money' when their music was being played on Radio Cymru. The PRS claimed it had calculated the payments on a mistaken formula, and 'corrected' the position by reducing the payments very significantly. The performers were and remain understandably disgruntled, and 331 of them have formed an 'negotiating body' called Eos, which has been negotiating with the BBC to establish a new payment regime. The BBC, on the other hand, reckon they have offered a generous increase. Eos disagree with this. From today there is impasse. We observers look on with incomprehension at what looks like a uncontrolled trip over a fiscal cliff, and all set to English music.
Radio Cymru, from today is playing music in mostly the English Language. This is a catastrophe for Radio Cymru. Its a catastrophe for the Welsh Language. And its a catastrophe for the artists who perform 'yn yr Iaith Cymraeg'. No other way of putting it. Radio Cymru receives annually £13.5 million of licence fee money, and has a weekly audience of about 150,000 - and its not even playing Welsh Language music, the point of its existence. This is lose/lose/lose.
And now to the advice and help I need. Are the artists demanding an unrealistic fee of Radio Cymru for the use of their music when there is no other output in the market for it? Or is the BBC trying to manipulate a monopoly position to secure rights to use music performed by Welsh Language artists on the unacceptable 'cheap'? No idea. Only hope I can see of extricating Radio Cymru from this total 'llanast' is through the extraordinary negotiating skills of Elan Clos Stephens. There will be many, like me, who are shaking their heads in bewilderment at what looks like self-inflicted damage.