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FCC Reviewing Payola Settlement

FCC Reviewing Payola Settlement

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has promised swift action if his team looking into the settlement between Sony BMG and the office of New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer turns up evidence of payola.
In a statement, Martin said he is concerned about the activities that led up to the New York investigation and has directed the Enforcement Bureau to review the settlement. Spitzer has said he would share findings with the commission.
Spitzer and Sony recently announced Sony agreed to pay $10 million and stop paying radio employees to feature its artists, settling a yearlong investigation into allegations of pay-for-play. FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., called for the payola issue to be addressed on a national scale.
Martin said the bureau would investigate complaints of payola rule violations outside the settlement as well.
Adelstein applauded Martin’s decision, saying, “This payola scandal may represent the most widespread and flagrant violation of any FCC rules in the history of American broadcasting.” He also referred to “a mountain of evidence” Spitzer’s office collected on the potentially illegal promotion practices of “other major record companies, independent promoters and several of the largest radio station groups.”
“Broadcasters must comply with these (payola) rules,” the chairman stated. “The commission will not tolerate non-compliance. While payola may not be a widespread practice in the broadcasting industry, to the extent it is going on, it must stop.”