The New York Times reported that Infinity Broadcasting has fired a programmer suspected of accepting gift certificates from an independent record promoter.
The newspaper article said the matter raised "the specter of the payola scandals ... according to radio and record label executives."
According to the Times, Infinity conducted an internal investigation and found that John McCrae, programmer for four Rochester stations, accepted an unspecified sum's worth of gift certificates sent for use in listener contests or station promotions.
"Internal worries about Mr. McCrae," the Times reported, "were one factor that prompted this week's decision by top Infinity executives to break off the company's relationships with independent promoters - the middlemen who have long been used by the major record labels to push new songs to programmers," citing interviews with industry executives.
"The move comes as federal and New York authorities are taking a fresh look at the music industry's practices for influencing which songs reach the airwaves," it continued. "The Federal Communications Commission has been reviewing the issue, and representatives of Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney general, have been interviewing record executives about their contacts with independent promoters."
Infinity declined to comment to the Times, which also said McCrae did not return phone calls.