FCC Investigations Of Payola Urged On By Future Of Music Coalition
February 15, 2006
The Future of Music Coalition (FMC) has announced its support for the recently revealedFCC investigations into payola allegations via a letter to the Commission. The FMC urges that the investigations be completed before any further rulemakings would be put into place that could allow further radio deregulation, or the granting of additional resources to commercial radio broadcasters during the transition to HD radio.
"The payola laws are clear," said FMC executive director Jenny Toomey. "Stations that engage in this practice are putting their licenses at risk. What is unclear for musicians and citizens, however, is whether the laws will be enforced. We hope that the FCC will take the evidence gathered in numerous proceedings and by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to fully investigate these practices and hold bad actors accountable."
Furthermore, the FMC also stressed to the FCC that payola cannot be examined outside the context of the drastic consolidation in the radio industry under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. "We're at a critical point in the regulatory landscape," said FMC policy director Michael Bracy. "Congress is working on a revision to the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The FCC is about to re-start media ownership proceedings. Terrestrial radio stations just launched dozens HD radio stations in key markets. We need to make sure that the public airwaves are managed in a way that benefits musicians and citizens."
If the allegations of radio payola were found to be true, the FMC advocates that the Commission should pledge to hold those responsible in the radio industry accountable and to take steps to protect and expand non-commercial radio, including low power FM. Furthermore, the FMC said that the Commission should not make any rule changes that could help aid in further consolidation in parallel media markets, including lifting the ban on broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership.