Launches Major Payola Investigation
Statement by Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein
I applaud the Chairman’s
decision to launch an investigation into the payola scandal uncovered by
New State Attorney General Spitzer. The Commission has an affirmative,
statutory obligation to enforce federal payola laws, and we should
enforce them vigorously.
I believe this payola
scandal may represent the most widespread and flagrant violation of any
FCC rules in the history of American broadcasting.
Mr. Spitzer’s office has collected a mountain of evidence on
the potentially illegal promotion practices of not only Sony BMG, but
also other major record companies, independent promoters and several of
the largest radio station groups.
The airwaves belong to the
public, not the highest bidder. The
vitality of radio is sapped when music is selected based on bribes
rather than merit. Radio
listeners are deprived of hearing the freshest music, local artists and
creative genius because the labels are predetermining what they get to
hear -- and paying to get it played.
We owe it to the American public, music lovers and creative
artists – the ones who are hurt the most – to end this deception.