FCC 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.