Reports: Criticism Of Sponsor ID Revision Proposal Grows
March 18, 2015 at 3:56 AM (PT)
The FCC's request for comment for a proposal by the RADIO BROADCASTERS COALITION to alter, if not diminish, the ways radio station identify paid programming (NET NEWS, 3/13), has elicited what the NEW YORK TIMES reports as “fresh concerns about one of the music industry’s most enduring scandals -- payola.” In essence, the broadcasters want to reduce the number of sponsorship IDs down from before and/or after the sponsored song (or sports broadcast) to a blanket on-air statement aired once a day – that refers listeners to a website for specific sponsorship details.
“First they want to lump all the ‘we accepted payola’ announcements into a single announcement broadcast three times a day. The idea here is you wouldn’t really know you were listening to a payola song. Even if you heard the announcement you wouldn’t necessarily be able to put the sponsorship with the song … After a transition period, they would only do a single block announcement once a day.”
And what would such an announcement sound like. The broadcasters offered such an example in their request:
“Some of the music [and/or] sports programming that you hear on this station is sponsored [or paid for] by INTERSCOPE, SONY, UNIVERSAL RECORDS, or the WASHINGTON NATIONALS. For additional information, please visit our website at http://www.WXYZ.com or contact the station at ... firstname.lastname@example.org, or 202-555-1234.”
Why should radio cut down on the on-air mentions for an online listing? The TIMES reports that the broadcasters said, “because it would result in listeners’ having access to more information in a more user-friendly and satisfying way.”
In their request, the broadcasters also cited examples why having on-air sponsorship announcements are an inefficient way of notifying the public: “Broadcast disclosures are fleeting, and can be interrupted by the honking of a horn; they can be interrupted when a car is in a tunnel, or when a driver receives a call on a mobile phone and mutes the radio. Unlike the spoken word, online disclosures will remain available long after a broadcast disclosure has disappeared into the ether.”
“This has nothing to do with repealing payola,” iHEARTMEDIA spokeswoman WENDY GOLDBERG told the TIMES.
“If this were to happen, it would seal the deal for commercial radio just being a closed system for large media companies to promote their products,” FUTURE OF MUSIC COALITION CEO CASEY RAE countered.
The members of the coalition include BEASLEY BROADCAST GROUP, COX ENTERPRISES, CROMWELL GROUP, EMMIS COMMUNICATIONS, ENTERCOM COMMUNICATIONS, FIRST NATCHEZ RADIO GROUP, GREATER MEDIA, HENSON MEDIA and IHEARTMEDIA. The TIMES reports the petition “was dated NOV. 26th but not revealed until FRIDAY, when the FCC announced that it would accept public comments on the proposal through APRIL 13th. A spokesman for the agency said its backlog of work prevented the petition from being processed sooner.”