Red Wolf Challenges Citadel Licenses Over 'Airbound' Show
November 21, 2006 at 1:25 PM (PT)
RED WOLF BROADCASTING, which filed against the renewal of nine CITADEL radio licenses on MARCH 1, has filed a new petition with the FCC asking it to deny the renewals of 15 more CITADEL stations, alleging violations of the FCC's sponsorship-identification rule, specifically involving CITADEL's "pay-for-play" "AIRBOUND" program that RED WOLF attorney ARTHUR BELENDIUK describes in the filing as "a series of 12 or so commercials masquerading as a bona fide radio program."
BELENDIUK notes that NEW YORK Attorney General (and Governor-elect) ELIOT SPITZER's investigation into payola and settlement agreements with the labels show that four labels spent up to $11,500/week for airplay on "AIRBOUND"; the complaint includes copies of 52 "AIRBOUND" programs, which RED WOLF alleges were composed of front- and back-sells "scripted" by the labels ("In many cases, it is a shameless pitch for the record, the artist, or some record company related tie-in or promotion"). RED WOLF's complaint focuses on the alleged failure of CITADEL to identify the front- and back-sells as commercials except for a brief disclaimer at the end of the show referring to "promotional consideration" from a list of labels.
The stations involved in the present complaint are WQGN/GROTON-NEW LONDON, CT; WPRO-F/PROVIDENCE; WXLO/FITCHBURG-WORCESTER; WWYL/CHENANGO BRIDGE, NY; WIOG/BAY CITY-SAGINAW; WBHT/MOUNTAIN TOP-SCRANTON; WSSX/CHARLESTON, SC; KKMG/PUEBLO, CO; KLAL/WRIGHTSVILLE-LITTLE ROCK; WFHN/FAIRHAVEN-NEW BEDFORD, MA; WNTQ/SYRACUSE; WEDG/BUFFALO; KSMB/LAFAYETTE, LA; WJBQ/PORTLAND, ME; WMME/AUGUSTA, ME; KKWD/BETHANY-OKLAHOMA CITY; and KZMG/NEW PLYMOUTH-BOISE. WQGN and WPRO-F were also named in the MARCH filing, while those stations and WWYL, WIOG, WBHT, WSSX, KKMG, KAL, WFHN, WNTQ, WEDG, and KSMB were named in a SEPTEMBER 8, 2005 complaint by RED WOLF against CITADEL. RED WOLF, headed by JOHN FULLER, owns WBMW/LEDYARD-NEW LONDON, CT and WWRX/PAWCATUCK-NEW LONDON, CT.