Spitzer's Relationship With Radio Makes It To NY Newspaper
March 17, 2008 at 5:31 AM (PT)
It's always interesting when the mainstream press covers what one would think is an "inside" the business story. Last, it was coverage of radio's reaction to ARBITRON PPM issues. This time, it's the ELIOT SPITZER scandal and resignation. DAVID HINKLEY in THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS writes:
One of the many gleeful ELIOT SPITZER jokes circulating in radio for the last week notes that SPITZER leaned hard on radio a couple of years back with allegations of "payola," a practice wherein record labels or their promoters give a radio station "considerations" in return for their tunes getting on-air exposure. Pay-for-play, it's called, and in early 2007 CITADEL, CBS, ENTERCOM and CLEAR CHANNEL coughed up $12.5 million in a payola "consent decree" that admitted no wrongdoing.
It was a shakedown, that's all it was. He'd threaten that if you didn't sign the decree, he'd make your life miserable and cost you more millions in legal fees.
So after SPITZER's hooker habit was outed, the joke immediately circulated through radio that "I guess he's in favor of pay-for-play after all."
That was by no means the most pointed SPITZER joke. A YOUTUBE video satirizes the "Real Men of Genius" ad, intoning that SPITZER's "payola" campaign cost radio tens of millions of dollars and has made it almost impossible to run once-basic contests like CD and ticket giveaways, because whenever a record company furnishes promotional items now, it might look suspicious.
A top executive at one of the companies that signed the consent decree says, "It was a shakedown, that's all it was. He'd threaten that if you didn't sign the decree, he'd make your life miserable and cost you more millions in legal fees." Like many other folks, this executive says Spitzer's "arrogance" made dealings needlessly unpleasant.
Meanwhile, the man who becomes NEW YORK Governor TODAY has been considered a friend of radio for most of his life. DAVID PATERSON has been a frequent on-air guest at various stations over the years and his friends have long included the SUTTON family, owners of INNER CITY Urban AC WBLS and Gospel WLIB.
But radio won't miss ELIOT SPITZER. The way radio sees it, he played, he paid and MONDAY he's gone.