Spitzer Payola Probe Moves To Radio Groups
February 8, 2006 at 6:56 AM (PT)
NEW YORK STATE Attorney General ELLIOT SPITZER says that his office's two-year long payola investigation is turning to the nation's nine largest radio conglomerates.
SPITZER speaking with reporter BRIAN ROSS from the ABC-TV news program PRIMETIME, said that evidence he has gathered clearly shows some of the radio conglomerates have accepted payments from record companies and middlemen for guaranteed airplay for certain songs. "The behavior has been unethical, improper, illegal and a sanction of some severity clearly should be imposed," said SPITZER.
The behavior has been unethical, improper, illegal and a sanction of some severity clearly should be imposed.
SPITZER told ROSS that record company documents obtained in the investigation of SONY MUSIC and WARNER BROTHERS -- both who have settled with the attorney general -- revealed payments for songs that became major hits, including JENNIFER LOPEZ's "I'm Real" and JOHN MAYER's "Daughters." Other artists named in the documents include JESSICA SIMPSON, CELINE DION, MAROON 5, GOOD CHARLOTTE, FRANZ FERDINAND, SWITCHFOOT, MICHELLE BRANCH and R.E.M.
SPITZER claims that the new alleged payola differed from previous payola scandals in that much of the money went directly to the companies as opposed to DJs. "We have people in suits coming in with documents rather than cash payments under the table to a DJ," said SPITZER.
The nine companies that have received subpoenas are CLEAR CHANNEL, CBS RADIO, ENTERCOM, EMMIS, CITADEL, CUMULUS, COX, PAMAL and ABC. In statements to ABC NEWS, five of the companies have said that they are cooperating wiht the investigation and take the matter seriously, while the other four have not yet responded to requests for comment. A number of smaller, independent broadcasters are also under investigation.
The FCC also has it's own payola investigation under way, but SPITZER questioned the forcefulness of that investigation, telling ABC NEWS, "I would like to see the FCC more directly involved in addressing what is very clearly a payola scandal that has run rife through the industry."
The PRIMETIME program covering this subject is slated to air this THURSDAY evening (2/9) on ABC-TV.