Spitzer Critical Of FCC's Talks With Radio On Alleged Payola
April 4, 2006 at 6:54 AM (PT)
According to the LOS ANGELES TIMES, NEW YORK Attorney General ELIOT SPITZER told the AP yesterday (4/3) that "federal regulators were negotiating behind his back with radio station groups to settle allegations of illegal payments for airplay, potentially helping the companies avoid serious punishment."
While as many as 9 radio groups are under investigation by SPITZER, he contends that the FCC's talks with CLEAR CHANNEL, CBS RADIO, ENTERCOM, and CITADEL "would result in modest fines and reforms, could undercut his efforts to force tougher sanctions and rules on the industry."
Last month ENTERCOM was sued by SPITZER's office for alleged pay-for-play activities. ENTERCOM has denied the allegations and has reportedly turned down a $20-million settlement.
SPITZER took a swipe at the FCC: "The radio conglomerates want to settle on the cheap with the Feds and unfortunately the FCC, contrary to good public policy, has not pursued an investigation of the underlying facts. We have made repeated overtures to work with them. I'm still waiting to hear back."
The FCC has indicated it is willing to work with SPITZER. Spokesman DAVID FISKE said, "For many months we have been actively pursuing allegations of payola on the part of radio broadcasters. We appreciate cooperation with the New York attorney general's office and look forward to working with the New York attorney general in the future."