The FCC today issued a Public Notice announcing that it has approved four consent decrees settling its investigation into possible payola violations by several large radio broadcasters. A copy of the public notice summarizing the action is available here, and copies of the full consent decrees can be found on www.fcc.gov.
CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, Clear Channel Communications, Inc. and Entercom Communications Corp. each entered into a consent decree with the Commission to end the FCC’s investigation into possible violations of the payola rules for failing to provide the required sponsorship identification related to material broadcast on the stations. In addition to making a combined contribution of $12.5 million to the U.S. Treasury, the broadcasters agreed to implement certain business reforms and compliance measures, such as:
- Prohibiting stations and employees from exchanging airtime for cash or items of value except under certain circumstances;
- Placing limits on gifts, concert tickets, and other valuable items from record labels to company stations or employees;
- Appointing compliance officers who will be responsible for monitoring and reporting company performance under the consent decrees; and
- Providing regular training to programming personnel on payola restrictions.
The consent decrees contain a fair amount of detail regarding the documentation and monitoring that will be required by these stations under these agreements, as well as new details regarding the interaction between radio stations and record promoters. We are preparing a full summary of the consent decrees, along with an analysis of the impact these orders may have on broadcast radio, so check back early next week.