It was back in July when Rolling Stone wrote a lengthy piece that more than hinted that payola was alive and well in radio. Radio Ink followed that up with an interview with Tim Moore from the Audience Development Group, who also more than hinted that he’d been hearing about possible incidents of payola. All of that payola noise promoted FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly to tweet that he’d be looking into the matter by writing a letter to the music industry. He’s a man of his word.
On Wednesday, O’Reilly penned a letter to the CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America Mitch Glazier asking for answers. In that letter, O’Reilly cites the recent press reports with a request for help in ensuring that the practice be discontinued. “While some have asserted that current payola restrictions violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Commission is obligated to comply with the governing statute until instructed otherwise by the courts or by Congress.”
The Commissioner went on to say that the RIAA is uniquely situated to survey the practices of the music industry and help him respond to the press reports regarding alleging payola in order to help determine whether these allegations are occurring. “I also understand concerns have been raised regarding allegations of soliciting artist appearances and performances with implied or express threats against non-participation. I would be happy to review any information regarding these alleged practices as well.”
O’Rielly says his goal is to get to the bottom of existing industry practices to determine whether the law is being followed or whether any problematic conduct must be addressed. And, he would like a response by the end of September.
Read the full letter HERE.