- Amid grumbling that radio consolidation has led to a rash of bad music and rampant “payola” schemes that hurt independent artists, policy makers offered a sympathetic ear.
“If you don’t have the money to play in the system, you are shut out,” said Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) on the topic of radio payola. “You’ve got to pay to play.”
Feingold said he will reintroduce legislation this year to ban “the current shakedown system” of payola, bar companies that own both radio stations and concert promoters from using their leverage to bully artists and record labels and strengthen the Federal Communication Commission’s radio merger review process. It would also close loopholes allowing companies to exceed current ownership caps by controlling stations through third parties.
“Radio is a public medium, and we must ensure that it serves the public good,” he said.
Feingold said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will likely support the bill and could hold hearings on the issue — although a spokeswoman for the Senate Commerce Committee was less committal, saying McCain “is interested in the issue, and he’s looking at it.” [Wired News]
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