Radio stations and record labels are being scrutinized once again by the likes of The Federal Communications Commission and New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer as a recently closed "first phase" of their investigation into radio consolidation and payola -- the practice of record labels paying radio stations for airplay -- drew to a close on November 1st. Raising the ante, you can add a new name into the mix, the federal government. While waiting to see what agency or committee ultimately takes charge, Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of Media Access Project, a public-interest law firm. "I can tell you that these issues aren't going away" reports Rolling Stone. Although direct pay-for-play is rare today, most record labels hire independent promoters who in turn pay radio stations for access to their programmers. Executives at some labels estimate it costs in the ballpark of $150,000 to get a song on commercial radio. Last year, musicians including Don Henley testified before the Senate Commerce Committee about the issue. "I know there's payola, because I get billed for it," he stated.
Read more about the developing story, including Sen John McCain's and the radio industries views, here.