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Broadcasters Ask FCC For Payola Waiver

WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — A group of radio broadcasters has asked the FCC for a waiver of the requirement that radio stations notify listeners on air when a sponsor or promoter has paid for a particular piece of programming, including a song.

According to the New York Times, the Radio Broadcasters Coalition, which includes iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel), Cox, Emmis Communications and Entercom, are instead asking for permission to notify listeners online, saying that it would be more convenient. The coalition also argued that the change would be in the public interest “because it would result in listeners’ having access to more information in a more user-friendly and satisfying way” the Times reported.

The petition was originally filed in November of last year, but only came to light last week after the FCC announced that they were seeking public comments on the proposal through April 13th.

The change appears to have been a long-term goal of Broadcasters such as iHeartMedia. During a previous FCC hearing in 2012, Robert Pittman, iHeart's chairman and CEO, told commissioners that the FCC could help terrestrial radio by allowing them to enter into 'strategic partnerships' that will enhance the listening experience while 'ensuring that audiences receive sponsorship information appropriate to today’s digital environment.'

Since its revelation, the proposal has drawn criticism from artists and advocacy groups, who contend that the change would be harmful for the public and the music industry.

“If this were to happen, it would seal the deal for commercial radio just being a closed system for large media companies to promote their products,” said Casey Rae, chief executive of the Future of Music Coalition told the New York Times. – Staff Writers