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FCC Indie Music Deal May End Payola Probe

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The FCC is pondering a proposal that would put an end to a number of ongoing payola investigations that are currently underway, according to a report by MediaWeek.

Little in the way of specific information has been made available, but sources have said that the proposal would require radio stations to commit a portion of their airtime to play music that was produced independently from a major label. The stations would also agree to a code of conduct as well as an education program. This would be in exchange for a cessation of the current investigations with no admission of wrongdoing from the broadcasters or music publishers involved.

The source did not explain what would qualify as independently produced music. Nor did there appear to be provisions to ensure that indeed music was given time beyond the Sunday morning 6-8 AM church drive time slot.

The current FCC chairman Kevin Martin has been trying to reach a settlement in this latest spate of payola inquiries which were first brought to public attention by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in 2004. Spitzer has been subsequently elected as Governor of New York and there has appears to be little further progress or even apparent interest in pursuing the matter on the part of the FCC.

Federal law and FCC regulations both require that broadcasters must clearly disclose when they have been paid to broadcast certain material and by whom.

Before being appointed Chairman, Martin served on the Bush-Cheney election team in Florida and the President's transition team. Before working on the campaign, Martin was employed with Wiley Rein & Fielding, which is regarded as one of the top telecommunications lobby firms. He also served as an advisor to former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers