Sen. Russ Feingold, D., Wisconsin sent a letter this morning (Feb. 9) to Commerce Committee chairman Sen. Ted Stevens, R., Alaska, and co-chair Sen. Daniel Inouye, D., Hawaii, asking them to schedule

Sen. Russ Feingold, D., Wisconsin sent a letter this morning (Feb. 9) to Commerce Committee chairman Sen. Ted Stevens, R., Alaska, and co-chair Sen. Daniel Inouye, D., Hawaii, asking them to schedule in a hearing on payola.

In the letter, Feingold says the topic of payola should be brought up during a currently-scheduled hearing on FCC activities, but says “I respectfully ask that you hold a separate hearing on this [payola] topic as well to better explore the problem and potential solutions. I also encourage you to invite Attorney General Spitzer, the FCC Commissioners and music, radio and concert industry representatives to testify before you.”

A Commerce Committee spokesman told Billboard Radio Monitor it was too early to determine if a new hearing might be scheduled to handle the topic. The FCC hearing Feingold mentions was originally slated for next Wednesday, Feb. 15, but has been postponed, pending the confirmation of Robert M. McDowell as the FCC’s fifth commissioner.

Last year, Feingold introduced a bill, S. 2058, the “Radio and Concert Disclosure and Competition Act of 2005” that he said “would attack this problem, in part, through improved disclosure of the transactions that can be used as cover for illicit activities.”

That bill would also limit the cross-ownership of radio stations and concert promoters and venues, Feingold said, calling those “relationships that are too often implicitly or explicitly used to exert untoward pressure on recording artists, and that are also unfair to other unaffiliated smaller radio stations and concert promoters.”