Report looks at nine radio groups.
ABC News will air an in-depth “Primetime” report Thursday evening (Feb. 9) on New York State attorney general Eliot Spitzer’s investigation into the alleged participation in payola by nine of the nation's radio groups. The segment will be anchored by ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross, who's hard-hitting reports on the music business date back to 1986, when he uncovered alleged organized crime ties to record promotion.
According to a teaser report on abc.com, Spitzer says evidence clearly shows some of the radio conglomerates have accepted payments from record companies and middlemen for guaranteed airplay.
"The behavior has been unethical, improper, illegal and a sanction of some severity clearly should be imposed," Spitzer told Ross.
The nine radio companies receiving subpoenas from the attorney general are Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Entercom, Emmis, Citadel, Cumulus, Cox, Pamal and ABC.
Spitzer says that much of the money went directly to corporate bottom lines, instead of PDs or disc jockeys, and that documents obtained from Sony BMG and Warner Music Group outline details of millions of dollars in payments, gifts and trips in exchange for airplay.
WMG became the second major label to settle with Spitzer’s office in November, agreeing to stop providing radio stations and their employees with financial incentives and promotional items in exchange for airplay of its recordings. The company also agreed to provide $5 million for distribution to New York State not-for-profits that fund programs aimed at music education and appreciation. Sony BMG earlier had entered into a similar $10 million settlement
In statements to ABC News, five of the radio companies say they are cooperating with the attorney general's investigation and take the matter seriously. The other companies have not responded to requests for comment.
The segment airs on the ABC television network at 10:30 Thursday evening.