Infinity Broadcasting GMs and PDs in all formats were told in a series of regional conference calls that they are to cease communicating with independent promoters. Some have also been instructed to r

Infinity Broadcasting GMs and PDs in all formats were told in a series of regional conference calls that they are to cease communicating with independent promoters. Some have also been instructed to reduce their stations' spot loads.

Independent promoters are already up in arms over the news that the company is severing ties with them, effective immediately. Says one country indie, "It's getting harder and harder for the legitimate indies to participate in this business."

Infinity's move comes a year and a half after Clear Channel cut its ties with independent promoters. Bowing to pressure from several members of Congress, Clear Channel announced on April 9, 2003, that its approximately 1,200 radio stations would no longer work with indies.

The Infinity changes come on the heels of a campaign against payola by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. EMI is among the companies that have received a request from Spitzer's office seeking information "in connection with the promotion of records on New York radio stations." Independent promoters and radio stations were served with subpoenas as well, sources told Billboard earlier this month.

Meanwhile, sources within Infinity say the company has capped its commercial loads. Mornings are allotted 14 spots per hour (and a total of 18 "interruptions" per hour, including such items as paid weather sponsorships), while other parts of the day may have 12 spots per hour (and 16 total "interruptions") . However, an Infinity spokesperson says there is no companywide spot-load policy. She confirms that the company, which operates 184 radio stations, has reduced spot loads on a case-by-case basis.

On the spot-load issue, Infinity once again is following Clear Channel's lead. The latter company announced earlier this year that it would play fewer commercials and promos and would do shorter spot breaks at all of its stations.

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