FCC Launches Payola Investigation Against Sony/BMG

[b]FCC Plans Payola Investigation[/b] Settlement May Reflect Broad Violation, Commissioner Says By Arshad Mohammed Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, August 9, 2005; Page D02 The Federal Communications Commission said yesterday it would investigate Sony BMG Music Entertainment’s payola settlement with New York state to see whether anyone involved broke the FCC’s pay-for-play rules, which can bring civil fines of up to $32,500 per violation. Sony BMG last month agreed to pay $10 million to settle allegations by New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer that some of its workers lavished cash, trips and other bribes on radio stations to get its music on the air. FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said he was “very concerned” about the activities that gave rise to Spitzer’s investigation and ordered the commission’s enforcement bureau to study the Sony BMG agreement for “evidence of payola violations.”