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Thursday, March 9, 2006

Is Entercom practicing payola?

Posted by on March 9 at 12:38 PM

According to New York Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, they are.

Hits Daily Double reported that Entercom is the first to get hit in the investigation of radio payola.

The lawsuit filed today in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleges that Entercom:

*Traded air time for gifts and other payments
*Traded air time for promotional items and personal trips
*Solicited and accepted payments from record labels for air time
*Instituted corporate programs, supported and directed by senior management, that sold air time to record labels in order to manipulate the music charts

The press release also cited an e-mail where an Entercom executive admitted to not wanting to work with indie promoters, since record companies are more generous.

“As of this date I choose not to work with an `indie.” My program director Dave Universal is vehemently opposed to working with an indie…..Dave generates $90,000+ in record company annually for WKSE. I receive a weekly update of adds and dollars from Dave ….Forcing Dave to work with an indie at this time is the wrong move.”


The 67-page document, which contains many of the e-mails, can be found at Spitzer’s website.

Locally speaking, Entercom owns seven Seattle radio stations, including KNDD 107.7 the End, KMTT 103.7 the Mountain, and KISW 99.9.

I have been going on-air at the End for a couple years now (mostly doing concert listings on the now-defunct Morning Alternative and most recently sitting in with harms on the Young and the Restless) so this sorta leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve e-mailed the End to see how they respond. I’ll let you know as soon as I find out.

UPDATE: The End’s station manager, Phil Manning, is not allowed to comment on the lawsuit.

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In other late breaking news: Earth still round, Paris Hilton still famous and George Bush still doin' a heckuva job!

payola is nothing more than standard business practice for the music industry. or, for that matter, pretty much any industry that is in the practice of garnering success for its product, whether it be a rock band or a pair of limited edition tennis shoes.

frankly, the lawsuit seems like a good promo tool for corporate radio. with listener numbers rapidly dwindling, a well-publicized legal battle is just what they need to gain attention.

what isn't mentioned in your slog post is how concerts like The End's Ednfest and Deck The Hall Ball have been identified as payola - bands play for free or below market price in exchange for airplay. The station sells the tickets and makes a profit. It will be interesting if The End is allowed to do it again this year.

that's always been a defining point for the end. they play the crap out of bands for a few weeks to promote a show they're sponsoring, or deck the hall ball or whatever, and then right after the show you never hear that band again.

while one could say it's a smart move to play the bands you're putting on a show with, it's very suspicious when they drop a band entirely out of rotation right after the show.

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