McCain Orders FCC to Weigh In on Paid Newscasts


Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) is considering tougher federal prohibitions on "sham" TV newscasts and on "pay for play" by radio stations.

McCain Monday asked FCC chairman Michael Powell whether current FCC rules are sufficient to stop broadcasters from demanding pay from some organizations and businesses featured on newscasts or from artists seeking radio airplay.

In a letter to Powell, McCain noted a Washington Post account alleging that some guests on WFLA-TV Tampa, Fla.’s morning show Daytime paid $2,500 to appear.

The article and other accounts "call into question the adequacy of the FCC’s regulations on broadcast sponsorship and identification," McCain wrote. "I urge you to examine these issues more closely."