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Radio Concentration Bill Could Resurface - Broadcasting & Cable

Radio Concentration Bill Could Resurface

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Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) used the news of a settlement between Sony and the state of New York to suggest it was time to re-address, on a national level, the issues of payola "combined with increasing concentration and vertical integration in the radio industry."

That would likely mean a renewed push for legislation.

"I have introduced legislation in the past to promote competition in the radio and concert industries," he said, "and, while this settlement is a step in the right direction, it provides even more evidence that it is time for Congress to address these issues at a national level."

In January 2003, Feingold introduced a bill, The Competition in Radio and Concert Industries Act," that would have, among other things, "addressed anti-competitive practices by stopping the current shakedown system, where some radio corporations allegedly leverage their market-power to shake down the music industry in exchange for playing their songs."

Already looking to address the issue on a national level is FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who called Monday for an FCC investigation into the payola. Fellow Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps also supports an investigation.

Sony settled with the state for $10 million plus promises to clean up its act. New York continues to investigate other companies for payola, including having sent subpoenas to Clear Channel and Infinity.

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