Univision Settles Payola Investigation - Broadcasting & Cable

Univision Settles Payola Investigation

Agrees to pay FCC $1 million in pay-for-play allegations against former radio unit
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Univision has agreed to pay the FCC $1 million to settle a pay-for-play
investigation of Universal Music Group 9UMG). At the same time, a court has accepted a plea agreement to
settle charges filed by the Department of Justice in the same case.

The
FCC had alleged that Univision employees took money from a record label in
exchange for more frequent airplay. Univision says it was an isolated incident , was self-reported and part of a group--UMG--that was sold in 2008.

Also
as part of the settlement, Univision agreed not to exchange airplay for cash or
items of value except under certain conditions that comply with the laws;
agreed to cap the value of gifts or items it can accept from labels, named a
compliance officer to oversee its fulfillment of the terms of the settlement
and agreed to train personnel about restrictions on payola.

"Broadcasters
play a critical role in educating and entertaining the public and along with
that special role comes some fundamental obligations," said FCC
Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison in a statement. "We will continue
to work with other government agencies, including criminal law enforcement
authorities where appropriate, leveraging all the tools at our disposal to
protect consumers and prevent them from being misled."

"The agreement announced between Univision Services, Inc. and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California and Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice concludes a three year investigation of alleged wrongdoing by certain former employees of Univision Music Group (UMG)," said the company in a statement. "The agreement relates to a payola scheme by an isolated group of employees at UMG that took place from in or around 2003 through September 2006. The actions of these employees were undertaken without the knowledge of anyone at Univision outside of UMG. Upon learning of these activities, Univision self-reported to the U.S. Attorney's Office and has cooperated fully with law enforcement authorities throughout the investigation process. UMG was sold in 2008."

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