Indie On The Radio

The FCC’s ongoing probe of payola in terrestrial radio has found an unlikely benefactor: independent artists! In an agreement peripheral to a $12.5M settlement in the FCC’s case against the Big Four (Clear Channel, CBS, Entercom, and Citadel), the station groups have promised air time to your favorite bands. Via Reuters:

Independent recording artists will get a clearer shot at the airwaves under a deal cut by the big radio station groups and indie labels as part of the federal payola investigation.

While it is not part of the consent decree, a separate voluntary side deal between the station groups and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) would set aside 8,400 half-hour blocks of time for independent music.

The free airtime would be granted to companies not owned or controlled by Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and EMI Group; do not have a market share larger than 5%; and are represented as independent through sales tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan.

If you’re wondering why the FCC didn’t just write the indie-friendly arrangement directly into the settlement agreement, you think too much. But to answer, it’s ’cause the FCC was “afraid they would be accused of overstepping their legal authority.” So it’s a good faith agreement with the station groups, and we all know Clear Channel’s word is bond. But most importantly, you can finally justify listening to Z100.