FCC Fines Univision For Payola

That song again?

The Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Justice Dept have reached a one million dollar settlement with Univision Communications for alleged payola practices.  According to the government, employees of Univision Radio accepted money in exchange for providing greater airplay for certain artists.

The company ran the scheme between 2003 and 2006, the charges say. Here's how it worked:

At the time, Univision Communications owned a record label called Univison Music, as well as a network of radio stations.  The government alleged that program managers at some of these stations — in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Dallas and El Paso, according to the Associated Press — submitted fake invoices to Univision Music, as though certain artists had performed services for the stations.

They hadn't. But Univision Music paid the invoices, and the program managers pocketed the money, and in exchange, increased airplay of those artists on the company's Spanish language stations.

The Justice Department declined requests for information on specific artists whose songs received special attention.

Univision's settlement with the Justice Department limits the value of concert tickets and other favors program managers often enjoy from artists.  In a statement, Univision said that the offending employees were isolated program managers who acted alone, and the practice ended in 2006. Univision Music is no longer a subsidiary of Univision Communications: the label was sold to Universal Music Group in 2008.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.