by Rudy West
Power 105.1 FM’s well respected program director Michael Saunders was fired as a result of the probe yesterday (Oct. 12) for allegedly accepting various gifts to play records from various record labels, including Sony BMG. According to reports, Clear Channel’s Urban Programming Vice President Doc Wynter will replace Saunders as interim program director. "We take this issue very seriously and our policy is clear:
If you engage in pay-for-play, you cannot work for Clear Channel," Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan said in a statement. Spitzer and Sony BMG reached a settlement earlier this week, agreeing that some Clear Channel radio programmers accepted money and bribes in return for playing records from the massive label.
Other employees have been disciplined for less serious violations and Clear Channel stated that all of its stations managers and programmers will undergo company training on anti-payola policies.
Under federal laws, it illegal to accept money, gifts or bribes in return for radio airplay. "Our investigation shows that, contrary to listener expectations that songs are selected for airplay based on artistic merit and popularity, air time is often determined by undisclosed payoffs to radio stations and their employees," Spitzer said. "This agreement is a model for breaking the pervasive influence of bribes in the industry."