Emmis Austin FM ducks payola charge


A 2006 complaint against KROX-FM Austin TX, one of several Emmis Communications radio stations in the Texas capital, has been settled via the tried and true consent decree route. The FCC saves time and resources, Austin emerges with its compliance record unscathed and the US Treasury enjoys a voluntary contribution.

The station was charged with receiving valuable consideration from a heavy metal music store, a concert venue and both a booking agent and a band manager.

It was further alleged that independent acts were shut out of playlists unless they came to certain agreements with the station.

We haven’t printed this lately, so as a reminder, this statement is the basis for taking the consent decree option: “The Bureau and the Licensee acknowledge that any proceedings that might result from the Investigation would be time-consuming and would require substantial expenditure of public and private resources.  In order to conserve such resources and to ensure continued compliance by the Licensee with the Sponsorship Identification Laws, the Bureau and the Licensee are entering into this Consent Decree in consideration of the mutual commitments made herein.”

As is typical of a decree, Emmis admits no culpability and the FCC issues no penalty. The station will adopt a compliance plan to address the issues that were raised, and is on reporting conditions. It will also make a $12K contribution to the US Treasury to help defray the national debt.