FMC wants FCC in the monitoring business


One of the repercussions in the New York State payola agreements was a promise from radio group owners to allocate a certain amount of airtime to independent artists and labels. The Future of Music Coalition does not believe this is happening as intended and thinks the FCC should be monitoring airplay.

FMC is about to release its latest annual study on playlists – it’s due out 4/20/09 – and its hoping that once the FCC gets a look at the results – which presumably will show a lack of airplay action for the aforementioned indies — it will snap into action.

FMC’s Casey Rae-Hunter told National Journal Online, “We’re hoping that the FCC considers this data and takes steps to better understand a key sector that they’re charged with overseeing. Without data and clear policy goals, this is very difficult.”

The organization notes that private companies monitor airplay and sell the results to radio stations and other clients, and that the FCC should also be engaging in this activity.

RBR/TVBR observation: It’s so easy to suggest that the FCC just do something like this. But it takes but a moment of thought to conclude that we’re light years away from anything like this actually happening, even in the unlikely event that monitoring musical selections on the air is deemed to be a proper enterprise for the Commission.

For starters, the concept of keeping its nose out of program content matters is deeply ingrained in the FCC’s organizational genetics. And that is exactly the way it should be.

We think that smart stations should be paying close attention to their local music scene. They should highlight local artists and emphasize those national acts that are especially popular in their neck of the woods.

But we do not – repeat, do not – want the government involved in this. Get the wrong group in there and maybe every radio station will have to make sure that politicians and other government types like John Ashcroft, Orrin Hatch and Jonathan Adelstein are getting adequate airplay, on grounds of fairness. I don’t think any of us want to go there.