Radio gets back a bit of Spitzer's fines


Fordham University’s WFUV-FM has gotten a 500K grant from the New York State Music Fund to establish an HD Radio/Internet/mobile streaming channel targeting music fans in their 20s and 30s. The funding for that grant is from the payoffs that former NY Attorney General (now Governor) Eliot Spitzer got to settle "payola" allegations against record labels and radio stations. WFUV General Manager Ralph Jennings says the new project, scheduled to make its debut in the fall of 2008, is expected to cost 1.2 million, so this grant will cover a major portion. It is one of the largest single grants made by the New York State Music Fund, which has thus far handed out more than 35 million bucks.

"Acts like Antibalas, Forro In The Dark and The Hold Steady have no problem selling out venues all over town, yet they presently don’t have a home on the radio in New York City. A second stream enables us to play deserving local acts in the same set as Bjork, M.I.A. or Arcade Fire and, at the same time, better serve New York’s musically-adventurous listening audiences by introducing them to something different," said WFUV Program Director Chuck Singleton.

RBR observation: Nice to see that someone in radio is getting back some of this shakedown money. As we stated repeatedly, Spitzer’s so-called "payola" probe was a pile of garbage to grab headlines for himself by accusing broadcasters of violations that he made up by deliberately misreading the law. It apparently worked, since it helped get him elected governor. Thankfully, his successor as AG has apparently shelved the phony payola probe, but it still lingers on in Washington, where a couple of members of the FCC are trying to follow Spitzer’s path and rewrite the payola laws via backroom settlements with broadcasters without holding any rulemaking hearings.