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College and community radio to FCC: no more payola!

John Oliver on net neutrality.Just one more noteworthy filing to mention in the Federal Communications Commission’s proceeding on whether to loosen up the agency’s “payola” rules. It comes from a group of college and community radio advocates, responding to a broadcaster petition asking to be relieved of the requirement that they immediately tell listeners when someone has paid a radio station to play a tune (this is called the Sponsorship ID requirement [SID]). Better, the broadcasters say, to just post the disclosure on some web site.

“This seems impractical, dangerous, and potentially illegal in many states, considering that the most common location for radio listening is ‘in the car’,” the response notes. “60.4% of adults report this is where they listen most, according to a recent Radio Advertising Bureau factsheet. Radio is a medium that is of special importance to many communities, including low income communities and communities of color. While we applaud efforts to address the digital divide, there are still wide disparities in internet access by race and class. Moving SID information primarily online will mean that low income listeners and communities of color will have less access to this important information than wealthy and white listeners.”

Signed, the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, Center for Media Justice, Common Cause, Future of Music Coalition, Media Alliance, National Federation of Community Broadcasters, The People’s Press Project, Prometheus Radio Project, and the United Church of Christ.

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