Two Fired In Payola Probe

Clear Channel Communications has fired two employees for “wrongdoing” and disciplined an unspecified number of others for “inappropriate conduct” as a result of an internal payola investigation.

The actions follow a settlement between New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer and Sony BMG over “pay-for-play” practices, in which radio station staffers accept some form of compensation for playing songs.

The company declined to identify employees affected by the investigation.

“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. “We believe the vast majority of our programmers are doing a terrific job, fully within the law.”

Programmers and general managers will receive additional training on anti-payola policies. Also, the payola affidavits that are signed annually by programmers are being updated to be more explicit in outlining what constitutes payola, Clear Channel said.