Broadcasting Commission Putting in Place Regulations to Crack Down on Payola


The Broadcasting Commission is doing its part to crack down on the problem of payola in the broadcasting industry by putting in place new and revised regulations.
These regulations will require broadcast media houses to keep and have ready for inspection, formal music sheets and music logs, and for entities to have in place, a music or programme coordinator. These measures, according to Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission, Dr. Hopeton Dunn, will provide for better management and monitoring of what goes out on the air.
“There appears to be insufficient monitoring and management of the music output or the gate-keeping function and so these regulations will help to encourage the sector to increase the monitoring, management and documentation as a measure against this question of payola,” Dr. Dunn said at the weekly JIS Think Tank held recently at the agency’s headquarters on Half-Way-Tree Road.
In addition, he said that the Commission will be recommending the introduction of a graded scale of financial sanctions under the Broadcasting Commission Act.
Payola is a criminal offence, which involves the illegal practice of payment or other inducement by record companies for the broadcast of recordings on music radio, in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day’s broadcast.
Dr. Dunn said that since the offence falls under the umbrella of other sectors, there were some issues relating to the problem that the Commission is not capable of addressing by itself.
“It is a pervasive problem in the music industry and it is impacting on the broadcasting industry and has done so for a very long time. It is just now that we are determined to join forces with many people in the broadcasting houses, in the music industry and in the public policy arena, who want to do something about it,” he said.
As for the timeline for the new and revised regulations to kick in, Dr. Dunn offered that getting them implemented is of high priority and expressed confidence that the process will move quickly. “It takes a couple months to get through the public system. The Commission leads that process in consultation with the Minister. It goes through a process of Parliamentary drafting and then promulgation through dissemination to the interested parties. One would expect that in the case of the ones (regulations) I am referring to, it will be a matter of months before we are able to see them implemented,” he said.

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