According to an April 29, 2009 report by the Future of Music Coalition entitled “Same Old Song,” in the two years since FCC fines were levied against corporate radio for payola — resulting in those stations promising to play both more local and independent artists — “the report indicates almost no measurable change in station playlist composition over the past four years.”
Specifically, the report—which tracked playlists across every single commercial radio format—shows that:
“1. Playlist composition has remained remarkably consistent over the past four years,
despite policy interventions.
2. Radio relies on the hits.
3. Indie labels do garner a small percentage of airplay, but even this is largely
attributed to a handful of labels.”
The FMC’s conclusion? “Both anecdotal and empirical evidence indicate that commercial radio has become a risk averse media that employs cookie-cutter formats across many radio properties. In recent months, commercial radio has also been the source of layoffs and downsizing as it struggles with both reduced ad revenue and huge debt loads racked up during the station buying spree following the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.”