Last Friday, the FCC released the details of a $12.5 million consent decree, reached last month with four major radio broadcasters, that settles an 18-month-long investigation into violations of agency rules against payola. The companies targeted by the probe—CBS Radio, Entercom, Clear Channel Communications and Citadel Broadcasting Corp.—rank among the six largest station owners in the U.S. Payola, or “pay-for-play,” is the practice by which radio stations accept money or other gifts from record companies in exchange for airtime and without disclosing payments to listeners as required by law. Launched in August 2005, the FCC’s investigation trailed a similar probe begun a year earlier by former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, whose office struck $30 million in settlements with four of the industry’s top record labels. Under the FCC consent decree, the four broadcasters admitted no guilt but acknowledged that their “policies and practices with respect to sponsorship identification laws can be improved so as to further enhance the prospects for company-wide compliance.” As part of the three-year settlement, each company agreed to (1) train DJs, producers and programming personnel on federal payola rules within 60 days, (2) establish and maintain a database to document any gift valued at $25 or more and to make the database “available for inspection by the [FCC] upon request,” (3) appoint a national payola compliance officer as well as market-specific contact persons for payola compliance, and (4) suspend any employee accused of violating the FCC’s pay-for-play rules. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin proclaimed that the agency “has provided clear guidance to licensees and sent a strong message that the practice of payola must stop for good.”