Thursday, October 13, 2005


Trouble over at Clear Channel, the company dedicated to celebrating the diversity of American music by buying up all the radio stations and making them sound the same. With the company caught in the ongoing payola scandal, it looks like a couple of senior people are getting canned in an attempt to clean up its act.

Documents released as part of New York state attorney general Eliot Spitzer's investigation into major labels and radio stations conspiring to freeze out competitor's access to the airwaves have started to point fingers:

According to the documents, Michael Saunders, PD of Clear Channel R&B/hip-hop WWPR New York, was to be given a plasma TV and entertainment system valued at several thousand dollars, with the understanding that he would add Sony R&B artists to his playlist. However, Sony’s in-house counsel squelched the deal and Saunders did not receive the goods.

Likewise, Clear Channel top 40 KHTS San Diego PD Diana Laird allegedly accepted a flat screen TV in November 2002, under the guise that Epic was providing it as a contest prize for a station listener. Laird is said to have provided the name and Social Security Number of a friend to mask the scam for the label’s internal accounting department.

Additionally, Columbia was cited for providing Las Vegas trips to Donnie Michaels while he was PD at Pamal Broadcasting top 40 WFLY Albany. Michaels subsequently joined Clear Channel and currently serves as APD of mainstream top 40 WHYI (Y100) Miami.

Apparently well-informed sources are suggesting that Saunders has left Clear Channel today.

Saunders had previously become noteworthy when his refusal to play any local artists while running one of Clear's Detriot stations led to a mass boycott of his network on Fridays.

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