I was trolling Fiverr.com to see if any commercial stations were using it yet to use unsold inventory. I found a lot of vendor who would send my song to "hundreds" of radio stations. There were hundreds of voice over guys looking for work. I found a several internet stations selling time but only one commercial station. (Admittedly that one is dubious because it does not identify the call letters.) Then unexpectedly found one college radio station DJ selling ads for his show. I have to give the caveat that this could have been a fake. There is no evidence that he actually had a program on the station in question. I'll be kind and say this was legally dubious. (Note: I have decided not to reveal the call sign)
"I will promote your business, website, promotion, event, etc on my radio show @ K███ 91.3 FM ███████████ College Radio. You will get an excellent write-up, and can either submit an advertisement for me to say or I can write it myself. Anything is up for grabs. Thousands of local listeners, thousands more online listeners. Very well established radio program..."
He also sold bongs, books, seeds, references, links, and the occasional freestyle rap. You have to give him points for hustling. So lets review the law here and here. Strictly speaking, it's important to note that because he wasn't offering airtime to purveyors of music it's not payola. Were this a commercial radio station this would be plugola, since it's ostensibly without the awareness of the stations owners or management. This is a violation of Section 399B [47 U.S.C. §399B] see below:
Offering of certain services, facilities, or products by public broadcasting stations.
For purposes of this section, the term “advertisement” means any message or other programming material which is broadcast or otherwise transmitted in exchange for any remuneration, and which is intended –
- to promote any service, facility, or product offered by any person who is engaged in such offering for profit;
- to express the views of any person with respect to any matter of public importance or interest; or
- to support or oppose any candidate for political office
- Except as provided in paragraph (2), each public broadcast station shall be authorized to engage in the offering of services, facilities, or products in exchange for remuneration.
- No public broadcast station may make its facilities available to any person for the broadcast of any advertisement.