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Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.
Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.
Tue, 07 May 2019 07:05
The Congressional payola hearings of 1960 are out to expose corruption in the music industry. But they're also out to discredit a dangerous new form of music called rock 'n' roll. To do that, they've set their sights on rock's most famous champions: DJ Alan Freed and American Bandstand host Dick Clark. Will their testimony save them or disgrace them?
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Washington, DC February 8, 1960. Room 1334 of the Longworth House Office Building was a small but imposing space, with high ceilings, brass chandeliers, a huge mural called America at peace. On the semi circular day as sit nine congressmen, members of the House subcommittee on legislative oversight, all middle aged men, many with graying hair and horn rimmed classes, shuffling papers and conversing in hushed homes. They're here for the first full day of the congressional payola hearings, an investigation into whether the radio industry has been corrupted by greedy DJs taking bribed from record companies in exchange for playing their singles. The committee chairman, Arkansas congressman, Orrin Harris, bangs his gavel, eager to get the hearings underway. It's an election year, and this can bring in positive press. They are actually doing something about the menace of rock and roll. General counsel Robert Lishman, a white haired 56 year old Harvard educated litigator, calls his first witness, a clean cut DJ from Boston named Norm Prescott, also with horn rim glasses and neatly trimmed brown hair. He looks about as far from a rock and roll DJ as Lishman himself, which is to say, he looks believable. Lishman paces slowly back and forth. Mr. Prescott, you left employment with station WBZ in Boston in July 1959. Is that correct? Yes, sir. And did you not leave WBZ and conclude your career as a disc jockey, chiefly because you were disgusted with the payola conditions in the industry? Mr. Lishman, I was not only disgusted with payola conditions, but frankly, I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed of the industry, and I walked away from it for that reason. Lishman knows what Prescott is going to say before he says it, because he and Prescott have rehearsed it. Over the next two hours, Prescott admits to accepting cash, gifts, even payments on a new car, altogether nearly $10,000 worth of payola. He implicates not only himself, but his fellow DJs and the entire industry. He tells the committee that the top 40 charts in Billboard and Cash Box Magazine are a sham. The numbers on the chart aren't based on actual sales or airplay. They come from falsified reports submitted to the magazines by DJs and station managers. By the time Lishman is done with Prescott, all of the congressmen are leaning in, fascinated. When he opens up the floors of questions, Representative John Bennett of Michigan looks at Prescott and clears his throat. Do you think without payola that a lot of this so called junk music rock and roll stuff that appeals to the teenagers would not be played? Never get on the air. Do you think payola is responsible for it? Yes, it keeps it on the air because it fills pockets. Lishman smiles. He's 56 and he does not understand rock and roll. It's trash. Worse, it's trash that his own children listen to and like. But he knows if he's going to convince Congress to pass new legislation making payola a federal crime, he will take more than hating the music and coaching a witness like Prescott. But Lishman has a plan for the third act of his play. Two star witnesses, Alan Fried, America's most successful radio DJ, and Dick Clark, host of the wildly popular rock TV show American Bandstand. If Lishman plays his cards right, he'll show the committee members enough evidence to discredit them both and get them off the airwaves in one fell swoop. Without Fried and Clark, hopefully rock and roll will be an unpleasant memory. The country can go back to listening to good music again. If you're into true crime, the Generation Y podcast is essential listening. We started this podcast over 10 years ago to dissect some of the craziest and most notable murders, crimes and conspiracy theories together and we'd love for you to join us. Follow the Generation Y podcast on Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts. From Wondry, I'm Lindsey Graham and this is American Scandal. By 1960, for the first time in years, rock and roll is no longer dominating the airwaves. The year's biggest hit is the theme music from the movie A Summer Place, a therapy easy listening instrumental by a bland Canadian band leader named Percy Faith. It's no coincidence that rock sudden decline comes just as many of the nation's top radio DJs are being called before Congress. No DJ wants to get a subpoena and be forced to testify about Peola, a practice so widespread that nearly everyone in the business has accepted some. The easiest way to avoid getting subpoenaed is to stop playing rock records. Though Peola affects every corner of the music business and has for decades, the hearings focus is on how it's been used to promote rock and roll. It's an election year and politicians know that many of their constituents are uneasy about this wild new style of music and the way it's captivated America's youth. This is episode 3, rock and roll on trial. On Saturday, February 13th, 1960, backstage at ABC TV's Little Theater in New York City, Dick Clark sits in a makeup chair getting prepped for his Saturday Night Beach nut show, a prime time spin off of his hit afternoon show, American Bandstand. As he steps out of the makeup chair, Clark looks tired and pensive and with good reason. The Peola hearings are only a week old and already Clark's name is being dragged through the mud. On Wednesday, the president of ABC's record label Ampar presented a list of eight Ampar songs whose copyrights Clark had acquired, all openly and legally, though the news reports tried their best to make it sound shady. Then there was a list of Christmas gifts Ampar had sent to Clark over the years, a $25 dollar salad bowl, a $23 blender, as if it was a crime to give someone a Christmas gift. Clark knows that more than ever he has to be on his best behavior and these days, that means playing less rock and roll. The taint of Peola on the entire genre is just too strong. He's not alone in this. Nearly every DJ in the business is laying off the rock singles. Even many recording artists who got their start playing rock music have turned their backs on it. Clark's guest tonight, Paul Anca, is Case in Point. Now, if I may, here's a man that turns out hits like, I don't know, he is a fantastic individual. Incidentally, he's embarking on a new career. He starts his nightclub tours very soon. He opens in Washington, then goes on to Las Vegas. It's a new thing for him. I wish him all the best. But the meantime, he's got another hit record, a thing called, a puppy love. Here's Paul Anca. Have they called it puppy love? A few blocks north of where Clark is doing his broadcast, Alan Fried sits in his living room, drinking a scotch, and watching Anca's performance on his big black and white TV. He can only stomach a few seconds of the sugary ballad before he gets up and switches it off and disgust. He never much like Anca to begin with, but his new, easy listening sound is intolerable. Fried has not yet been called to testify before Congress, but he knows it's coming. His lawyer has advised him to say as little as possible that even though there are no federal laws against Peola, he could still be indicted in New York under its more strict commercial bribery laws. But Fried is tired of keeping his mouth shut. He's yearning to defend himself. All his life, Fried has spoken his mind. It's what made him a successful DJ. He was a rebel, a free spirit, championing rock and roll when few other DJs would. Now to be forced to shut up at this moment when he's at risk of losing everything, it's almost more than he can bear. Two months later, on April 25th, 1960, Fried gets his turn. Over 30 DJs, label owners, music publishers and record distributors have testified in the last three months, along with representatives of the Federal Trade and Communications Commission, but it's free that everyone's hungry to hear from. Though he hasn't been on the air since he was fired from both his radio and TV jobs, Fried is still one of the most famous DJs in the country. His arrival in Washington is big news, even though he'll be testifying behind closed doors. At the Longworth House Office Building, Fried and his lawyer, Warren Troube, pushed it away past a mob of reporters into a room that, by contrast, is eerily quiet. Fried and Troube sit down at a long wood panel table in the middle of the room. Surrounding them on three sides are nine congressmen, wearing dark suits and stern expressions. General Counsel Robert Lishman starts by giving Fried a copy of a legal document, an affidavit signed by American bandstand host Dick Clark, pledging to his employers at ABC that he never accepted Peola. Fried was given a similar affidavit and refused to sign it because he didn't want to purge for himself. Because of his refusal, ABC fired him. Now for the first time, he sees how his nemesis escaped a similar fate. Clark's lawyers rewrote the affidavit with a much narrower definition of Peola. Clark's affidavit says it's only Peola if you take money first, then play the record later. If Fried knows firsthand that it's more complicated than that, then he sure Clark knows it too. General Counsel Lishman strives to the front of the room. Mr. Fried, in your opinion, is that the definition of Peola that is generally accepted? No, it's not. He's wrong. I know the record business very well. I've been in it for 20 years. I say if you're going to use the word Peola in this investigation, you've got to use it whether you receive money or gifts before you play the record or whether you get them after you play the record. There can't be two different types of Peola. If the definition of Peola that is contained in the Clark affidavit was contained in your affidavit, could you have signed that agreement and not committed perjury? Yes, sir. I would be as clean as the driven snow. This morning Fried's lawyer reminded him to say as little as possible today, and so far he's complied. But all this talk of Dick Clark is bringing up Fried's old feelings of resentment. Two different affidavits isn't fair. He begins ranting about how ABC gave Clark special treatment because American bandstand is such a cash cow. Why should I be this gaitgo? Why me? Because I could be sacrificed, that's why, but not Dick Clark. It's a double standard. All his life he spoke in his mind. And now Fried's own a role. He talks about how the Peola system works, how record companies make payments and what DJ's typically promise and return. He names labels and distributors, companies that essentially had him on their payroll. He even specifically mentions a $10,000 loan he received in 1958 from his friend and former manager, Roulette Records owner Morris Levy. But he's careful to describe all the payments as thank you gifts, loans, or consulting fees. I just want to be clear that I've never taken a bribe. If I help somebody and they want to pay me or give me a gift, sure. But I wouldn't take a dime to plug a record. The committee seems to be enjoying Fried's testimony. No one has spoken quite so freely, and Fried knows that he has the politicians eating out of his hand. For the first time in months, Fried is feeling almost relaxed. As he waxes on providing additional details, Congressman John Bennett jumps in with a question. You are receiving this money from the record companies to plug their records on the air. Is that not true? Fried answers without thinking. Yes? Fried's lawyer immediately realizes his client's mistake. Fried is completely contradicting what he just said minutes earlier about never taking money to plug a record. He leaps to his feet, asking, wait a minute, what was the question? Troop tries to strike Fried's answer from the record, but it's too late. Alan Fried has just told Congress that he's taken money to play records on the radio. Even by Dick Clark's narrow definition of payola, he's admitted his guilt. Fried too realizes his mistake and tries to talk his way out of it. He talks and talks and talks more. As good to talk, he's mistalking since he's been off the air. Finally, a weary Orrin Harris cuts him off with a bang of his gaville. Thank you, Mr. Fried. You've been a very cooperative witness. The committee will recess until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning. And as if coming out of a trance, Fried glances at the clock in the wall and is shocked to see it's almost 7.30 p.m., he's been testifying for nearly five hours. Robert Lishman is over the moon. One of the most famous DJs of the 1950s just spilled his guts about everything Lishman suspected. And his testimony about Dick Clark's affidavit, pledging that he never took payola as given Lishman additional ammunition to go after Clark, who is set to testify in just a few days. Alan Fried is a big piece of the payola puzzle, but Clark is even bigger. His small empire of various music related businesses is riddled with conflicts of interest. On nearly every episode of his show, American Bandstand, Clark played songs he was profiting from, either through his ownership of the song's copyright or managing the artist who recorded it, or even manufacturing the song singles at his record pressing plant. Lishman believes that Clark built his empire on a more sophisticated version of payola, not taking cash payments for playing records, but demanding a piece of the song's copyright or promising more plays if you could release the song on one of his record labels. If Lishman can get Clark to admit how much he used American Bandstand as a vehicle to promote his own records, or even just make him look dishonest or evasive, it will be a major victory to him and a blow to the rock and roll industry Clark represents. It might even help Lishman and committee chairman Harris achieve one of their ultimate goals, getting American Bandstand and shows like it, cancelled. Over the next three days, Lishman calls several of Clark's associates, people who ran his record labels and publishing companies, or who often did business with him in his role as host of American Bandstand. One of his key witnesses is Harry Finffer, a veteran Philadelphia record promoter and co owner of Clark's label Jamie Records. It was Finffer who brought guitarist Duane Eddie to Jamie Records, right before he became one of American Bandstand's most frequent guests. It was also Finffer who brokered the deal that gave Clark the publishing rights to the song Sixteen Candles. Again, right before Clark put it in heavy rotation on Bandstand, which helped it become a smash hit. Finffer is Lishman's favorite kind of witness, stammering and unsure of himself, with a mustache that twitches when he gets flustered. Under heavy questioning from Lishman, he appears shifty and evasive. It's especially hard to believe him when he admits that he gave Payle a to numerous DJs to promote Jamie Records singles, but then denies that Dick Clark ever had any idea what he was doing. By the end of the testimony, Finffer's bright red face and twitching mustache practically seemed to confirm his guilt by extension Dick Clark's too. Finally, Lishman is ready to call the man himself. On Friday, April 29, Dick Clark arrives at the House Caucus Room in DC. The grand space, much bigger than the room in which Alan Fried gave his testimony, with massive crystal chandeliers, high ceilings and walls covered in classical Greek detailing, a gallery of more than 200 reporters and spectators, fill the rows of bench seating that extend to the back of the room. Camera crews line the walls. Clark strolls into the room like he owns the place. He wears a navy blue suit, crisp white shirt, and gleaming black loafers. He looks like the world's most stylish banker, even his hair is perfect. He flashes a smile to the camera crews, gives a discreet wave to the teenage girls scattered throughout the gallery. Then he takes a seat at the long witness table lined with microphones. Congressman Orrin Harris sitting in the center of the long day as bangs is gabbled to quiet the crowd. Robert Lishman sits off to one side and looks through his papers. He knows Clark will be a much tougher witness than Alan Fried, where Fried was twitchy and hot tempered, Clark is cool and polished, and he's very, very smart. Before Lishman can even begin, Clark asks if he can read a prepared statement. Harris nods, Clark stands, and reads aloud. Mr. Chairman, gentlemen, I feel I've been convicted, condemned, and denounced even before I had an opportunity to tell my story. Lishman's strategy seems to be backfiring. He had hoped by calling in Clark's associates to testify first, he could prove the bandstand's host guilt before he had a chance to testify. Now, Clark is trying to paint himself as a victim, unfairly vilified, and the spectators look sympathetic. Then Clark begins to tell his side, how he's been wrongly accused when all along he's been trying to do the right thing. Over the next hour, Clark describes in detail all 33 of the various companies he once owned or part owned. He tells committee members which ones he dissolved or sold off as soon as the pay all the scandal broke to avoid any appearance of wrongdoing. His strategy is to steamroll the committee with information, to give the appearance that he's being completely transparent, and it looks like it's working. Finally, after what feels like an eternity of Clark's testimony, Lishman is allowed to begin his questioning. He stands up and clears his throat in a self important way. When it doesn't go well, when Lishman confronts, Clark sidesteps. The TV host seems to be a master at giving a vase of answers while appearing to be completely honest. When Lishman asks him about the 1957 duop song Butterfly, and what Clark's interests were in the number one hit, Clark admits that he got paid $7,000 for his share of the song's royalties. He says he had an oral agreement with the song's original copyright holder. Lishman asks, what was this oral agreement? What did you agree to to get this 25% of the royalties on the song? Clark replies, I agreed to absolutely nothing. Why did you have to enter into an agreement to do nothing? Mr. Lishman, you're an attorney. You put a lot more significance into the word agreement than I did. Lishman then tries to switch tactics. He cites a detailed survey of American bandstands playlists. He argues that the survey proves statistically that the more of a financial stake Clark had in any given song, the more he played it on his show. As an example, he cites the music of Duane Eddie, the 20 young guitarists whose label and management companies were both owned by Clark, and his popular song put a lot of money in Clark's pocket. Before Jamie Wreckard signed Duane Eddie, Clark bought an ownership stake in the company for just $125. After Eddie joined the label, he earned a return of over $30,000 on that investment. Lishman leans in. During the period of August 5th, 1957 to November 30th, 1959, you played 11 of his titles a total of 240 times. Is that correct? Clark replies, this is true, Mr. Lishman, but you were presuming that because I had a financial interest in Duane Eddie, I played more Duane Eddie. This is not go along with your survey, which shows many places for people in whom I had no interest at all. Lishman leans, Frank Sinatra has popular records, doesn't he? Clark winks, occasionally, yes. There's some laughter in the courtroom. Well, don't you think in the same period that he moves some popular records? Clark smiles. Mr. Lishman, Mr. Sinatra's audience is slightly different from mine. Well, do you know that you didn't play him once during that period? Clark smile broadens. Yes, I'm quite aware of that. I didn't play any Italian opera either. The laughter in the courtroom grows louder. Lishman can feel his face turning red. Now Clark is making him look foolish. Lishman glances nervously at Orn Harris and sees that even the committee chairman is holding back laughter. Hour after hour under a barrage of questions from every committee member, Dick Clark doesn't slip up once. Nothing knocks him off his talking points. At the end of the day, Clark sums up his position. I believe in my heart and have sworn here that I will tell you the truth. I have never taken peola. I think the crime I have committed if any is that I made a great deal of money in a short time on little investment. Lishman can't believe Clark is arguing that he is not only innocent of any wrongdoing. He is implying he is the embodiment of the American dream. Lishman shakes his head and wonder. This kid is good. At the end of Clark's second day of testimony, Chairman Harris finally dismisses him. But not before he calls Clark a fine young man. Lishman is floored. The man who is supposed to be the peola investigation's biggest target has been sent home with a pat on the back. Clark may have sailed through the peola hearings, but his reputation takes a hit. The press is not as quick as Orn Harris to let him off the hook. The Washington Post even coined a new word, Clarkola, to describe the American bandstand hosts many conflicts of interest. Thanks to his brilliant performance in front of the committee, his career is still intact. Others won't be so lucky. In New York, investigators are preparing to file criminal charges against several DJs in the wake of the peola scandal. Dick Clark isn't one of them, but Alan Friede is. What if your family was the victim of a home invasion? Or you woke up in the morgue, or you were seriously injured miles from help? What would you do? This is actually happening. Ask our listeners this very question while we bring you captivating real life stories of trauma and perseverance. This is actually happening brings listeners extraordinary true stories from the people who lived them. You'll hear stories about conflict, turmoil, or threats that dramatically alter the course of someone's life. Each episode is an exploration of the human spirit and how survivors manage to overcome hardship and move on with their lives, even thriving afterward. The new season of this is actually happening is available ad free only with Wondry Plus. And if this new season isn't enough, you can listen to more than 120 exclusive episodes available only to Wondry Plus subscribers. Join Wondry Plus on Apple Podcasts or on the Wondry app. On May 19th, 1960, Hal Jackson arrives at the New York Police Department's Elizabeth Street precinct in Chinatown. Jackson is the most famous black DJ in New York and despite the heat, he's dressed as sharply as ever in a dark suit and polished brown wing tips. Jackson isn't entirely sure why he's here. He got a call yesterday from the District Attorney's Office telling him to report to the police station regarding the DA's commercial bribery investigation. Commercial bribery presumably means payola, but Jackson isn't sure what that has to do with him. He's taken a few gifts from record companies over the years, but never anything you'd call abroad. In the station waiting room, Jackson is taken aback. Half a dozen of his fellow rock and roll and rhythm and blues DJs are milling around, along with a dozen reporters and photographers, everyone's talking and laughing. Hey Hal, glad you can join the fun. Jack, what the hell's going on here? Jack is Jack Walker, another of New York's best known black DJs, and one of Jackson's colleagues at WLIB, rhythm and blues station, Basin Harlan. I don't know if something about payola, I guess. Next to Walker is another popular black DJ, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls. They got you down here too, Jive? Wouldn't be a party without me. And behind the two DJs sits Alan Fried. Jackson is surprised to see him here. Last he heard Fried had moved to Los Angeles. Alan, what are you doing back in New York? You couldn't miss the Perp Walk out. DA's orders. A photographer jumps out into the corridor. Smile boys. Finally, it dawns on Jackson. The district attorney rounded up all the city's best known DJs in a single sweep, then tipped off the paper so they could come and document the whole thing. They're about to be arrested, and the DA is going to make it a photo op. Jackson looks over the paperwork and gets an arraignment date. He's startled to see that the DA is charging him with 39 separate counts of commercial bribery. You can't imagine where they came up with that number. Until everyone else seems to be treating the whole thing like a joke. So he decides not to worry about it. It's not long before Jackson realizes that his arrest is no laughing matter. The day after his precinct visit, his station manager at WLIB confronts him outside the broadcast booth and tells him he's been suspended. It's just for a few days the station manager assures him just until all this blows over. But it doesn't blow over. As the weeks go by, Jackson still can't get his job back. He pleads not guilty to the bribery charges, but with his trial date still months away, and the pay all the stories still in the news, Jackson has no way to defend himself. His lawyer insists that he not speak to the press, that the wisest course of action is to keep a low profile. But keeping a low profile isn't helping him get back to the only work he loves, being a DJ. And as weeks turn into months, he can't seem to get a single gig. No one in the radio industry will hire him, it's as if he's been blacklisted. Community leaders in Harlem organize protests outside WLIB's headquarters, demanding the owners give Jackson back his job. But it's no use. The station is under too much political pressure. With his savings dwindling, Jackson scrambles to find other work. He takes on a night shift job as a janitor, cleaning office buildings. By day, he drives a cab. When he's taking a fair down Riverside Drive, he passes his own face on a WLIB billboard. Jackson suspects, but can't prove, that the DA's office is targeting him because of his civil rights activism. He's a friend and associate of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. His suspicions are further aroused when WLIB rehires Jack Walker, another black DJ arrested in the DA sweep, but they still refuse to rehire him. And Walker still has to stand trial for his 33 counts of commercial bribery. Are Jackson's 39 counts really that much worse? But there's nothing Jackson can do except wait his day in court. While Hal Jackson is picking up fares in his taxi, his fellow DJ Alan Freight is finally back on the air. Shortly before his arrest in New York, Frey began a new job at K. Day, a station in Los Angeles. Now, while he waits for his own trial date, the former King of Rock and Roll hosts an afternoon show six days a week. With his legal bills mounting and no more payola coming in, Frey'd also gets back to one of his other sources of income, looking and hosting live concerts. On June 25, 1961, a year after his move to LA, he hosts one of the biggest shows of his career, the Alan Freight K. Day spectacular at the Hollywood Bowl. It's a triumph, selling out all 17,000 of the bowl seats. The next day, Frey'd is walking on air. Sure, he's still facing 26 counts of commercial bribery in New York, each carrying up to a thousand dollar fine or a year in prison. But no DJ has ever done jail time for payola. And now that over a year has passed since the congressional hearings, the media's obsession with the whole thing has died down. For the first time in years, Frey'd is feeling optimistic. At 4pm on June 26, 1961, at K. Day Studios, Alan Freight's signs off from his afternoon radio show. Well, that's all we have time for today. Keep it locked here on K. Day M 1580 for all your favorite rhythm and blues hits, and I'll see you have cats tomorrow so long. Before Frey'd can take off his headphones though, he hears the station engineer cut in. Hey, Alan, Mel wants to see you in his office. Mel is Mel Leads, K. Day's program director and the man who got Freight this job. Leads and Freight are old pals. They've been through a lot together. Frey figures his old friend watch the congratulatory on last night's successful Hollywood bull show. Frey'd knocks on the door of Leads Small Office Netters. Leads is a small, wiring midwestern with a loud, overbearing personality. Back in New York, he was notorious for carrying a loaded gun to work. For protection on the subway, he said. But he's mellowed in recent years. The payola scandal took a toll on him too, and he plays things more by the book now. No more gun, no more letting DJs like Frey'd play whatever they want. K. Day has set playlists now, and DJs are expected to follow him. Freight sits down. You should have been there last night, Mel. It was like the old days. The joint was hopping. Yeah, I saw him missed it, Alan. But actually that's what I wanted to see you back. Sure. I bet the station wants a piece of the next one, right? Frey'd put the K. Day name on the Hollywood bull show because he was contractually obligated to, but otherwise he did the show entirely on his own, working with an outside promoter. No one at K. Day seemed really interested in the show, but now they've seen what his success it was, Frey'd assumes they'll want him on the next one. Look, Alan, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the station just doesn't want you promoting anymore outside shows. Frey'd takes a minute to process what he's hearing. I don't understand. I can't promote my own shows on the air anymore. You can't promote them. You can't book them. You can't do them, Alan. No more outside shows. No more dances, sock hops, events of any kind. The station owners just don't like the way it looks. After the payola hearings, Congress passed a law that authorized the Federal Communications Commission to find radio stations up to $1,000 a day for payola violations. Someone at K. Day is probably afraid that Frey'd promised extra spins to the artists on the bill that night. This is bull, Alan. You know it. I'm not doing anything wrong. If anything, K. Day should be thanking me. I plugged them to 17,000 kids last night. Sorry, Alan, my hands are tied. You can't tell me what to do on my own time, Mel. I'll quit first. But Leeds just shrugs. Frey'd is fully prepared to make good on his threat, but K. Day beats him to it. A few days later, K. Day fires him. For the second time in less than two years, he's out of a job. Depressed and burning through what little remains of his savings, Frey'd retreats to Palm Springs, where he and his third wife haul up in their modest ranch house and wait for the New York District Attorney's office to set Frey'd's trial date. As the day is slowly roby, Frey'd starts to drink heavily again, day and night trying to keep his depression and the desert heat away. He's weak, in poor health. Even his once powerful voice is now raspy and cracked. With the trial looming, he feels like his life and career are in limbo, which is all more frustrating because rock and roll is making it come back. A new style called Surf Rock is all the rage here in California, and soul music is having a moment too, especially thanks to a new Detroit label called Motel. If he can just get through this last pay all the trial, Frey'd thinks maybe he can make you come back too. After months of delays on February 8th, 1962, Hal Jackson finally gets his day in court. The last eight months have been hard on the man who has once New York's best known black DJ. He finally managed to land a DJ job in Philadelphia, hosting a classical music show in the morning. And a rhythm and blues show in the afternoon. He commutes from New York a two hour train ride each way five days a week. But the paleist Gannell took a toll on his personal life. Under this train, his marriage of 22 years fell apart. But today, Jackson plans to get his name back. At the court house, the DJ and his attorney prepare to enter his not guilty plea. But then, the prosecuting attorney makes a startling announcement. All charges against Jackson have been dropped. He's free to go. Jackson is relieved, but also furious. A year ago, when the district attorney stage his paleo photo op at the Chinatown precinct station, Jackson's name and face were plastered across every front page in town. Now that he's exonerated, though, not a single reporter is present. His reputation is ruined. His marriage destroyed and for what? So a few politicians could score points in an election year. Now Jackson isn't the only one feeling like the paleo scandal was much to do about nothing. At roulette records, Alan Fried's old friend Morris Levy is celebrating the fact that all paleo charges against his label were also dropped. It's quite a legal victory for one of the industry's most notorious distributors of paleo, and the man who admitted in front of a New York grand jury that a $10,000 loan he once gave to Fried was essentially a bribe. And the good news couldn't have come at a better time. In January of 1962, roulette scores its first number one record, Heperman Twist, by Joey D. and the Starlighters. Now that the heat is off roulette, Levy weighs no time in going back to his old plays. In the spring of 1962, he sends his business partner, George Goldner, on a promotional tour to radio stations all over the country. Goldner is a 44 year old industry veteran with what's known in the business as golden years. He has discovered and developed dozens of popular rock and dew up acts. But his ear for hit records is matched by his lack of business acumen, and to pay off his debts he's gone into business with Levy. Joining Goldner on his trip is roulette's new star, Joey D, a 21 year old Italian American two ops singer from New Jersey, with the pomp door of jet black hair and matinee idle looks. Levy and Goldner want to build on the success of D's number one record, Heperman Twist, by convincing radio stations to play his next single, Hey, Let's Twist. Joey has no idea what town he's in. For the past several days, he's been living out of a back of a limousine and he's exhausted. One morning, George Goldner shakes Joey's shoulder, rousing him from half sleep. Come on, Joey, he says, time to sell some records. Joey brushes the crumbs of his last meal from his rumpled suit and climbs out of the limo. At every station they visit, the routine is the same. He goes in, gives a brief on air interview, records a few station IDs, and goes back to the limo and waits while Goldner does whatever he does. Joey has a pretty good idea though that it involves paying someone to play roulette's songs. He got a glimpse inside Goldner's briefcase and saw stacks of $20 bills. But he's already learned that it's better not to ask any questions. This time, one of the guys from the radio station comes out and joins them in the limo. Ever since the pay all is scandal, most DJs don't get to pick their own records anymore. That job now belongs to a station boss called a program director. Joey figures that that's who this guy is. Somehow stations have convinced the government that this will get rid of Payola, but as far as Joey can tell, just means you only have to pay off one guy now instead of ten. Goldner and Joey take the program director to a stake house where he gorgeous himself on Goldner's dime. After dinner, there are two girls sitting in the back of the limo. Joey's told to wait outside. He bumps a cigarette from the limo driver and wonders what the hell he's gotten himself into. Growing up in Paseg, New Jersey, Joey dreamed of becoming a teen idol like his heroes Dion and the Belmonts. Now he's achieved that dream. He's had a number one record, and yet here he is, in a stake house parking lot, in the middle of nowhere, waiting for a couple of prostitutes to serve as some radio clown so he'll play Joey's next single. Joey's seen things around the roulette records offices, things that tell him he's better off not asking too many questions about how peppermint twist became a number one record, or why he still hasn't seen a dime in royalties from it. Once he walked into Morris Levy's office and one of Levy's goons was dangling some poor guy out the window, twenty floors up. Give us a minute, Joey. Morris said, totally calm, like he was just in the middle of a sales meeting. The newspapers may say that Paola is a thing of the past, but Joey D knows better. At roulette records, it's business as usual. And anyone who takes the money, or the stake, or the girls, and doesn't play roulette's music. That person might just find themselves hanging out a window. As roulette's success grows, Morris Levy doesn't forget his friends. When he hears that Alan Fried is going through a rough patch, he calls in a few favors and helps the troubled DJ get a job at WQAM in Miami. The station's headquarters are just a few miles inland from the Americana hotel where only two years ago, Fried looked around at all the money changing hands at the annual disc jockey convention and wondered if this whole payola thing was getting out of hand. Fried's name recognition boosts WQAM's ratings, but his drinking is still out of control, and shows up drunk for his evening time slot, one too many times. After just three months, he's fired again. In November of 1962, Fried and his wife go back to Palm Springs, but they've barely had time to unpack before Fried is summoned to New York. The date for his commercial bribery trial has finally been set. On December 10, 1962, Fried appears before a judge at the New York County Criminal Court building in downtown Manhattan. He is charged with 26 counts of commercial bribery, which add up to over $30,000 worth of payola over a two year period, the equivalent of a quarter million in today's dollars. Fried can't afford a long trial, and the evidence against him is overwhelming, so he pleads guilty. The judge is surprisingly lenient. He gives Fried a six month suspended sentence in order to pay a fine of $500. Fried's lawyer, citing his clients to stress financial situation, negotiates to find down to $300. Before he goes back to California, Fried pays one last visit to Morris Levy at his Midtown Manhattan office. The two old friends reminisce about the good old days. Levy asks Fried if he needs any money. Fried does, but he's too proud to admit it. Besides, it's not like Fried can offer him anything in return. He doesn't have a radio show anymore. Somehow, accepting Levy's money no longer feels right. But Fried's not out of the woods yet. In 1964, he's indicted again, this time for tax evasion. According to the IRS, he owes them over $37,000 in back taxes, most of it from unreported pay all the income. On January 20, 1965, impoverished and broken, Alan Fried dies. He was 43 years old. The official cause of death is given as liver and kidney failure exacerbated by his heavy drinking. But his family says that he died of a broken heart. The one thing he loved more than anything in the world, playing rock and roll records on the radio, was taken away from him and he never recovered. Right up until Fried's final days, Morris Levy continued to send money to his old friend. Fried protested, but accepted it. He needed it to cover his medical bills. But after Fried's last trip to New York, the two never saw each other again. By the time of Alan Fried's death, most of the public has forgotten about Paila. All the major investigations are over. Robert Lishman goes into private law practice in Orrin Harris leaves Congress to accept a judgeship from the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson. The new federal anti Paila law puts enforcement in the hands of the FCC and throughout the rest of the 60s, they appear to be doing a good job. Instances of Paila are rare and swiftly dealt with. A few stations are fined. A few more DJs lose their jobs. But mostly, Paila seems to be a thing of the past. It's certainly the case for Dick Clark and Hal Jackson. After the Paila hearings, American Bandstand becomes more successful than ever. In 1964, Clark moves the show to Los Angeles, where he launches a second career as a game show host. Bandstand remains on the air until 1989, earning Clark the nickname America's oldest living teenager. For Hal Jackson, his vindication in the wake of the Paila scandal is even sweeter. In 1971, he and a business partner purchased W.L.I.B., the same station that fired him after he was charged with taking Paila in 1960. He changes the station's call letters to WBLS, and it's slogan to the total black experience and sound. Its New York City's first black owned radio station, and by 1979, it's also the top rank station in town. For others, however, the effects of Paila linger for years, even decades. Many of the artists who owed their hit records to people like Alan Fried and Moore Levy find that they've made a devil's bargain. Joey D is shocked to learn that even though peppermint twist went to number one, his promotional tour of radio stations with George Goldner allegedly cost more than he earned on record sales. Instead of a royalty check, he gets a bill from Roulette for $8,000. And the duop group Alan Fried managed, the moon glows, never collect any royalties on their music until 1989, when industry wide royalty reforms finally write some of the wrongs of the 50s and 60s. Even so, to this day, on numerous moon glows songs, the co writer is still listed as Alan Fried, even though, according to moon glows founder Harvey Fuqua, Fried took the credit not because he actually wrote any of the group's music, but as a form of Paila. But Paila has not completely gone away. It's just gone underground. There may be a federal law against it, but there are record companies willing to break the law and hire shady characters to help them do it. And soon, a group of those shady characters are going to transform the record business and turn Paila into a criminal enterprise much greater in scope than anything Robert Lishman ever dreamed of. Paila will turn record promoters into millionaires and align them with the mafia. From Wondry, this is episode three of six of Paila for American scandal. On the next episode, in the 1980s, a shadowy group called the network uses Paila to control the entire radio industry in unprecedented ways. And the law finally catches up to Morris Levy, but not in the way he or anyone else could have predicted. If you'd like to learn more about Paila, we recommend the book Big Beat Heat, Alan Freed and the Early Years of Rock and Roll by John A. Jackson. This episode contains reenactments and traumatized details. While in most cases we can't know exactly what was it, all our traumatizations are based on historical research. And the scandal is hosted, edited and executed produced by me Lindsey Graham for airship, sound designed by Derek Barrett. This episode is written by Andy Herman, edited by Casey Minor, executed producers or Stephanie Gens, Jenny Lauer Beckman and her nonlopus for Wondry.