The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Recalling the Days of Payola

Feb. 18, 1960, Payola 

Norm Prescott I was  "blown away" today to see my dad on the front page of the Mirror News. My dad, Norm Prescott, was a big DJ in Boston and New York. We all moved to Los Angeles in 1966.

The guys who got the most amount of press in this congressional investigation, were of course, Dick Clark and Alan Freed. This scandal ruined Freed, and we all know about Dick Clark.

But my dad pointed out, that at the time, payola was actually legal! There were no laws for a time in the 1950's about DJs taking payola. There were trips to Florida, I'm sure there was money, too. But as my dad always pointed out....he 'declared' all his gifts with the IRS. He might have been the only jock to do so! That's why he was never fined or indicted. Others weren't so lucky.

I went on to a long career in radio as well----------I only WISH I was offered payola. (Which in the present era wasn't in the form of money.  Trips.....yes.  Radio station promotion money--yes.

I can't say any more---I'll have to check on the statute of limitations!

Jeff Prescott, La Jolla


Note: After coming to Los Angeles, Norm Prescott was one of the founders of Filmation. He died in 2005 at the age of 78.

Photo of Norman Prescott courtesy of the Prescott family

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