This is basically an excuse to play it safe. With no paper or e-mail trail to tie in a song or album or artist into a station's promo machine, there should be no way that an investigation into payola could nail a station. Not that many radio stations are creative to begin with so this is basically cover for them to continue to be lazy.
Is it any wonder that they're getting their butts kicked? Right now, not only satellite radio but also dozens of virtual radio channels offered in some cable packages (i.e. Time Warner Digital) gives you a much broader selection, albeit just in niche genres. For free form radio that gives you a mix of everything, you still have to rely on a handful of college stations and mavericks like WFMU.
In other head-scratching news, there's a fascinating quote from this article: Music industry counts the cost of online piracy
Amid the usual industry bitching about how downloading pirates is destroying the biz comes this interesting little contradiction:
"But the dent to the music industry coffers has increased largely because those downloading music illegally are the individuals expected to spend the most on music."
... which means that the industry's sue-the-consumer strategy is backfiring in a big way. It only makes sense- forcing consumers into poverty means that they won't have money to buy any CD's anyway. And yet it goes on. But why...?