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fected economically by any more stations in that area and deny additional service to the public. I do not believe that is the intent of this committee, nor of the Federal Communications Commission. Nonetheless the danger is there. We respectfully urge the committee to rewrite section 12, or to leave the present sections 308 and 309 stand. We feel that the procedure presently prescribed by the Communications Act and the Commission's rules and regulations is fair.
Section 15. The proposed subsection (a), we believe, might open the way for misinterpretation of the committee's intent with reference to equal opportunities for qualified candidates or their respective representatives to the use of broadcasting facilities. I assume it is not the intent of this provision to place on the shoulders of licensees the burden of seeking out opposing candidates. Therefore I would suggest that the language of section 315 (a) as proposed be changed to read:
(a) When any licensee permits any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office in a primary, general, or other election to use a broadcast station, or permits any person to use a broadcast station in support of any such candidate, he shall not deny equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office, or to a person designated by any such candidate to use such broadcast station; and if any licensee permits any person to use a broadcast station in opposition to any such candidate or candidates, he shall not deny equal opportunities to the candidate or candidates so opposed or to a person designated by any such candidate, in the use of such broadcast station. [Suggested changes italicized.]
I might go a bit further and suggest that the word "afford" be changed to make available upon formal request in writing” rather than shall not deny." We are fearful that many licensees will feel obligated to seek out the opposition to a particular candidate or party, thereby causing him to refuse to carry all political campaign broadcasts.
We believe that proposed section 315 (c) places dangerous restrictions on free speech in that it specifies who is a legally qualified candidate. Frequently a candidate is elected, particularly in local elections, through the write-in method. If his name does not appear on the ballot he is not entitled, under this provision, to time on the air to reply to his opponents.
We believe section 315 (c) as proposed tends to give the majority parties the breaks and to stifle the voices of any minorities, and recommend that it be stricken, or broadened. We believe that subsection (c) likewise should be deleted, inasmuch as it tends to place restrictions on free speech.
Section 17. Generally we are in accord with the proposed sections 330 and 331, with one exception. The proviso of section 331 (c) reads:
That in the case of a public officer speaking as such, the announcements shall specify only the subject of the discussion, the office held by him, whether such office is elective or appointive, and by what political unit or political officer the power of election of appointment is exercised.
We believe this to be cumbersome and would impose unnecessary obligations on the licensee. For instance, should the Secretary of State speak on the Moscow Conference, the licensee would be bound, under this provision, to state that the Secretary of State is appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the Senate. On a local level, licensees would be required to use 2 or 3 minutes to explain who some local officials are and how they obtained their offices. I would suggest that identification of the speaker and his office would be sufficient to meet what I assume is the intent of the committee.
If this commitee will permit me, I would like to step out of character as an FM executive director for a moment and speak as a former radio news editor of one of the largest stations in the country. I feel it is a sad state of affairs when the Congress feels that a law is necessary to define news reporting and commentary. Personally, I have always felt, and I am an old newspaper man, since 1920, that radio is serving the public interest better if they brand commentaries as such. I have never had any objection to crediting INS, UP, or AP, or Trans-Radio as the source of our news wire reports or our local news. However, if a good Senator happened to give me a confidential tip on something, I could not use his name; I, certainly, would never disclose it. I do not think that is intended in this section.
Senator MCFARLAND. One of the difficulties in the handling of radio news, and this has grown up in the newspapers for that matter, is editoralizing of the news. From the way it is editorialized it is difficult to determine what is news and what is editorial. It is a poor practice. I do not care whether it is a newspaper or a commentator, or whoever it may be, to editorialize news.
When they give news, it ought to be branded as news, and give nothing but cold factual news. Frequently they will say what a thing is, and it is not that at all; and that is one of the biggest objections to some of the news broadcasts to the public. When you hear a broadcast you cannot tell whether it is news or whether it is the opinion of the broadcaster.
Mr. BAILEY. I agree with you 100 percent. And, personally, I go along with section 18, and our membership does, too.
Section 18. We have no objection to proposed section 332.
We must oppose section 333 (c) (2) which permits a single licensee to own sufficient stations to serve not more than 25 percent of the population. Although I am sure it was not the intent of this committee to create a condition whereby four monopolies might well control all of this Nation's radio facilities, nevertheless that danger is apparent as the provision now stands. We heartily concur in the statement of Chairman Charles R. Denny of the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday with reference to subsection (2) of section 333 (c).
The FM Association prefers to leave the procedure as it now stands. Although we may not agree that a strict limitation of six FM stations should be placed arbitrarily on any licensee, we would much prefer to see a limit of six stations, rather than the limitation on population.
On the other hand we feel that the Commission should promulgate no ironclad rule, but rather should handle FM station distribution in the manner in which AM stations are licensed. An occasion might arise whereby one large corporation operating stations profitably in six metropolitan markets, could give service to some smaller unprofitable market or two, whereas such small markets could not support an independent station.
We do think if the limitation on coverage is based on population, no more than 25 percent of the population, it might well eventually result in four corporations controlling all of the radio in the United States.
Section 25. We heartily endorse this proposed amendment to prohibit discrimination. This committee no doubt had in mind the newspaper ownership hearings which the Commisson held some years ago and which resulted in a long delay and in some instances of eventual denials of AM facilities to newspapers.
Inasmuch as the smaller newspapers which were squeezed out of AM broadcasting comprise a large number of applicants for FM facilities, and in view of the fact that these newspapers are diligently promoting FM, we concur in proposed section 418.
It is not our intent to burden this committee with a parade of witnesses. I might say that after we had received comments from our membership on S. 1333, I met with our executive committee, which is charged with policy matters of the FMA, and with our legal counsel. As a result of those meetings we offer two additional proposals for S. 1333.
I respectfully ask permission at this time to submit proposed drafts of two amendments before the record is officially closed. Our legal counsel is preparing these drafts, and they should be ready momentarily.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you send copies to Mr. Cooper?
Mr. BAILEY. Yes, sir; we will do that. We are going to propose that the licenses for FM stations be extended to 5 years rather than 3 years.
Briefly, we will propose that the Congress require the Federal Communications Commission to issue FM licenses for a period of
Under the present act the Commission may issue licenses for a period of 3 years. It was not until after hearings were held on S. 814 in the Seventy-eighth Congress and the term of licenses came up that the Commission extended the license period from 2 to the maximum 3 years provided by law.
Inasmuch as those entering FM must invest large sums and be prepared to keep their stations in operation for long periods of time before they can hope to realize any profit, we urge the Congress to give serious consideration to making the license periods for FM a minimum of 5 years rather than a maximum of 3 years. This would, we believe, tend to stabilize the FM profession and would serve to entice high-type broadcasters into the field.
Many qualified applicants are hesitant to invest their money in FM in view of the 1-year license period now in effect under Commission rules. We of the FMA are doing all we can to stimulate interest in FM, which we believe will eventually replace AM as the accepted method of broadcasting. Some encouragement from the Congress and the FCC in the way of 5-year licenses would do much, we feel, to bring about FM's rapid development. Our second point is this: We respectfully urge the Congress to give serious consideration to the extension of the FM band. When the Commission moved FM from the 42-50 megacycle band to the 88-108 megacycle band, provision was made for 20 channels to be reserved for the exclusive use of noncommercial educational stations, leaving 80 channels for commercial stations. Of these 80 channels, 20 have been set aside for community, or class A, stations and 60 for class B, or metropolitan and rural stations.
Already the northeastern section of the United States, designated by the Commission as area I, is suffering a shortage of FM channels. That is not true in the less thickly populated areas farther west, but in area I there have not been sufficient channels to meet the demands.
In FM, we believe, lies the solution to a free, competitive radio, providing there are sufficient channels available for all who are qualified to become broadcasters under the Communications Act.
In the past fortnight the Commission held informal engineering conferences which developed the fact that low-band television below 88 megacycles is experiencing considerable interference. It is on these low bands that television is sharing space with emergency and other services.
We sincerely believe that television eventually will find its permanent home in the upper frequencies, above 400 megacycles, where there is sufficient room for expansion.
Therefore, we request that the Congress authorize the Commission to add another 20 or 30 FM channels to the present band below and contiguous to 88 megacycles.
Television is still in more or less experimental stages, whereas FM is an established service. If the FM band is to be widened—and we believe it must be to provide an adequate Nation-wide service-it should be done before these other services become established and the public is saddled with expensive receiving sets.
The CHAIRMAN. It is impossible for us to hear any other witnesses tonight, and we will hear the three remaining NAB witnesses the first thing in the morning and then go on with those that were scheduled for this afternoon.
The committee will stand in recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning
(Thereupon, at 3:40 p. m., the committee recessed, to reconvene at 10 a. m: Thursday, June 19, 1947.)
TO AMEND THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934
THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 1947
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., pursuant to adjournment, in room 318, Senate Office Building, Senator Wallace H. White, Jr. (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators White, Capehart, Johnson of Colorado, and Mag
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come to order. When we recessed last evening, there were three representatives of the NAB who had not found the opportunity to testify as they wished. I think we should proceed with those three this morning. I understand that Mr. Richards is to be the first witness to appear. Will you go ahead, Mr. Richards?
STATEMENT OF ROBERT K. RICHARDS, DIRECTOR, PUBLIC RELA
TIONS, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. RICHARDS. Thank you, Senator. My name is Robert K. Richards. I am director of public relations of the National Association of Broadcasters.
I wish to offer a statement highlighting the corollary development of publishing and broadcasting in the United States. This is presented in an effort to reinforce the thesis that radio broadcasting is governed by the first amendment to the Constitution and subject, therefore, to the same guaranties of freedom that apply to the press, the pulpit, and public assemblies.
This statement is intended as supplemental testimony to that heretofore offered in support of the contention that section 326 of the Communications Act of 1934, section 16 of S. 1333, should be strengthened to provide such guaranties.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any draft of suggested amendments?
Mr. RICHARDS. I should say, Senator, that any draft I would offer would be similar to that offered by Judge Miller in testimony yesterday:
The CHAIRMAN. Then you are endorsing his suggestion.
The intention here is to establish that radio in the United States can be as free as the press; that such latitude in broadcasting is desirable, consonant as it is with the requirements of democratic government;