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whether someone is paying him, and who is paying him if he is being paid at all. It just seems as though there ought to be a complete identification of a person who gets the air to talk to 20 or 30 million American people.
This provision may not be the right answer, but you who are in this business and have had a large experience may be able to tell us what ought to be done.
Mr. MORENCY. I would like to try to suggest something in writing. May I do that?
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead.
Mr. MORENCY. I meant later. Could I submit something for the record in that connection? The CHAIRMAN. Certainly. Do not delay too long.
(The information referred to was not submitted before the hearings were printed.) Mr. MORENCY. I might say, in parentheses, that in our last survey 84 percent of the people believe in the authenticity of news on the radio as against other media. They just believe it. They have more confidence in it. And that is an indication that news has been presented objectively on the air, in my opinion.
The last thing I wanted to comment on was part 4 of section 19, under (a) which reads: which gives any network organization an option upon periods of time which are unspecified or which gives one or more network organzations options upon specified periods of time totaling more than 50 per centum of the total number of hours for which the station is licensed to operate, or upon a total of more than two hours in any consecutive three-hour period
The point I wanted to make there is this: When you use the phrase "for which the station is licensed to operate,” it must be remembered that most stations are licensed to operate 24 hours a day, in which case this would allow a network to option 12 hours of time a day. And I would regret to see that.
With the inclusion of so many licenses, with so many more stations available, I would not like to see any change made in the present regulation on that subject. It has worked out pretty well, and it has allowed sufficient time for every station to do a good job, as much of a job as they want to do, on the local level, without network commitments.
That is about all I had. Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you very much, and your complete statement will go into the record.
(The statement referred to is as follows:)
STATEMENT OF PAUL W. MORENCY, VICE PRESIDENT OF TRAVELERS SERVICE BROAD
CASTING CORP., AND GENERAL MANAGER OF RADIO STATION WTIC, HARTFORD, CONN.
My name is Paul W. Morency. I am vice president of the Trarelers Service Broadcasting Corp., and general manager of radio station WTIC and WTIC-FM. in Hartford, Conn. I am, and have been for 8 years, a director of the National Association of Broadcasters. I am a director of the Advertising Council. I am a director of Broadcast Music, Inc., and I am chairman of the station planning and advisory committee, renresenting independent stations which are affiliated with the National Broadcasting Co. This committee is elected annually by independent affiliates. I appear today as vice president of the Travelers Broadcasting Service Corp. and general manager of WTIC.
While there are many sections of the bill with which I am not in accord, I would like to speak specifically on the following sections: First, section 17, which amends part 1 of title III of the Communications Act of 1934; second, section 18 of the White bill, amending part 1 of title III of the act. This section is titled “Identification of Source in News Broadcasts." Finally, I should like to speak to section 19 of the bill which also amends part 1 of title III of the '34 act and which section is entitled, "Limitations on Chain Broadcasting and Station Ownership.”
The proposed section 330 of section 17 seeems to me impractical in operation because of the proviso starting in line 12, “That the time, in the aggregate, devoted to different views on any such question shall not be required to exceed twice that which was made available to the original user or users.”
This proviso would potentially more than double the amount of time which any radio station would have to allocate to the discussion of any public question. Ali radio stations at present operate on the principle that both sides of a public or controversial question shall receive equal treatment and as there are usually two substantially opposing views on any public questions, two broadcasts on that subject virtually cover the subject. It seeems to me that under this provision—as above quoted—the door would be wide open for innumerable facets of opinion to demand time for the presentation of a view which might very well differ in such a minor degree to be inconsequential to the main issue. Again, if two opposite viewpoints are permitted to broadcast to counter the original broadcast from the proponent, I would assume, in all fairness, that the proponent would again have the right to present another broadcast to equalize the time. And, if during this broadcast, there was presented a small difference in viewpoint from the original broadcast, then the door would be open for a merry-go-round which might go on indefinitely.
The result of procedure under this provision would be to place the power of enforcement in the hands of the Federal Communications Commission since I assume that any complaints of noncompliance with the provision would be addressed to that body. Because the broadcaster would have no way of knowing what the Commission would consider important or unimportant, and could have no previous knowledge as to what a decision might be, he would be in an unenviable position in ju his opera on.
The ultimate end of such a provision might well be to curtail the discussion of public questions rather than to encourage them. In times like these, when it is so important for people to be informed on all the important questions of the day; public discussion should be encouraged by all practical means and not discouraged. It might very easily have an effect directly opposite to that which is intended. This provision might well require a broadcaster to devote entirely too much time to a subject which was of minor importance to the public to the detriment of the presentation of the greater issues—this by requiring too much time to be devoted to a single subject without regard to its importance.
Proposed section 331, also a part of section 17, requires an immense amount of detail. It requires that before a broadcaster may permit the use of his station for a presentation of any public or political questions under section 315 or 330, he must procure in writing from the person or persons arranging or contracting for the broadcast time (a) the name of the speaker or speakers; (b) the subject of the discussion; (c) the capacity in which the speaker or speakers appear; that is, whether on their own account as an individual candidate or public officer, or as the representative, advocate, or employee of another; and how the time for the broadcast was made available, and if paid for, by whom. All of this information must be announced at the beginning and end of each broadcast.
During political campaigns, it is not unusual for a political party to use 5minute broadcasts. This is particularly true of single station broadcasts. Under this proviso, most of that 5-minute period would be devoted to comply with this provision to the great detriment of the speaker, his cause and the public. The speaker would have paid for time on which he could not propound his views and the public would merely be hearing two lengthy and repetitious announcements. Even on quarter-hour programs, particularly where more than one speaker was involved, this requirement would be very onerous and wholly impractical.
Radio stations at the present time fully identify speakers, parties and subject matter but not in anything like the detail required by this provision. I assume that the objective here is to provide the listener with sufficient information so that there will be no possible deception. I feel that that is adequately covered in the present Act and by the voluntary custom and tradition within the industry.
There is a further provision in this section relating to the case of a public officer where the announcements are not quite so detailed but still require the announcement at the beginning and end of the program covering the subject of discussion and whether or not the office is elective or appointive and the political unit or political officer involved in the election or appointment. great many stations have regular programs each week from their Representatives, Senators, Governors, and locally elected and appointed officers. It would be extremely onerous to have to follow this procedure as outlined for browul casts covering such well-known figures as Senators, Governors, and local officials.
I come now to section 18 of the bill and proposed section 332 (a) - "Identification of Source in News Broadcasts." The first sentence of this section reads as follows: “All news items or the discussion of current events broadcast by any radio broadcast station shall be identified generally as to source and ail editorial or interpretative comment, if any, concerning such items or events shall be identified as such and as to source and responsibility."
This part of section 332 (a) would directly limit the ability of any radio. news reporter to gather news. For instance, as soon as the fact were known that every news broadcast had by law to reveal the source of all information, then immediately important sources of news would dry up as far as radio was concerned. This is a point on which news reporters have gone to jail; hare suffered rather than reveal the source of their news. Hundreds of radio stations, realizing their responsibility in the dissemination of local news, bave their own local and regional news reporters, as we do at WTIC. We nave legislative reporters in Connecticut, and our reporters, if they were to be required to identify all the source of their news, would be immediately handicapped in a competitive way in delivering to our listeners the same news that the newspapers would be able to deliver to their readers. This is a clear discrimination as between media, and would place radio at a distinct disadvantage in its reportorial function.
More than that, responsible surveys now show that 64 percent of all of our people get most of their news from radio, and to place such a limitation upon our reporters who gather and disseminate the news is a public disservice and I know that this could not be the objective of this group.
In addition to the fact that it would cut down news service to the people, the provision, in my opinion, is impractical. It would require frequent interruption of news broadcasts to identify sources to the complete confusion of the listener. At WTIC, our present custom is to announce at the conclusion of each news broadcast the fact that our broadcasts are made up from dispatches from Associated Press, International News Service, Transradio, and our own reporters, and this is a practice generally followed by radio stations throughout the country. More detailed and specific disclosure of sources than this would run into the objections which I have outlined.
The last part of my testimony concerns section 19 of the bill, entitled “Limitations on Chain Broadcasting and Station Ownership"—the proposed section 333. I don't believe that contractual relations between a network and an indlependent station should be made the subject of legislation. The result will be an inflexible set of rules which will certainly not conform to the rapidly changing needs of the industry. Many new things are entering the art, such as facsimile, frequency modulation and television, and no expert could write statutory provisions of this kind which would be just and equitable for all seginents of the broadcasting industry.
Part 4 of section 19, under (a), reads: "Which gives any network organization an option upon periods of time which are unspecified or which gives one or more network organizations options upon specified periods of time totaling more than 50 per centum of the total number of hours for which the station is licensed to operate or upon a total of more than two hours in any consecutive three-hour period
As I understand part 4, all independent stations licensed to operate 24 hours a day would be permitted to option to one or more networks 50 percent of that 24-hour period—or 12 hours. This is more than the present regulations allow and any regulation which permits the network to demand more time on option is, to my mind, detrimental to the best interests of the independent stations and the service which they can render to their local area. This provision is particularly important at the present time because of the increased number of stations, which fact gives the networks more stations to choose between
and, consequently, increased bargaining power. The present regulation covering option time which has been in force for the last few years has, in my opinion, worked out very well and allows flexibility in the arrangement of program schedules. In addition, this regulation has allowed sufficient time at peak listening hours for local stations to do a perfectly adequate job for their local audiences.
I feel that the suggested provision would hamper the presentation of the best programs at the most suitable times.
In conclusion, my general comment on the provisions which I have discussed is that they are detrimental to good community and regional operation because they take away from the flexibility of the individual broadcaster's operation. Flexibility—and in flexibility, I include timeliness—is one of the great puble assets of radio and each step toward inflexibility makes for poorer, not better, service to the listener.
The CHAIRMAN. The next witness is Mr. Arnoux. Do you have a brief to file?
STATEMENT OF CAMPBELL ARNOUX, PRESIDENT AND GENERAL
MANAGER, RADIO STATION WTAR, NORFOLK, VA. Mr. Arnoux. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Your full statement will appear in the record, and I am going to make the same plea to you as I have to the others: That you make your oral testimony as brief as possible.
Mr. ARNOUX. My name is Campbell Arnoux. I am president and general manager of radio station WTAR, Norfolk, Va. I am also a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Broadcasters. Almost all of my testimony is encompassed in the brief, except two items, which I think have direct application to you gentlemen and to the station operators.
The CHAIRMAN. I just beg of you not to repeat what is contained in the brief, because it will have thoughtful reading.
Senator Johnson. Not only that, but everything in here will be carefully analyzed, so that we will have all of it before us.
Mr. ARNOUX. Yes, sir. What I had reference to was the political and public-service programs.
I think it is important that an attempt has been made to clarify the procedure under which that will be handled. It is an exceedingly delicate matter. Good friends, when election time comes around, get exceedingly sensitive, and questions that at other times might be very easy to resolve might become very difficult both for the station and the man who seeks to buy time for his candidacy. Heretofore, the law has been extremely vague and difficult to administer.
As a matter of fact, in 25 years of station operation, I think the only two times I ever got hauled up before the Commission was on political questions which we did our best to solve, to the best of our ability. I do think, however, that there are some items there in the proposed law that perhaps could be strengthened.
My first reference was to section 8 (j) of the bill, and I think this is one section that has not been touched upon. That is the requirement that the Commission may require uniform systems of accounting and detailed financial reports.
It is my feeling that the purview of the Commission in granting an application or a renewal is to satisfy itself that the applicant, among other things, is financially qualified to carry out his operation. However, there has grown up in recent years a system of the most
minute and detailed financial reports, which have proved to be quite a burden on the licensee. They are much more detailed than the one we give each year to the Internal Revenue Bureau. And I feel that those are unnecessary and without the purview of the Commission, since
have stated in section 16 that we are not in the commoncarrier or utility division, and thereby the regulation of our business and the fixing of our rates are out of the jurisdiction of the Commission. I see, therefore, no reason that this information should be furnished each year, or at any time other than in an application for a renewal or license. It is available to the Government in other forms at any time it needs it. That is the point I wanted to bring up. Being from Virginia, we are not only interested in economy in government, but traditionally very much interested that the Government does not interfere in the business affairs of its citizens any more than is necessary for good government.
That was my first point.
Of course, you do not classify yourselves as being in a purely private capacity. You are in business by Government suffrance, by virtue of a Government license.
Mr. ARNOUX. That is correct, Senator.
Senator MAGNUSON. You are not quite in the same category as a person who does not need a Government license to operate.
Mr. ARNOUX. True.
Senator MAGNUSON. And therefore, there must be some supervision. Would you not say that?
Mr. ARNOUX. I agree. But I maintain that the supervision should be as little as possible. Senator MAGNUSON. Do
think the bill corrects that? Mr. Arnoux. No; I think the bill is inconsistent, with apologies to the writer, in that in section 16 it stipulates that there shall be no interference, and in section 18 it provides for the most detailed interference.
Now, the second point that I made in my brief was touched on by the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and I find myself very thoroughly in accord with his views. I think it needs no further exposition. That is, that I suggest the words "consistent with good engineering practice” be substituted for the words “giving effect in each such instance to the needs and requirements thereof when they are deciding what station should be put in each community. Otherwise you go again into a quasi common carrier status and require the Commission to decide on matters of overcompetition, as well as monopoly. I don't believe that there is any middle ground there. Either you have public-utility operation, or you have the opposite. That is just my thought, Senator. The CHAIRMAN. Well, I think I must say that in
you are verging constantly toward the public utility concept, so far as it can be applicable.
Mr. ARNOUX. That seems to have been a verging with which the broadcasters disagree. Because once you get into public utility regulation, then you regulate, to my mind, the most important means of communication of thought.