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The issue is not primarily one of free speech on the air. According to the best available evidence, once a political figure gets on the air he is free to say pretty much what he pleases. The most important problem concerns equal access to the radio facilities of this country.
When the Democrats came to office in 1933 the broadcasters abandoned even a pretense to impartiality in politics. The reason for this, in the candid words of one of their spokesmen, was partly “the hope of currying favor, and partly because we were misled by an excess of zeal, based on the oft-repeated statement that we were in the midst of an emergency
The tendency of broadcasters to surrender their scruples and yield to the excitement of the hour poses a real threat to the democratic process.
The CHAIRMAN. The next witness is Mr. Morris.
STATEMENT OF SAM MORRIS, REPRESENTING THE NATIONAL TEM
PERANCE AND PROHIBITION COUNCIL, SAN ANTONIO, TEX. Mr. MORRIS. Senator White, and members of the committee I shall be very happy to confine most of what I say to just a brief summary of what is in the written statement, and to supplementary material which has been provoked in the course of these hearings.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.
Mr. Morris. I want to to say that I have attended every hearing, and I have greatly appreciated the patience and fairness with which this committee has listened to every witness in these hearings.
I am Sam Morris, of San Antonio, Tex., and I am speaking officially as the radio speaker and representative of the National Temperance and Prohibition Council, a council of 23 national organizations which speaks for the 35 or 40 million people in America who are definitely believers in abstinence for the individual and prohibition for the Nation.
Our attorney, and the president of our organization, Mr. Henry M. Johnson, for the sake of brevity, and in order not to consume unnecessarily the time of your committee, sent his statement, which we present in the hope that it will be placed in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Whose statement is this?
Mr. Morris. That of Henry M. Johnson, of Louisville, Ky., who is the attorney of our National Temperance and Prohibition Council, and also the president.
The CHAIRMAN. He is the attorney and president of your organization. I just wanted that identification.
The statement will be included in the record. (The statement referred to is as follows:)
STATEMENT OF HENRY M. JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL TEMPERANCE AND
PROHIBITION COUNCIL To the Honorable Members of the Committee:
Rev. Sam Morris and I were delegated by the National Temperance and Prohibition Council to represent the council in efforts to correct the abuse of radio stations and networks in using the people's radio spectrum for promoting the drinking of alcoholic beverages, spearheading by the incessant broadcasting of glamorous appeals by the beer and wine interests to drink their products.
The council for whom we appear is composed of the leading religious bodies of the Nation, composed of 14,000,000 Northern and Southern Baptists, 8,000,000 Methodists, and many other millions of Presbyterians, Disciples of Christ, United Brethren, Friends, Church of the Brethren, Seventh-day Adventists, Unitarians, and other welfare organizations. The church bodies and organizations are as follows:
American Temperance Society of the Seventh-day Adventists.
Board of Christian Education, Church of the Brethren.
World League Against Alcoholism. Recently your honorable committee held a hearing on the Capper bill, S. 265, designed to ban all advertising of alcoholic beverages, and on that hearing repre sentatives of the 23 above bodies composing the council, and of many other organizations, appeared and testified, or filed statements before the committee, strongly condemning the iniquitous advertising of alcoholic beverages, and espe cially over the radio. The outstanding national leaders, 59 in number, who testified or filed statements were as follows:
Babson, Roger W., Wellesley Hills, Mass.
Board, Washington, D. C.
York. Colvin, Mrs. D. Leigh, National Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Cromwell, Dr. Walter O., Chicago Juvenile Protective Association. Cunningham, Dr. Glenn, of Kansas, former world's champion mile runner. Cutten, Dr. George B. (LL. D., Ph. D., D. Sc.), ex-president, Colgate Uni
versity. Dawson, Dr. J. M., Washington, D. C., representing 14,000,000 Baptists. Dill, Miss Beryl, teen-age girl from Virginia. Donnan, Mr. David M., Arizona, liquor-ad crusade. Edison. Mrs. Thomas A., Fort Myers, Fla. Ernst, Rev. Ira Sankey, D. D., Washington, D. C. Gannett, Frank E., president of the Gannett newspapers and head of radio
stations. Grellner, Judge, St. Louis. Grosse, Rev. Ernest E., Jr., Church of the Nazarene. Hammaker, Bishop Wilbur E., the Methodist Board of Temperance, Bishop,
Rocky Mountain area. Hastings, Dr. J. Warren, representing Disciples of Christ, pastor of National
City Church, Washington, D.C. Hearn, C. Aubrey, Nashville, Tenn. Hoffman, Dean, Harrisburg, Pa.
Howard, Dr. Clinton N., executive director, International Reform Federa
tion, Washington, D. C. Johnson, Henry M., witness and attorney who compiled the brief. Koch, C. Franklin, of the United Lutheran Church. Kraft, James L., Chicago, Ill. Langer, Hon. William, United States Senator from North Dakota. LeTourneau, R. C., Peoria, Ill. McDonald, T. Morton, lawyer, Princeton, Ind. McKay, Judge William R., Los Angeles, Calif. Martin, Dr. R. H., editor in chief, Christian Statesman, Pittsburgh, Pa. Miller, Dr. O. R., head of National Civic League, Albany, N. Y. Morgan, Dr. Joy Elmer, representing National Education Association, Wash
ington, D. C. Morris, Rev. Sam. Nicholson, Mrs. Jesse W., Washington, D. C. Palmer, Mr. Richard Spencer, National Federation of Men's Bible Classes,
Washington, D. C. Parish, Mr. Herbert H., director, National Temperance Movement, Chicago,
Ill. Phillips, Hon. John, Congressman from California. Pickett, Deets, editor of the Clip Sheet, Washington, D. C. Reid, Samuel, president and treasurer, Industrial Tape Mills Co., moderator
of Philadelphia Presbytery, United Presbyterian Church of North America,
Philadelphia, Pa. Robb, Rev. G. M., Reformed Presbyterian Church. Ryals, Mr. Carthy R., of Mobile, Ala., George Washington University student. Saunders, Mr. J. T., representing National Grange, Washington, D. C. Scharffenberg, Rev. W. A., American Temperance Society, Washington, D. C. Schmidt, Dr. J. Raymond, International Order of Good Templars, Washing
ton, D. C. Scott, Dr. B. L., chairman, executive committee, Anti-Saloon League of
America. Smart, Miss Elizabeth A., secretary of the National Temperance and ProhiRadio stations almost universally, and all the networks, sell liberally of their choicest radio time to the beer and wine interests in order to recruit drinkers of alcohol beverages, and refuse at the same time to sell any time whatever to the opposing interests, the church and welfare interests, to counsel and adrise against the drinking of such beverages.
bition Council, Washington, D. C.
Zottoll, Judge Joseph T., Boston, Mass. Inasmuch as the chief offenders, in promoting the drinking of alcoholic beverages, are the radio stations, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Columbia Broadcasting System, and the other networks, we respectfully submit that, in the drafting of any new radio law, the broadcasting of advertisements of alcoholic beverages, and all appeals to drink same, should be completely banned.
There was filed before the committee on the hearing of Capper bill, S. 265, a brown book, entitled "Here's How,” meaning how to sell beer over the radio, which book is issued and sent out to radio stations by the National Association of Broadcasters, Department of Broadcast Advertising, Washington 6, D. C. On the flyleaf of the book it is stated that the book tells how to use radio “to increase sales” and “promote consumer good will for beer.”
We characterize this brown book, entitled "Here's How," as one of the most insidious and pernicious assaults ever made on the boyhood and girlhood of the Nation to make liquor drinkers of them. It evidences that the beer interests and National Association of Broadcasters are so ravenous for money that they are willing to lure and debase and debauch the youth of America to further swell, to the overflowing point, their already excessive and outrageous earnings.
The National Association of Broadcasters has, through its president, staff officers, committees, and members, persistently assailed the blue book, issued by the Federal Communication Commission, which sets out most worthy aspirations and objectives of the Commission as to broadcasting. The NAB in its repeated unjustifiable attacks has the brazen effrontery to apparently seriously urge that the content of broadcasts be vested entirely in the radio industry.
The National Association of Broadcasters' brown book Here's How, sets out such low and sordid standards of broadcasting, as to clearly demonstrate that the radio industry, under no conditions, can be trusted, or should be trusted, with the entire determination of the contents of broadcasts.
Rev. Sam Morris, in his appearance and statement filed before this committee, has in detail set forth the unfair and unjust practice and policies pursued by radio stations and networks in unjustly discriminating against the moral. religious, and welfare forces of the Nation altruistically seeking to benefit mankind, the unfair discrimination being in favor of the beer, wine, and liquor interests of the Nation, motivated by a desire to make money. All of this is fully set out in the statement, which Rev. Sam Morris has prepared and is filing before your committee.
The radio interests and the beer and wine liquor interests' only justification for such policy is to make money. Of course, the making of money hy these interests should not outweigh the welfare and destiny of the citizens and boys and girls of the Nation, yet the facts are that the alcohol-beverage interests, as well as the radio interests, are making and have made such exorbitant amounts of money as to shock and outrage the people of this Nation.
With reference to the radio industry, the facts are that the earnings and dividends have been shamefully enormous. So immense have they been that radio stations have been selling for as much as 14 times their original cost.
This is because these fiduciary trustees, the radio stations and networks, who under the law must operate in the public interest, have so curtailed sustaining broadcasts in the public interest and sold so much time and the best time to commercial interests at high prices to sell and boost their products. Among these latter are the alcohol-beverage interests, who have paid millions of dollars to the radio industry to recruit drinkers. These interests paid in one year over $2,000,000 to the Columbia Broadcasting System alone. It is through this practice and policy that the Columbia Broadcasting System has been such a real bonanza, as shown by the following:
One share of Columbia stock has received such stock dividends that 1 share has now grown to 1714 shares, each share of which is selling on the market today at $28. This means that 1 share, which originally cost $1 (or perhaps $2.501, is represented now by 171/4 shares selling at $28 per share, or a total of $183. During these years since 1931 Columbia has paid handsome dividends on the increased number of shares, and has built up from earnings large reserves and surpluses now amounting to over $18,000,000.
The types and character of broadcasting generally carried on by the radio stations and the high earnings these stations are making and the high prices at which their stations and stocks are selling, when the stations are all the while operating on the radio frequencies which belong to the people, clearly call for congressional restraints as follows:
Two important provisions, which, by all means, should be placed in the new radio law, are
1. A provision banning all broadcasts advertising alcoholic beverages and promoting their sales and drinking.
2. A limitation of the earnings of the fiduciary trustees, viz: the stations and networks, to the same rate of earnings as public utilities, viz: 6 to 8 percent, on capital invested, after all expenses and proper allowances for
depreciation, depletion, obsolescense, research, experimentation, etc. Respectfully submitted.
HENRY M. JOHNSON, President of National Temperance and Prohibition Council. Mr. MORRIS. May I say that I have been broadcasting for about 20 years. It has been sort of a hobby with me to broadcast. And because of my familiarity with broadcasting, and the nature of the industry and the work, and my experiences, the National Temperance and Prohibition Council has requested that I be their representative in this hearing.
We come with a specific complaint and a remedy which we believe, by being incorporated in your law, will remedy that complaint.
The following is a proposed amendment to S. 1333: Following the concluding words “recorded rebroadcast" of subsection (g) of section 315, and immediately preceding section 16, insert the following:
SEC. 15. (a) The heading of section 316 of the act is amended to read “Alcoholic Beverages, Lotteries, and Similar Devices," and such section is amended to read as follows:
"No person shall broadcast by means of any radio station for which a license is required by any law of the United States, and no person operating such a station shall knowingly permit the broadcasting of any advertisement of (a) any spiritous, vinous, malted, or fermented' liquors, or any combination thereof for beverage purposes subject to tax under title 26, subchapters a, b, or d, of the United States Internal Revenue Code, or (b) any advertisement of or information concerning any lottery, gift enterprise, or similar scheme offering prizes, dependent in whole or in part upon lot or chance, or list of prizes drawn or awarded by means of any such lottery, gift enterprise, or scheme, where said list contains any part of all of such prizes. Any person violating any provisions of this section shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both, for each and every day during which such offense occurs."
The purpose of this amendment, of course, is to prohibit the advertising of alcoholic beverages over the radio.
The Brewers' Digest of April 1945, in an article on beer advertising, has this to say
Senator MOORE. There is a bill now pending covering the same subject?
Mr. MORRIS. May I say, Senator Moore, that a very wide and extensive hearing was held before the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee about 30 days ago, at which time we had some 35 or 40 witnesses, who took a day on the bill, on what is known as the Capper bill, S. 265. That is a bill to prohibit transportation in interstate commerce of such advertising, and it would pertain to radio, newspapers, and magazines.
This proposed amendment, of course, pertains primarily to the matter of radio. And to save the time of your committee, I hand you one of the copies of the transcript of my testimony in the other hearing, which we have presented here for reference only to conserve your time.
The CHAIRMAN. That will be received for reference. The record is already made in the other hearing.
Mr. Morris. That is right. Yes, sir. Does that answer your question, Senator Moore?
Senator MOORE. Yes.
Mr. MORRIS. Now, let me quote this Brewers' Digest. I would like to have you note particularly what they have to say about radio advertising. This is the voice of the brewers:
By far more people listen to the radio within their own homes than at any other time. Consequently, it is a good medium for putting over educational propaganda, or for encouraging increased consumption of products consumed in the home.
Its chief value is in implanting an idea and building up wants and desires in the consumer's mind, which he will satisfy later.
Radio forces listeners to get a rather long commercial message they have to listen to about 125 or 130 words of commercial on the same item, whether they want to or not.
Radio shows build an audience of their own through the quality of presentation offered. If people like the show, the advertiser forces them to listen to his commercial; otherwise they don't get the show.