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As this is an exercise of censorship and control over the freedom of speech of others, it becomes in a very great degree the responsibility of Congress to hedge its exercise about by safeguards which will insure to the general public that it will be exercised fairly.
The record of the broadcasting stations generally has not been such as to encourage Congress to believe that the utmost good faith and fairness will be observed voluntarily without interposition of these sa feguards.
In the exercise of the authority granted it by Congress to protect and defend the public interest in the air, the Federal Communications Commission has very properly made it a condition of granting a license to broadcast that each station shall allow a substantial amount of sustaining time-time not sold for commercial use, but devoted to programs of general public interest and the discussion of public questions.
An examination of the reports required to be submitted with applications for renewal of license would disclose that this sustaining time has, on most stations, been getting smaller and smaller, but that commercial time has been expanding and expanding and encroaching
In this connection, we feel that section 8 should be clarified to make certain that program reports may be kept available to inspection by the general public.
I presume that you refer only to financial reports, but there might be misunderstanding of that clause, and I do think it essential that program reports be kept available to inspection.
So far has this discrimination against the public and in favor of the advertiser gone that some stations even refuse to permit the broadcasting of the temperance lesson in a series of international Sundayschool lessons because it was offensive to some of the advertisers. Another station refused to allow ministers broadcasting over its facilities to announce they were going to speak at a WCTU meeting.
In the light of experience such as this, it becomes highly important for Congress to retain control over broadcasting, including programs and business dealings, for the purpose of making sure that the rights in the air of the public are not interfered with and that a reasonable amount of time on each station is kept open for the public; and that programs of some value are presented to the public instead of the interminable reading of books of a gloomy character.
We believe that the power to review programs to determine whether a licensee has operated in the public interest is the minimum of protection necessary.
Now, we are suggesting two things: First, that section 17 be broadened to include a provision that if time is sold on the air for the purpose of advertising that is controversial in character, an equal amount of time on the same stations, sver the same coverage on an equally favorable hour, must be sold to those holding opposing views on the controversial question; and. Second, that there be added a provision amending section 316 of the act to read:
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, LOTTERIES, AND SIMILAR DEVICES 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 brodcasting 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 any information concerning any lottery, et cetera.
I respectfully submit this to the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions? We thank you very much.
Miss SMART. Thank you, Senator, for giving us the opportunity to be heard.
The CHAIRMAN. I repeat what I said at the opening of the session.
There will be no meeting of the committee this afternoon. We will meet at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning. I am not able to tell at the moment who the witnesses will be. I feel that we shall then have to go over Thursday without a meeting of the committee. I think it is important that we have an executive meeting of the full committee for the consideration of other legislative matters that are pending before the committee. But I hope that we will resume again on Friday. The committee stands in recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 11:45 p. m., an adjournment was taken, to reconvene at 10 a. m. on Wednesday, June 25, 1947.)
TO AMEND THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 1947
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., pursuant to adjournment, in the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee room, the Capitol, Senator Wallace H. White, Jr. (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators White, Moore, Capehart, and Johnson of Colorado.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come to order. I expect some other members of the committee will report shortly, but we are having so many committee meetings these days that it is utterly impossible to spread ourselves around and attend all of them. One has to make his choice as to what he will hear and just regret what he has missed in the way of hearings. This morning we have several witnesses scheduled. The first witness is Dr. E. H. Armstrong. We would be very glad to hear Dr. Armstrong at this time.
Have you a brief to file, Doctor?
STATEMENT OF EDWIN H. ARMSTRONG, PROFESSOR, ELECTRICAL
ENGINEERING, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK, N. Y.
Dr. ARMSTRONG. Yes, Mr. Chairman, I have filed a statement with the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. I am going to ask you, as I have all of the others, to arrange it so that your oral statement will be brief, and that it shall not be repetitious of your written statement, but will be supplementary, or in the nature of summary. I will ask you if you will observe that rule as closely as you can.
Dr. ARMSTRONG. Yes, Mr. Chairman, I understand that is the rule. Mr. Chairman, in my last appearance before your committee, in 1943, I brought to the attention of the committee certain facts about a new system of broadcasting known as FM. In that testimony, I outlined the advantages of the system, and I will briefly run over them again.
Principally, they are the ability to work through the effects of thunderstorms without interference, the ability to accomplish great reduction in interferences from man-made disturbances, and from other stations, far better quality of reproduction than the standard, or AM system.
The CHAIRMAN. You are speaking of FM, I take it.
Now, I have spoken of what we might call the disturbances due to the forces of nature. By a curious coincidence, there happens to be a letter in this week's Broadcasting Magazine from the Assistant Chief of the Radio Propagation Laboratories of the Bureau of Standards, and I would just like to read it into the record, if I may.
It is to the editor, and he said: I would like to bring to your attention the fact that on the evening of June 7, atmospheric noise on the standard broadcast band was the highest that I have ever observed in all my broadcast listening. At my home in Fairfax County, Va., just 12 miles from downtown Washington, it was just barely possible to identify Washington's stations WRC and WTOP in my Hallicrafter receiver.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, may I interrupt you right there? Those who have been interested in radio over the years know you and know of your accomplishments. There may be some who do not have that familiarity with your past work.
Would you make a brief identifying statement of yourself and of your activities? I notice that that is not in your written statement. Or you can do it at the close of your testimony, if you choose.
Dr. ARMSTRONG. I left it out, Mr. Chairman, because it is in my previous testimony.
The CHAIRMAN. In the previous testimony that we made a part of this record by reference?
Dr. ARMSTRONG. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. ARMSTRONG. I will say briefly that I have been in radio for 40 years, and I have seen about everything happen except this particular thing that I want to talk about, which happened since I appeared before your committee the last time.
The CHAIRMAN. I am sure all of the committee members know something about you, and it is all good, but I thought that the public might not have that knowledge. But I think it is covered in your previous testimony, which is a part of this record by reference. So you may just proceed, and disregard my suggestion.
Dr. ARMSTRONG. This letter winds up with the statement: However, at this same time reception of the local FM stationsand he summarizes a number of them, and also WINC, Winchester, Va., approximately 50 miles away, was possible with complete enjoyment, and only occasional pops of static occurred when lightning struck nearby.
Now, briefly, the Assistant Chief, Mr. Herbstreit, summarizes what I demonstrated 11 years ago to the radio art, to the chief engineers of the major broadcasting companies.
And still, today, less than 1 percent of the people of the United States have the benefit of this service. Now, so much for overcoming the forces of nature.
The system had the ability to operate, at the time of its invention, in a part of the radio spectrum which was then entirely unused; that is, above 30 megacycles, where great numbers of new channels could have been made available. As a matter of fact, that radio frontier, as you recall, Senator White, stopped at 30 megacycles; and beyond that the radio territory was as wide open as the country west of the Alleghanies was when the American Colonies bordered on the Alleghany Mountains. Let us see what happened. You have heard a great deal down here about having radio as free as the press.