Lapas attēli

are many who want to hoodwink the public, who don't like it. Do you remember the Orson Welles mythical broadcast of an invasion from Mars? If you do, you will realize how unsuspecting, how believing radio listeners really are. If you

worked day after day at a bench, came in contact with few people, read very little, and listened several hours a day to your radio, as many people do, you would soon come to accept as gospel truths, the things you hear from this or that particular speaker. You would feel that if it wasn't the truth, “they couldn't broadcast it."

I believe it is an excellent idea to honestly label for the listener exactly what he is getting over his loud speaker. This is the only way a listener may intelligently evaluate what he hears. My judgment is that the requirement for this identification is neither onerous nor burdensome, nor will it impede a program.

I assume that all that is required is a simple announcement that the news is assembled from the reports of the press services, or the special correspondents of the station. I agree that it will make it difficult for a commentator to shout: "Flash, Tokyo," or "London," or "The White House," when in fact the news being reported actually may have originated at the Stork Club. After all, it is the listener who is the sovereign in these United States. It is he who rules. He must be the best informed citizen in the world intelligently to cope with the problems in today's world.

I discussed section 19, which governs network and station relations and limitation of station ownership, when I discussed section 7.

Section 20 is a redraft of existing provisions in the law, prohibiting profane and indecent language, but it adds a prohibition against a person knowingly broadcasting false accusations or charges against any person.

Few people know the great difficulty anyone has today in securing redress through the courts against those who make false accusations on the radio. It has been suggested that this prohibition will tend to prevent free speech over the air. I disagree.

I do not believe that the radio should be a refuge for malicious gossip which may permanently damage a person's reputation. I do not believe that the radio should be used to suggest that a man and wife are getting a divorce, for example, when they are happily • married. I believe this section is an addition that has long been needed, and one to which no fair-minded person can object. Freedom of speech does not grant a license to slander.

Now, as for section 25, which is the final section of this bill, I again wish to compliment the author of the bill for including this section.

Section 25 prohibits discrimination between applicants because of race, religion, political affiliation, lawful occupation, or business association. It would prevent the Commission exercising its own judgment about an applicant merely because he may have been or is in some particular kind of business. It fills a long-needed want in further freeing radio from unnecessary and unwise shackles.

It is the last section of the bill and illustrates the clear thinking and desire to better serve all of the public that has gone into the drafting of this measure.

I want to thank the committee for patiently hearing my views.

The CHAIRMAN. We thank you very much, Mr. Craney. I wanted to question you some, but we only have a half an hour remaining, scarcely that, and I have two other witnesses here.

Mr. CRANEY. Yes, sir, I appreciate that, and I thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. I shall have to ask the other witnesses to either submit their briefs without making oral statements, or to be very brief in their oral statements. The next witness is Miss Susan Anthony. Is Miss Anthony here? Miss Anthony, you have a written brief?



Miss ANTHONY. Yes; I have submitted a written brief, Mr. Chairman,

The CHAIRMAN. I must ask you to be very brief.

Miss ANTHONY. I certainly will. I appreciate the fact that these hearings have been going on for some time, so I am only going to touch upon certain main sections of the bill that my organization, the Progressive Citizens of America, Radio Division, is interested in.

My name, as I said, is Susan Anthony, and I am representing the Progressive Citizens of America, Radio Division. I am therefore representing really the radio artists, radio writers, producers, directors, the people who work in radio; not the network directors, or owners, but the men and women who do the announcing and all the spade work. I am a former radio commentator myself, and so it is in those two capacities that I speak, and not as an expert or as a lawyer.

To be very brief, the Progressive Citizens of America does not feel that S. 1333 is an answer to the problems of the public, the radio broadcasting industry, or the critics of the present Federal Communications Act of 1934.

The CHAIRMAN. You think it is generally just no good?

Miss ANTHONY. Well, I might say right here that what I am reading from is a brief prepared by one of the crack radio lawyers in New York City, Mortimer Becker.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed; I am not going to interject any further observations.

Miss ANTHONY. I wish you would. I used to be on a two-women show, so I am used to a "back and forth," you see, on the radio.

The CHAIRMAN. We simply do not have the time. And I certainly would not want to get into any controversy with two or three women. Just proceed as rapidly as you appropriately can.

Miss ANTHONY. I will. It is submitted that the following analysis of the pertinent sections of the White-Wolverton bill will substantiate the contention of the Progressive Citizens of America that the bill will not improve the Federal Communications Commission Act of 1934, as amended, but, rather, will do serious harm to the ability of the Federal Communications Commission to administer the law of the land so as to benefit the public. And, further, will curtail or prohibit freedom of speech and expression of opinion by individuals and groups.

Section 5: The provisions of section 5 would force the Commission to reorganize its members into two independent divisions; namely, the Broadcast Division and the Common Carrier Division. Three members would sit as a division. The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission would be the executive officer, but he could not preside in either division except in case of a vacancy.

Although the purposes of section 5 are laudable in that they are proposed so as to aid the efficiency of the Commission in handling the various phases of their work, the fault with the change lies in the fact that major problems, and there are many of them, facing the Commission should be placed before the entire Commission for decision and not to just three men. If the Federal Communications Commission is not handling its work as expeditiously as required by the public interest, then it is respectfully suggested that an additional appropriation be made by Congress for the enlargement of its working force and in order to aid the more efficient handling of the problems before it.

Section 7: The purpose of this section is to change section 303 (i) of the Communications Act of 1934 so that the Commission's right to issue rules and regulations concerning chain broadcasting would be limited to the technical phase of regulation. Obviously, the purpose of the change is to limit the extent of the Supreme Court's decision in the chain broadcasting case, wherein the Court upheld the validity of the Commission's regulations.

In this connection, it must be noted that the regulations which the Commission issued in the so-called chain broadcasting case are, in most substantive respects, written into the Federal Communications Commission Act by section 19 of the White-Wolverton bill. The Supreme Court, in the chain broadcasting case, did not rely solely on section 303 (i) of the Federal Communications Commission Act of 1934, as amended, to sustain the regulations issued by the Commission. A good legal case might be made out for the sustaining of any such type of regulation, based on the contention that the Commission has the authority to issue rules and regulations necessary for the fulfillment of the provisions of the act.

We must recognize, as the Supreme Court recognized, that one of the principal objectives of the Federal Communications Commission Act of 1934 was the maintenance and continuance of free competition in the radio-broadcasting industry, and that the chain broadcasting regulations issued by the Commission were designed to prohibit or limit the practices of the networks which placed serious limitations on free competition in the radio-broadcasting industry, and that it should be remembered that the regulations issued by the Commission came about as a result of a complaint instituted by one network against the other networks, resulting from the monopolistic practices of such other networks.

It is respectfully submitted that the Commission's present authority should not be limited, that the changes provided for in section 7 of the White-Wolverton bill are not in the public interest, and that the chain broadcasting regulations issued by the Commission have resulted in a distinct improvement in network broadcasting practices insofar as the public's interest is concerned. The Federal Communications Commission did not issue such chain broadcasting regulations without first holding several years of exhaustive hearings, at which times full opportunity was given to all those interested to participate and present their contentions. Further, those who disagreed with the Commission's chain broadcasting regulations took the matter to the courts, and the Supreme Court held that the Commission was right. It is not possible to have a Federal Communications Commission which will administer the law in the public's interest, convenience, and necessity, as it is bound to do under the legislation passed by Congress, unless the Commission has the authority to issue, from time to time as circumstances may necessitate, the necessary and proper rules and regulations for not only AM broadcasting, but FM and television.

In section 8, pursuant to the provisions of this section, annual financial reports would be required from all radio stations, such reports to be kept confidential with the proviso that they be available for the information of any committee of Congress or in any proceeding before the Commission. Since financial reports are submitted to the Federal Communications Commission presumably to help it in carrying out the provisions of the Federal Communications Commission Act, it is submitted that such financial reports should be available for public inspection, under proper safeguards.

Section 9 would amend the present section 307 (b) from the present requirement that the Commission is required to provide a fair, efficient, and equitable distribution of radio service among the States and communities “insofar as there is demand for the same” by omitting the necessity of "demand" and constraining the Commission to heed the needs and requirements of the various communities. It is entirely possible that this amendment may be construed to make the Commission judge the ability of a community to support an additional radio station. Radio stations are not considered a common carrier or public utility but are considered as operating on the basis of free and competitive private enterprise. Therefore the Commission should be required, in issuing licenses for radio stations, to judge the possible impact of the issuing of a license on the economic well-being of an existing station in the same community.

True enough, the Commission presently requires that any applicant for a license must show that he is adequately financed so that he will operate in the public's interest, convenience, and necessity. The radio broadcasting industry and the NAB have always fought any possibility that the Commission would have the authority to go into their business operations from the standpoint of what they make, their efficiency, and what would be a fair return on their investment,the proposed amendment might justify the Commission in so doing.

The Commission should do nothing and should not be authorized to limit or prohibit competition in the radio broadcasting field. Competition may harm some existing stations, but competition from new broadcasters to old, established broadcasters can only result in a better service to the listening public; new ideas, new programing, new equipment, new executives, improved methods of serving the public all will tend toward advancing radio broadcasting so that the use of the public's air will be better than it is today. The Federal Radio Commission in 1928 said:

Broadcasting stations are licensed to serve the public and not for the purpose of furthering the private or selfish interests of individuals or groups of indi



[ocr errors]

viduals. The standard of public interest, convenience, or necessity means nothing if it does not mean this.

The emphasis should be on the receiving of service and the standard of public interest, convenience, or necessity should be construed accordingly.

The entire listening public within the service area of a station, or of a group of stations in one community, is entitled to service from that station or stations.

In a sense a broadcasting station may be regarded as a sort of mouthpiece on the air for the community it serves, over which its public events of general interest, its political campaigns, its election results, its athletic contests, its orchestras and artists, and discussion of its public issues may be broadcast. If

the station performs its duty in furnishing a well-rounded program, the rights of the community have been achieved (In re Great Lakes Broadcasting Company, FRC Docket 4900, cf. Third Annual Report of the FRC, pp. 32-36).

The Progressive Citizens of America submits that the definition set forth above holds true today and that any proposed legislation should be drawn accordingly.

Section 11 adds a new section, 308 (d), to the Federal Communications Commission Act of 1934 and provides that, no proceeding for authority to transfer a station license or to transfer stock in a licensee corporation under section 310 (b) of this act shall be utilized by the Commission, for the imposition of sanctions or penalties upon any licensee for his conduct as such or for alleged deficiencies in the operation of his station.

Presently, the Federal Communications Commission Act provides that the Commission, in passing upon transfer applications, shall limit itself to deciding whether the proposed transferee is qualified and whether the application, if granted, would be in the public interest.

Any analysis of this section 11 of the White-Wolverton bill must be considered in conjunction with the change proposed in section 310 (b) of the Federal Communications Act of 1934 effected by section 13 of the White-Wolverton bill; namely, that the Commission must authorize a transfer of license if the transferee has the qualifications of an original licensee.

It is submitted that a court might require the Commission to grant such applications if the proposed transferee were qualified. It is further submitted that, if such an interpretation is possible, an extremely unfavorable amendment results.

If a licensee is not entitled to a renewal of his license, he has nothing, since under the law he does not receive a vested property right in the use of the air and therefore he should not be granted the privilege of benefiting by transferring something to which he is no longer entitled.

The provisions of section 12 would amend the hearing provisions contained in section 309 (a) of the Federal Communications Commission Act, the principal effects being that the Commission would be required to hold a hearing in every broadcast case merely because of the filing of a protest by any person who holds a construction permit or license or has a building application which would be adversely affected economically or by reason of electrical interference as a result of the new authorization. No better provision could be enacted to prevent or delay the establishment of new broadcasting services for the benefit of the public. Presently a hearing is automatically required if an application would result in interference to an existing station within its normally protected contour, or if the application conflicts with another pending application, or if there is a question as to whether the applicant is qualified and that the grant of the application would not be in the public interest.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »