Skip to main content

Full text of "How Far Should Government Control Radio"

See other formats








Prepared for 
The Unetei* States Armkd FoncEs 



Thia puiiipJUuL in *>nc uf a iexics nuidc avjiiiablG b^f? t]\v War l>e- 
partmunt under the B(?rieB title C/ Ritundtable. Ad the tc-onci-jil titJi: 
indit!;iti?s, trl Rotiitdt utile pamphSets provide material which infornia- 
lioTi-uduL'ation oltict-rs rrnxy use m conducting gToup discuiisjons or 
fonims as p:irt of an off-duty t^ducHtion piogrram^ and which operators 
of Armed Forces Kadio S(?rvice outlets may use in prepaTinff GJ 
Radio Kouiidtablu dLs-uuss^ii^ri broadcasts. 

The conteiil of this pamphlet has b(>cn prepared by thG Historical 
Service Board of tho Ameiitan Historical Association, tiach pam- 
phlet in the series hits only one purposes to providt fttctual infur- 
niati-OTi and bsilan-ce^i ar^ments as a basis for discussion of sH sides 
of the question. It Is not to be- inferred that the War Department 
endorsifs a.iiy one of the particular viewfj preseaitedi 

Sprcijlv tuif/genfi'ruii fin- tlif' flim-ua^itrit or forrnn leader who plaits 
t(i tise thin pitnrphkt ivili he fvund oh paffe S7. 

Washinctun 'ITi, B, C U Jail 194C 

[A.i:, :Wii.l III Jeld 4%\\.\ 

EM 2H, GT R<mtid\ahh: Hvw Far SiitsuJd Giivf.rtnnent 
Cotttrol Riidiv^ 

Current War Uepartmeiit inatmctigna aLithorize the r-uqui- 
sitiofl of adtiitioi^aL (copies of this pamphlet fpn tht bysiw qT 

■one C-l>py fOL each ''^h military periioiiJtt-l, within limits ftf thu 
uvailablo supply- Additi^inal copif-s should t? reiiuisitioned 
frohi the tJtiitt'd SlatfS ArrnGi] Pot^<*5 Institute, Muflisoii ;i, 
Wistoni^in, or the noareat Oversea Branch, 

Distributed for use in the educational and infuDiia-tioua] proicrtiiiis of 
the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coaat Guard. This diatribution is not 
to be construed as an endoi-sement by the Navy D^p&Ttment of the 
sLateniciits conta-in-i^d therein. 


(Copi<?s for Navy p-eraounel are to he T^qnisitioned from Educational 
Services Seetio^,) 

Education Sec^thin, Wkij^are DivisLotj, Sfeoial Services Branch, 
Uk'ltku Stated Marine Corps, Wasiiinhton'" 2h, D_ C. (Di-^trjbuted 
to MariiK^ Coi'p;^ jicrsonnel by Speciiil Servieps Hj*anch. Additional 
copies, or information, may bt obtained from unit Special Services 


TERS, VVakhincton" 25, U. C. (Copiew for Coast Guard personne] 
shouhl hv r*-(|uis.j tinned from the t^ommandant (FT), U_ S. Coast 
Guard Ilead(|uartprs, Washington 25, D. C.) 


Who is it that fills file air with radio waves? 2 

Does ihe govemmenl have fo act as a radio traffic cop? 9 

Hew does federal policing of fhe air waves work?. ... 13 

Con the radio industry police itself successfully?. 22 

What are radio's basic problems ond future prospects? 27 

What Sftiutions have other nation; tried? *.,... 33 

To the discussion leader 37 

For further reading 41 

Other Gl ftoundtabie sub[ects 43 



OME TIMES it seema as though 
the life of the Browri lamily begins and endw u-itJi (wo 
noise boxes — a Jittle one in x\ beclrooni upstairs and a larger 
ane in the living: rot]m downstairs. From the time the fam- 
ily gets up in the morniTig until the last light is turned out 
at nifi^ht, theHe two are rarely qulot. 

The first sounds out of Ihem may be the (combination 
music and patter of an "early bird" sfitLinjr-ijp program 
that helpa Betty Lou keep her ,schDolg:irl figrure in trim. 
Then it 5s th(? turn of the downstairs radio with the latt^st 
news headlines ;tnd the weather report whil« the Browns 
eat their breakfast. 

Aftt?r the children and her husband have g"onefor the day, 
Mrs- Brown tunes in a marketing program to hear the best 
buys in fresh vegetabfes and then switches to her favorite 
soap opera. The eommeririal aiinouneementR may provide 
aever^l items for her .shopping: A health talk reminds 
her that young: Jim hasn't been to the dentist in far too 
long. In muf-afternoon Jim himself comes in from school, 
£rraba ^jome cookie;:?, and dashes upijLaira to hear the balL 

The two mnHC bo^ce^ really hit the]r peak in the evening 
hours. Before jiuppcr it'w news ag"ain for Mr, Erown, a 
Spine-tingiing adventure story for Jim, and a ja^-K pro- 
gram for Betty Lou. After supper some friends eome in 
to visit the Browns. They taJk againwt a baekgroqnd of 
symphony muf^ic while upstaira the children listen to their 
favorite comedian. 

Perhaps the family g-ets together again for a forum dis- 
CUSfiion or for a special broadeat:t from the A\'hil.e Houae- 
Perhap^ a commentator comes OE to dis^^usi^ what the Pre&ii- 
dent has said, and Mr. Brown catches an idea he wants to 
talk qver with the toys at the ortice, A play especially 
written for broadcasting and some soft **readin^ music'' 
end the radio day for the Browns. 

And jor other families loo? 

The Browns' daily schedule ia more or le^R typical for nine 
out of every ten families in America. Of the 37,000,000 
households in the United States, 33,800,000 had at least 
one radio in 1944, for many people who do not do much 
reading" — especially those with little formal education^ — tiie 
radio is their chief and almost only contact with the world 
outside the circle of home, friend^s, and jobs. For all of u^, 
what we hear on the air htilps malte our picture of what 
life in our times is and ought to be. 

Ia it any wonder, then, that what passes through the 
American air into the American mind is an important 
question for the nation's present and future? 


There are about 900 radio stations broadcasting to the 
American public. With them originate most of the noises 
sent into the homes of our radio-listening millions. Begin- 
ning in a broadcasting studio, talk or music goes into a 
mEcrophone, The sound waves, or parades of air wig-gles, 
become electrical wigg-les in the microphone and from it 
proceed alon^ telephone wires to a transmitter. From the 
towering antenna connected with the transmitter the waves 
are sent through the air to be picked up by radio sets 
wherever they may be. In the radio receiver the electrical 

waves are iranslaied bacl^ fnio a dose apiiroxim^tioii oi' 
the originai sounds. That i^ what finally eomcs out of the 

Whilc^ they arc Iraveling^ through the ether to the re- 
ceiviiig iinleiina» the parade of waves from a transmitter 
must have the road to themselves. If a nearby station \^ 
transmitting at the wame time, its wavea will interfere with 
the parade unless they are pitched at a diiTerent freciiiercy_ 
For the hours it is on the air, therefore, and withiii the? 
range of its 'Vaiee/' a radio station must have what ia 
called a "wave channel" — or "frer[[iency channel"- — clear of 
other broadcasts. 

Hote many rbanupJs art* tht^rti? 

There is a limit to the possihle number of these channels^ 
We do not yet know how to make uae of many of the fre- 
quencies between 10 kilocycles and yO.000,000 kilocycles — 
the '*radio spectrum/' Many of the rest are used for point- 
to-point communication ^uch a.^ .ship-to-Hhip or ship-to- 
shore, for aviation, tor radar, and for other nonhrvadcasft 
purposes. From one end of the ordinary home broadcast 
receiver dial to \h<^ other, there are only i06 chaimelff now 
carrying broadcast sounds. This mean.s that, even with the 
most careful planning, not too many groups of sounds can 
lie broadcast at once without getting in one anothcr^s way- 
It now .seems ineviiaWe that there will always be a 
scarcity of sound broadcajsting channels. The prewar num- 
ber has ]>een increased by opening up a whole new' set of 
channels for FM (freiiueney modulation) broadcasting. 
But even then, there won't be nearly enough to give every- 
body the program he wants when he wants it. Which sounds 
are to go out, aJid whith arc iiotV Newrt or music? Speeches 
by DcmocraJs or by Republican.^? Soap operate or school 
prog^am^^? The nidio pie l.^ only "so big," and someone 
must decide what the Ameriean people are Lo get. 

Who makes up the radio menu? 

There are fiVe chefs who makp Up the radio munu ; the gov- 
ernment, Lhe stations, the i^etworkH, the t^ponsors, and the 
advertising agenciet^. 

THE GOVERNMENT. First chef is the Federal Com- 
munications Commission. !FCC, an agency of the federal 
government^ isj^ues licenset; eiitiiling corporations or per- 
sons to buy^ build, or operate radio stations;- As a condi- 
tion of granting these license^^^j FCC enforces certain re- 
quirements laid down by Congress and by its own regula- 

THE STATIONS. The Oflft-odd station managers are. 
tollectively, the second chef. These men have the major 
task of selecting the programs that auoceed each other in 


blocks of 15 minutes or more througrhout the broadcasting 
day, week after weelc and year after year. 

The stations are divided into three groups. First are the 
30 or more stations owned by the networlts. For them^ of 
course, the networks rather than the individual stations 
largely deterniin:^ the programs. Second are the 65ft or 
more sbtttons affiliated with the networks. This means 
that each station enters into a contract with a network for 
the regular use of progrrams provided by that network. 
Third are the 20O indepevdent statioiis that have no net- 
work aftiliations and that select or originate their own pro- 
grams. This last group consists mainly of smaller stations 
with limited transmitting power. They make liberal use of 
mechanical recording-s of musical or other programs. 

THE NETWORKS. The third of the chefn making itp 
the nation's radio menu is* collectively, the four national 
networks. More than 7O0 stations — 4 out of every 5 radio 
stations in the country — are owned by or affiliated with the 
National Eroadca-sting Company, the Columbia Broadcast- 
ing System, the Mutual Broadcasting: System, or the 
American Broadcasting Company (formerly the Blue Net- 
work). Together th&y use 95 percent of the evening broad- 
cast power. In addition to these giants^ there are between 
25 and 30 [^mailer regional networkiS. 

The percentage of station.^ affiliated with the networks 
has climbed t^teadily despite the fact that the number of 
stations is also growing. In 1935 the nets had as affiliates 
30 percent of all -stations. By 1945 the percentage was 79_ 
The networks have contracts with the biggest, mopt pow- 
erful stations in America. One-half the total broadcasting 
time sold to advertisers i^ sold by the big networks. This 
means that network programt; occupy half the time on the 
air and provide a large share qf the income of the atalions 
in the four inwjyr chains. 

The oldGflt net is NBC. It ts wholly ownsd by another 
compaTiy, the Radio Corporation of America, which makes 
many kinds of radio and phonograph equipment and has a 
world-wide radio telegraph system for commercial mes- 
sages. Beginning: in 1923 with 2 stations, NBC now has 
affiliation contracts with more than 100 stations, spread 
over the nation. In addition^ it owns 6 stations directly. 

Second in size is CBS. which also provides programs to 
more than 100 stations. Financial control through stock 
ownership is in the handa of tlie William S. Paley family. 
CBS owns 8 stations outright. 

Mutual owns no broadcasting stations. Although it has 
contracts with many more stations than the other networks, 
they are, a.s a rule, the smafler and less powerful ones. 
Mutual belongs to its key stations and the people who con- 
trol them. Most important of these are WOR in New York 
(owned by the R. H. Macy- — I.r. Bamberger department 
storey) and WGN in Chicago (owned by the Ckica<fo 
Tribune). Other important Mutual owners are a West 
Coaat regional network, the Yankee Network, the "United 
Broadcasting Company of Ohio, and the Cincinnati 

Newest comer to the network fi^ld is the Blue, or Amer- 
ican Broadcasting Company as it is now called^ which was 
at one time part of NBC. Like the others, ABC has 
contracts with more than 100 stations. Control is in the 
hands of Edward J_ Noble, who made a fortune in *XifG 
Savers"; Chester J. LaRoche, formerly of the Young and 
Rubicam a'dvertiaing agency; and Time, InCn which pub- 
lisher TAfe, Time, and Foriuve magazines. 

The networks orifi-inate noncommercial ftr ^'sUKtaining'' 
profframs, arrange for cnmrnert-ial programs, and .sell both 
kinda to the individual stations. Eu:^iiiess organizations or 
"sponsors," as they are called, pay advertising ag"encies to 

prepare radio programs for wide aadiences. The advertis- 
ing' agencies buy xtalion time for these programs through 
the networks, which thus act as hrokers between the sta- 
tions and the peop]e anxious to get the ear of the public. 
The networks sell access to listening audiences mainly 
througrh advertising agencies acting for the sponsors. 

This arrangement for determining the radio menu of 
the American people covers only a part of the tota] radio 
time available — that given to "sponsored" or paid-for 
shows. The remainder of the programs are called **sus- 
taining" becauj^e they are not paid for by outside sponsors 
or prepared by advertising agencies. They are prepared 
and provided by the networks and sold to the individual 
statioiLS or originate at the individual stations themselves. 

The most important hours on the radio Kcheduie — the 
early evening hours — when the greatest number of people 
listen to their radios are usually assigned to sponsored pro- 
grams- Here are to be found the entertainment programs 
of wide audience appeal. In a typical 6 to 11 p.m. period, 
for in.^tance, 80 to 90 percent of the proirruma are commer- 
cially sponsored- 



The gustaJTiing: programs are, nevertheless, of jrreat im- 
portance in serving the radio puolic. They include news 
tulletins, daily foreign newg roundups^ some symphony 
progrsTns and university round-table forums. The line be- 
tween the two kind-s of programs is Ijy no means absolute- 
Occasionally shows which begin as network sustaining pro- 
grama develop ,such an audience that sponsors take them 
over. Examples are Information Pleaae, the Sunday Phil- 
harmonic Orchestra concerts, and the Town Meeting oi the 

THE SPONSORS. It is clear that for .sponsored pro^ 
grams th&re are other chefs than networks and stations 
really preparing- the radio fare. These are tho sponsor;=^^ 
the fourth chef— who themselvea pay for the lime they use 
to entertain the listening public and persuade it to buy 
their wares. 

There are, of course, a large iiumber of local businesses 
"which advertise on individual radio stations serving: a par- 
ticular locality. However, more than 70 percent of the 
$300,000,000 spent hy busineasmen for radio time comes 
from national and regional advertisers- 
Growing numbers of business houses deBiring to build 
a huge mass market for a product have turn£d to the radio 
as a favorite advertising medium- There are more corpora- 
tions wanting to buy access to the great network audiences 
than can find time on the air. 

Because of the limited number of available frequencies, 
the networks and stations now must select among the ap- 
plicants for advertising space. In 1943 only 144 of the 
nearly three million businesses in the country bought 97 
percent of the national networks* time. 

In the same year two advertisers were the source of one- 
fourth of NEC's entire advertising buwinei^s. Ten adver- 
tasers supplied over 60 percent of its biisJness. Very much 


the same situation was true of the other three big net- 
works. At present^ three-quarters of all national network 
income coniew frum four major commodity groups: food, 
drink, and confections; drugs; soapa and cleansers; and 

a fifth chef, perhapiJ the most important of all — th^ adver- 
tising agencies. The .sponsoring companies decide tl\e gen- 
eral types ol program;; they want to uac in proniating their 
products. They do not furnish the programs directly. The 
advertising agencie.a write and produce the sponsored pro- 
grams; fifid, bey, and build talent; pick networka, stations, 
and times ; and so on. 

Among- advertising agencies the radio field is so special- 
ized that approximately two dozen of them control the Hon'g 
share of business for all four major networks. Here then, 
in advertising offices, are the makers of many of the princi- 
pal entertainment dishes served up on the radio^ as well as 
the bread, butter, and advertising: sauce-s spread through 
the day in songs, stories, and direct appeals to buy, 



The advektising of certain wares has today become the 
means of supporting a whole mass-communicationa indus- 
try — an industry that provides entertainment, rapid news 
service, poliUetil forums, symphony orcht;atra and grand 
opera programs, and a nation-wide audience for govern- 
ment messag^^i and anuouiKements. This peculiiir form of 
enterpri&^e hasj evolved gradually. It was not clearly seen 
as the inevitable use for the new invention in the early 
day^ of radio. 

Although the underlying discoveries m the radio field go 
back to the 1880'k, not until 1M7, when Dr. Lee De Forest 

Invented the "jjrid" tube, did brojidcasting of the human 
voice become fc?asiljk\ Oiii? iiiirht Dr. De Forest, 
lo luck, invited a Swedish ucmuerl dinger who was visiting 
hU laboratory to sin^ into the complicated mnchinery he 
had built, A wireless opera.tor in the Brooklyn Navy Yard 
happened lo hear her voice and America had a new toy and 

At first the Bell Telephone Company took the trouble to 
control many radio patent's, out of fear of radio as compe- 
tition for wire telephones. Other intere-sted corporations 
were Wet;tinKhoueie, General Electric, the American Mar- 
coni Company — all of them thinking of the radio as a Rub- 
Btitute for th^ telephone in point-to-point cojnmijni<^aUon- 

Party liitps j^r 4*vpryi>ue 

The first regular broadcasting station started in 1920 
when a few businessmen and engineers realised the 
possible uses of radios as ''mufiic boxes for the home." The 
objection was made that broadcasting couldn't support 
itself- In order to share in the noise people had only to pay 
the purchase price of a receiving set. Who would pay for 
the programs? More and more people hecamo interested, 
nevertheless, some in the commercial possibilitieH, some in 
radio as a hobby. 

Throughout the country *'hams" and businessmen were 
building tiny sending sets, talking to one another, filling 
the air with words. By the end of 1923, there were more 
than 600 radio stations on the air. Among the niofit im- 
portant were those owned by electric and telephone com- 
panies» department stores, and newspapers. 

All of them were trying to learn the UrtC fulness of the 
new gadget fto that they might adapt it to their businesses. 
Their broadcasts were either just talk, recorded and CCfU- 
cert music, or news read from the evening papers. Gradu- 
ally, the more important stations began to expand their 


proKrairiB. An op^ra was broadcast, the first radfo serial 
appeared, variety shnw.s maiJe up of humor itnd miiaic were 

At firat a few and then more wnd ariorc i;orporaiioiiH with 
thingt? to SL^II the public bGgan to buy lime and talent for 
radio broadcasts. SnoM^ballini^ as it went, the radio in- 
dustry frrew a^^ more people bought sets to hear the better 
proj^rjinis put on because more people were buyingf seta. 
The iirst networks: made their appearance. 

Radio traffu' jam. 

The development of th*^ now device was hampered, how- 
ever, by the lack of any sort of radio policemitn. Groups of 
sound waves couldn't get from the broadcaatinK studios to 
the receivers without bein^ interrupted by other ^oups- 
At first, the various stations made gentieraen'ji agree- 
ments not to broadcast on one another's wave lengths. But 
it wap not a matter to be regrulated by the thoughtful ne^^s of 

The amateurs, for instance, mi^ht broadcast on a favorite 
wave length regardless of who else was u^^ing" it. If one 
of these hams playing ragtime recordti ran afoul of ^ 
symphony concert, nothing^ but an unholy din would Ret 
throujj-h to the listener. Or two hams talking to one an- 
other would wiilk right in on a radio serial- 
More often than not, the air would be filled with queer, 
unintellJRible shrieks of pain as the sound waves stepped 
on one another. 

The people concerned about the development of eoramer- 
cial broadcasting were lielpless, Nobody had any clear 
right to a particular wave len^h, Kut to build an audience 
it was necessary to guarantee clear reception at the .same 
placets on the tuning dial all the time. Obviously it was time 
to call in a tratfiu cop. 


Governin4*nt regtilation 

Coveriiments throughout the worW first teeame iTitPrested 
in the radio because of its possible usea in ship-reacue 
work, rntpriiationa! agreements which our grovGrnmeiit 
fii^ned provided a [rommon Kig^na] of distress — the "CQD," 
which resulted in the spectacular skiving of lives in the 
Florkhi and Titanic di^aster-s^ and later bccanie the "SOS." 

In the field of land broadcasting, too, the jjovernment's 
interest wa^ made clear. Congress maintained, from the 
first that radio was a matter of public concern and that 
the representative,^ of the people had a right to determine 
how the ether was used. In the word^ of one represi^ntative 
**ihti right of the public to service is superior to the ri^ht of 
any individual to urql the ether," 

In 1912, the United States government began to regulate 
radio transmission of all Jcind*. In that year the Radio Act 
jirave the secretary of commerce and labor (then a single 
department) the power to license stations. But this power 
was not great enough to prevent the unforeseen ''babel of 
the iiir" that developed in the middle 1920'e- 

Thc. firsi rudiu traffic cop 

To straighten out the wavo-length tnesR a Federal Radio 
Commii^sion was created by Congrefls in 1927. At that time 
there v^-ere only 90 ehannet^ available with 732 radio ata- 
tioiift trying" to use them. By afifiigning stations far enough 
apart to the same channeK specifying the power to be 
used, and staggering the time of activity carrfully^ all but 
about 150 of these were able to continue operating. 

Gradually, more and more rules for broadcasting were 
set up. At firjit Congress was hesitant about placing a per- 
manent government agency over the whole industry. But 
it soon Iie<^-^Rie clear to station owners, consumers, and 
otlicials that the job to be done was a big one. 

During the late 1920's and early 1930's the leaders of the 
radio iiidu,stry called or] Congrej^:^ and the president far 
help. They aaked tor a better regulatory system and 
clearer determination of the government's policies and 

In 1933 the president asked a ^roup of government ad- 
minhiratora to atudy the whoJe radio situation so that 
some more eilicient way of dealing with it could be worked 
out. They recommended that "the communication service 
R^ far as CongrL^ssional action is involved^ should he regu- 
lated by a single body." At the aarae time Congressional 
cominitteea attacked the problem- 



The joi:nit re^sult was the ConimLmicationH Act of 19^4, 
This measure created the present Federal Communications 
Commi.^RJon and ^ave it power to regulate all iiongovern- 
ment wire and wireless communications in the public in- 
terest, FCC also participates in the work of the Interde- 
partment Radio Advif^ory Committee, which aasigna wave 
lengths for governmental ui^es- 

FCC la responsible to Confess for administering the 
provisions of the act. Its decisions, like those of otlier fed- 
eral bodies, are subject to review by the courts. 

There are seven commissioners, tach appointed by the 
president, with the consent of the Senate^ for a seven-year 
term. Appointment i^ atagjjered so that, barring death or 
resignation^ one vacancy occurs each yean The statute 
provides also that no more than four appointees i^hull be 
from one political party so that there are alway,^ Dem- 
ocrats and Republicans (often Independents also) as mem- 
bers- A staff of engfneers, lawyers, accountants, and other 
specialists serves the commission in administering the act. 







AiJpointtd for 7 ?ear Icfins 










1 90D8IlfljUli:«SriNfiSTAirDNS 





FCC has other job.^ besides iti^ major taak of regulating- 
comm^niuil riidio b!'Oiidca.-^liiijT. it regulatet! th<? tele- 
grjLph, cable, teleph<nie, and rndio-UMegraph indUEstries i^y 
j?ee that the services supplied, the ratta cha,rged, and con- 
ditiojiB of servitM} are the bewt availablc- 

Other radio users lo watch 

In addition to the !)00 standard Lroadcast stations which 
serve the regiiliir li,steiiing public, FCC must issue licenses 
to, and regulate, some 65,000 transmitters of other kind.^- 
These iTiclude amateur* aviation, ship-lo-shore, police, 
forestry^ television, facsimiicj frequency modulation, and 
international Lshort-wave broadcasting* 

All thcae different uses of radio must be giveii plenty of 
elbowro^m on the radio spectrum so that they will not 
crowd one anoth&r. Further, the commission set 
aside some freqoencieH for expmmentF; with new kinds of 
broadcasting- For in^tancts television has been ast^iKJied 
some regular hroadcasting channels and some experimental 

The commiBsion's duties do not end when it has asaigmed 
frequenciey to each transmitter. It must al-^O pohce the air 
waves — ^'monltorin^" it is called — to be sure that all sta- 
tions keep to their own frequencies and that unauthorized 
transmitters do not appear on the air waves to cause in- 
terference or a tralHc jam. This monitoring service was 
g-reatly expanded during- the w^r as a constant means of 
listening for enemy messages transmitted by voice or 
Morse, fn secret code or otherwise. Likewise, for the war 
period, FCC staff members listened in on foreign propa- 
ganda broadca^sl^ in many languageft and furnished texts 
and summaries to various interested war agencies. 

The major job 

But the part of FCC'i? job which concerns us and the 
millions of radio ]i^ste^e^.s in the United States is its con- 


trol over the broadcasting: stations. FCC's powers, though 
definitely iimited, are extensive. 

Who is to have the right to use the air for broadcasting? 
The Communications Act t^pecifies only that broadcasting 
must be in the hands of American citizens. To make cer- 
tain of this, the commission re<Tuires each station to fur- 
nish a comp]ete list of the station's owners and to keep it 
up to date. 

Otherwise^ rather than laying down explicit directions, 
the act leaves it up to the commission to make -such rules 
in granting licenset^ as will insure that the licensed stations 
best serve the "public interest, convenience and necessity ." 
This is where the riib comes> since many more applications 
for standard broadcast licenses are received than can be 

FCC, thereforcj must choose which among the too 
numerous applicants are to be allowed to eng-age in the 
broad<;asting business- It haa set up certain rules to guide 
it in making its deciaions, 

/Vcjr applicants 

A man who "wants a license must establish his financial re- 
sponsibility. He must show that he has (or has hired) the 
technical skill necessary to station operation. He must also 
describe his plans for programming so that the commission 
may judge their general usefulness and practicality. 

Each applicant for a license must indicate how powerful 
a transmitter he plans to us^ and how many hours daily he 
plans to broadcast. In some cases FCC grants only reduced 
power or part-time broadcasting- Conditions in the area 
will decide. For example^ if the arCa to be served has a 
widely scattered farm population the commission may ap- 
prove a powerful "clear channel" station which can be 
picked up many miles from the point of origin, 


Before it will permit the building of a new station, FCC 
studies the local situation. Oi>en hearings are occasionally 
held at which all interested parties may present their 
points of view. 

ReneiM)ing a licen&e 

Ori^nally, broadcast licenses were granted for six months, 
after which time the owner had to apply for a renewal. The 
period was first lengthened to one year, then to two, and 
now to three- Every three years, therefore, every station 
in America must apply to the commission for a renewal of 
its license. 

This periodic licensing procedure is the hasis of FCC's 
regulatory power. If it can be clearly demonstrated that 
the licensee has Hot used his station properly to serve "pub- 
lic inlftrest^ convenience and necessity" the t;ominiBsion can 
refuse to renew the license. In such an event it "will grant 
the frequency to another licenfiee. 

All sales or other transfers of stations must be approved 
by the commission- Complete information concerning own- 
ership must be given, and concealment of ownert^hip may 
be followed by a revocation of the license- 

The Communicatfons Act in so many words forbids FCC 
to censor any radio broadcasts. The act and retrulationa do, 
however, contain certain rules affecting program content, 
The act prohibits obscenity and profanity on the air and 
directs the commission to enforce the prohibition. Stations 
which sell or give time to a candidate for public office are 
required by law to give equal opportunity to opposing 
candidates for that office. Transcriptions of speeches or 
other material sponsored for political purposes must con- 
tain plain statements as io who is sponsoring and paying 
for them. No lotteries may be advertised. 

In reaching a decision On a license renewal, FCO doesn't 
go into the content of particular broadcasts uver that &ta- 


tion. Ti does, however, take into accnunt the over-all r€cord 
of programming during the preceding period. Its Eiini is 
to make .sure that those applicantK which offer the best and 
most baianced radio di^t get the Eiceiises. 

CltGckrein on ihe netu)orks 

Many stations had network contracts that bound tbem to 
a eertain network for fint; years, but Ixmnd the network for 
only V7i^. Under the new rule a station can sign with a net- 
work for only two yearK^ so that it can chang:e network^i for 
belter service if it likes. The commission reasoned that 
the networks will provide better proirrams if they know 
their contracts are good for only two years. Also, it fig- 
ured that new networks can get started more eaaily if they 
don^t have to wait five yeara for existing contracts to 
run out. 

The commission also banned *Vxcluftivity." A station 
affihated with one network can now carry some programs 
of another network as well. "Tcrritoria] exclusivity" wa.s 
afiao forbidden. Thia means that if a network station in^ 
say, Toledo doe^ not want a certain program^ the program 
can be sent to another station in Toledo or the i^urrounding: 

Networks formerly required stations to '^option time" 
to them, that is, give the network the right to a certain 
number of hourH each week. FCO felt that thuse hour&, set 
aside for network programs, "restricted tho freedom of 
[local] station litejisees and hampered their efforts to 
brondcuiit local programs, the programs of other networks, 
and national wpot transcriptions." Option time is now lim- 
ited to certain proportions oF each part of the broadcast day. 

Kome network contraetH had made it difficult for sta- 
tions to rejet't pro^^am^i. Such practice is illegal, accord- 
ing to FCC, which marnJaiiis that Ihe station iw licensed to 
have control of ita programs, not to delegate it ''directly 




— J^ CBi — I — 


to the network, or indirectly to an advertising agency/' 
Therefore, the commistiion ordered stations to keep th^ir 
freedom to cancel network pro^rajn^ on occasion. Nor can 
-stations transfer to a network power to fix their own prict^s. 
If FCC is aatisHed that a new applicant will run a radio 
.station — or that an existing operator has run a radio sta- 
tion — in the best interest ot t>ie local community and the 
national radio ^yi^tem, the commiiision will grant or renew 
hig license. Call letters will be assigned, power and hours 
of broadcast will be i^peci/ied^ and one of the limited num^ 
ber of channt^ls given. Actually, stations once licensed are 
almost without exception relicensed at the end of each 
three-year period. But no licensee has any le^al vested 
interest in renewal. The fret^uenciea are UJ^ed, not owned, 
by the stations, 

Cvn govprument enforce* comppiitron? 

The Communications Act and the dcl>atew j^recedinp: its 
passage make eietir that Cong^re^^s wished to maintain as 

wide competitron as poKslble m the broadcasting field. FCC, 
tispecfaJIy in recent years, has tried to discover and dis- 
coirrag-e trends away from free competition. From 1938 
to 1940 it investigated *'chai:n broadcasting*' to see whether 
the great networks had too much control over the stations. 

By its physical nature, radio h limited to a few stations 
in each locality. FCC has felt that control of radio should 
be in the hands of many owners rather than few in order 
to make it more difficult for any group to interfere with 
freedom of expresMon by radio- 

The comraifiHioii has no written power to control net- 
works. It Can only regula-te the stations that are parts of 
the networks. Following- its investigation and public hear- 
^ng^, the commission issued an order to the radio industry- 
The broadcasters at firat fought and then accepted thef>e 
new rules. 

Because radio faciiitiea are limited, the commission 
feared that ownership of two i^tation^ in a community 
would prevent the kind of competition it wanted to en^ 
courage. FCC ordered that no one could own more than 
one station serving a single community. He may^ how- 
ever, own an FM and a television station in the same com- 

Two network under one ownership inevitably came 
under the ban. As we have seen, the Blue Network was 
.separated from NEC and is now an independent system. 
Id granting licenses for FM broadcasting, FCC is limiting 
t<} only HLx the number of stations anywhere that may be 
under the sam€ ownership, - 

^ew»papers and radio Hialions 

The commission also investigated the increasing' number of 
stations owned by the pub]i;:^bers of newspapers. At the 
time of its investigation, about one of every three radio 
stations was completely or partiy newspaper-owned_ 


The followiiipr three major concerna moved FCC to hold 
this inquiry : 

(1) WTi(?Cher the aKKociation of radio stations and 
newspapers affucttjd *'the free and fair preseiitation of 
public issues and mformation over the air"; 

(2) Whether joint ownership of radio and press in- 
terfered -with the luiblic'.s ri^ht to the news by limiting 
the puljli<:'f^ .sourc<?s ot news; 

(3) Whether the fact that many stations were tied to 
newspapers resulted in local monopolies of broadcast- 
ing: and whether efficient operation was helped or hin- 
dered thereby. In short, was the public being properly 
served ? 

Objections to the inquiry were raised on many grounds. 
The commission was accused of unfairly singling: out news- 
papers as a special group of owners, FCC had no legal 
authority, it was said, to go into this matter. Moreover, 
declared the objectors, any rules it issued forbidding papers 
from going: into radio would interfere with the freedom of 
the press. Finallyt it was asserted that newspapers were 
particularly well Oc]iiipped to" run radii> stations because of 
their special work in a similar field* 

After taking a great deal of testimony, FCC decided not 
to issue any special regulations about newspapers in radio. 
But it pointed out the danger to democratic freedoms if all 
the major agencies of pubHc expression in any community 
were <>wned or controlled by one man or ^roup. It also 
noted an important fact: Stations managed by new^i^papers 
t^nd to be the most powerful and the most profitable ones 
in their localltiesi — which might mean that their tie with 
the press gives them a special economic advantage over 
others. The commission said it was taking no action be- 
cause action did not seem necessaryj but warned that it 
might become so. 




The radio industry, lilt^ other industrleH, is run for profit- 
Yet because of its great importaiK^e for the political and 
social life of America, it must be concorned with more than 
dollars and cents. Congress has recognized the public re- 
ap ousi bill ties of radio In the Communications Act. The 
radio industry itself has recog'jiized them by its own regu- 
latioiis. Perhaps the most important means of self-control 
it has developed i::! the *'Code" of the National Association 
of Broadca-iterK. 

Not all the stations and networks in the country belong" 
to NAB — which la the chief trade association in the radio 
industry. Nor do all the member broadcasters follow every 
provision of the Code. Althoiii^h NAB does what it can 
to .see that members comply with the Code, its regulations 
are voluntary. 

The Code proviBJons have been developed to meet what 
the radio indutitry conceives to be the public's needs and 
wants, partly as measured by the demands? of groups in the 
population. In working out polieieg eovering chilJreti'a 
proRrani,^T for example, NAB confers with women\^, teach- 
ers', parent?^', school, and library £:roups. Through its 
efTortw a Ra<^io Council on Children's Programs ha^i been 
established. Religious broadcast poHcies are Rimiiarly 
worked out with the approval of responsible lay and church 
l^ader^ of the major faiths, 

Chitdren and edutation 

Radio ifi one of the many things that influence children's 
idea-s of what the world is like and what kinds of people 
they Want lo be. Favorable or dramatic pre^sentalion of 
certain char act eri.'^tics, for instance, may lead some chililren 
to adopt thoae characteristics. According to the Code, 


children's pro^ramR should "reflect respect for parents, 
adult authority, Ijiw and order, clean llviiiir, high morals* 
fair play and honorable behavior/" And as childrt^n are 
extremely sensitive and impreaaionitble, the Code bans 
''aequenceis irivolviitg horror or torture or uae of the super- 
natural or superstitious," 

Actual research Indicates clearly that the less education 
B person has, the more he tends to rely on the radio for 
information and ideas- Eroadeasting presents a magnifi- 
cent opportunity to reach low-iucoiriLs rural, and foreign- 
born groups, many of whom h^ive not had the e^Iuca.tion 
they want itnd need. Even those who h^ve had better edu- 
cational opportunity need more kiiowtedg-e. Radio can 
reach them^ too. 

One of the most important sourcef* of a nation's strength 
13 a well-Enformed, intelligent population- America's way 
of life will become more and more secure as our people 
learn what it is, how to guard it, and how to improve it- 

Broadcasting can give the people the facts tliey must hiive 
to make the reasoned decisions lliat democracy needs. It 
can also give voice to alternative points of viewj so that the 
people may choose amon^ them. 

The NAB Code's provisions covering educational broad- 
casting' urge individual radio stations to devote time to 
informational programs for children and adultB. It sU^^ests 
that they use local schools and colleges, the U. S. Office of 
Education, and the Federal Radio Education Committee for 
advice on what needs to "be dene and how best to do it. 

Religion ami atlveriising 

''Radio* which reaches men of all creeds and races simul- 
taneously, may not be used to convey attacks upon another's 
race or religion/^ but should rather "administer broadly to 
the varied religious needs of the community/' So reads the 
NAB Code section on religious broadcasts. 

The Code urges fitations to exercise great care In accept- 
ing as sponsors only '^individuals and firms engaged in 
le^timate commeicep'^ Nor should their commercial an- 
pouncemeata violate "fair trade practices and accepted 
standards of good taste. '^ Thus stations^ ^re a.'^ked not to 
Kel] time to anyone urging people to drink "hard liquor" or 
to patroTiixe fortunetellers, mind readers, or itstrologer.^. 
Matrimonial agencies, race-track sheets, and iinancial spec- 
ulators are also disapproved as t;ponsors. 

Advertising copy, according to the Code, ought not to 
make "false, deceptive or grossly exaggerated" statements. 
Neither should it unfairly attack competitors nor "repel- 
leiitly" describe any physical disorders. Commercial an- 
nouncements should be limited, dependrng on the length 
and time of the broadcast. Thus a 15-minute evening pro- 
gram should have not more than 2 minutes and liO seconds 
of "plugging" although a full hour daytime show may have 
& minutes. 

/*o/xiiV* and controversy 

Most of the arg-ument conceriiLng" the NAB Code centers 
around its suirfiesl]03i.s on broadcasting controversial sub- 
jects. The only Congressional and FCC regulation on the 
political use of the radio covers election campaigns. Con- 
£"reas has told stations that if they sell time to one candi- 
date for a public otiice or to a party or person supportiaig 
him, they must sell equiil time to the oth^r candidates. 
Moreover, campaign speeches are not cen.sarable by the 

TTie NAB Code, accepting the need for special treatment 
of party campaign speeches, has a geTieral rule that, except 
at election periodt^, radio time may not be sold for the 
discussion of controversial i-iaues, Kather, it says, stations 
should provide free time for such discussion as part of 
their service to the public- 

The Code holds that the sale of time for controversial 
public discussion would enable individuals and groups with 
great amountti of money to plead their cases far and wide 
and at great length. Their opponents, without ample 
funds, could buy only a limited amount of time and migrht 
be denied any kind of radio hearing. Further, the Code 
maintains, if time were ^old for such purposes to anyone 
who wanted it, the station mana^^ers would lose control of 
controversial ijrogramH and could not hold any reajionable 
balance between all points of view- 

The radio networks and stations* in this way, accept the 
responfiibility of serving as a fortim for the expreasion of 
competinfiT ideas. The Code, in faet» makes it clear that 
time can properly be sold for discussion of controversial 
issues on forum type programs, provided that the forum 
presenti^ all sidet^ fairly and the control of fairnosj3 is in the 
handa of the ^t^tion or network. 

Such a policy is very difficult to enforce to everyone^a 
satisfaction. Thi>re is th& problem of the regular polttical 


commentators. They usually broadcast on paid time and 
may take sides on public issues^ violatinjr the Code prin- 
cipk. Soine iieLwork.s have met th« issue by forbidding 
commentators to express controversial personal views. 
Other nets try to balance their commentators by choosing 
a corps of commentators with different and^ it is presumed, 
balancing viewR- 

Are afl j^fjansors alike? 

Then there is the problem created by businesK organiza- 
tions that sponsor programs for entertainment and are 
accused of plugging for their side of industrial contro- 
versies instead of advertising their products. Trade unions 
and consumers' cooperatives, on the other hand, are not 
allowed to buy radio time to present their views and must 
rely on3y un such scarce free time as is available. They 
feel, theref^>re^ that they are not given an equal chance with 
the businesses tEiat buy time. 

These people assert that the practical result of exclusion 
from time buying is to keep many discussionft off the air 
altogether. One larger station ha^ recently taken exception 
to thi;^ Code limitatioTi, and NAB is atudyin^ possible revi- 
sion of th^ rule. 

The Code gives special suggestions regarding straight 
news programs. They are to be given accurately. They 
are not to Ijg bia-sed through the selection of iteraa or coJ- 
ored by the personal opinions of anyone engaged in the 
broadcast. The Code allows time to be sold for news pro- 
grams as it doesi time for news commentator programs. 

A final Code provision, designed to protect listeners 
against annoyance, declares that groups (except such rec- 
oprni^ed nonprofit agencies or good causes as the American 
Bed Cross and Metropolitan Opera Guild) may not solicit 
membership on the air. The fairness of this rule has ali!o 
been challenged by consumers' cooperative organ jzations- 


They point out that groceries, drugstares, and dfipart- 
mejit stores may 5>ay Lo hawk Lhdr wares and sctjk new 
customers; fin thu railiu* Cooperative enterpriistiti desiring 
to incieawe th^ir bu&^in«si^ by adding new cuatonier-raembcrs 
should be able to advertise in the flame way^ th«y say. 


From what has ^rone before, it ia dear thai the radio in- 
dustry ifl complex. No one is completely satistiu^d with the 
way it prodactjt^ programs or with its relations to the gov- 
ernment- Ita ditficultiert grow out of the fact that it has 
more than one function. It rcTiders a definite public service 
by communicating, recording, and reporting news, ideas, 
and events for the public. But aUo^ as an advertising 
medium for some dozens of industries, it operatefi to make 
profits for those indui^tries and for itself. 

Liky most Americap jnjjtitutions radio started out under 
Lhe manag-ement of private persons and corporations. Rut 
radio's medium of operation — the air above onr heads — was 
more like the sea or a public highway than like private 
land- It belonged to ev^ryone^ and it could not be divided 
up among private owners. Only a limited number muld 
use the '^hi^hway" at any one time. And since more than 
that number wanted to use it^ the government had to parcel 
out the ether's use by license, deciding who should use it 
and in what ways- 
Radio stations resemble newspapers in that both report; 
news and both serve as platforms for the spreading" of 
views and the debate of public issues. The similarity natu- 
rally brings up the question of freedom of the press as it 
applies — or should apply — to radio. The traditional mis- 
trust of government control of or influence over the press 
is the foremost problem. 



2 Goes 10 

:^%--L.3^_ \,^^^^^^ 

rt would appear that radio comes under the clear mean- 
injr, i^ not Ihe exact words, of the first amendment to the 
Constitution: ''Congress nhall Tnakc no law . _ _ abridg- 
ing the freedom of speech, or of tha prcss.'^ Yet for physi- 
cal reasons^ radio cannot opcr;ite frcii from some govern- 
ment control- And it is very diflicull in practice to draw 
a clear line between partial control and complete control. 

Confiicis of split persanalily 

Out of tJie dual nature of radio as a profit-makfn^ business 
Lind a public service, numerous conHicLs arise. Should 
radio be essentially a medium for ;:;dlintr KoodsV Should it 
fill more and more hours at higher ratew with profitable 
advertisements — accompiinied by enteric innieiit devices 
for attracting listeners to the adsY If it does that, how 
can it, &^ a i^ound, prunt-mal^mg l>iisinet;;:? venture, i^top 
short of crowding (nil. (be other> nonprofit function entirely? 
At the leaji^t will it not be tempted to put profits ahead o£ 
public service? 

Jf such a trend sets En, would another radio systenn 


eventually app€a^^ supported in aome other way^ to meet 
th€ public's need for undiluted news, commentaries, forums, 
public anntjuncements, antl educational activities? If so, 
would the present highly orgariized, skillfully led broad- 
casting induatry find that the gooae that lays the golden 
egg had yuietly di^d? 

On the other hand, should broadcas^lers contseiou^ly and 
re-sponsibly a^^fiume a double role? Can radio bo at once a 
public-flervice Tnedium and iA private advertising medium? 
Can broadtaaterK design ^ radio menu which balance,^ in 
proper proportions and aeparates in proper compartments 
two items of diet ko different? Accurate reportrng of news, 
truthful comment on public events, and unbiased presenta- 
tion of political, economic, and social views call for one 
set of principles- Plugs for hair tonic or claims for vita- 
min pills, both exaggerated beyond the bounds of accuracy, 
call for another set, 

C^n the radio string together quarter-hours of musiCj 
comedy, commentary, and advertising gems without vio- 
lating listener sensibilities and tastes? Can the station 


owner nnd the network say to the advertisers who foot 
their bill.^: "Thi.^ kirnl of plu^, y<^^, iind lh;it khul, iio- So 
inuLh time for ad.s aiid no more''? 

Can they say to the person or the grou|i who would at- 
tack their own or their principiil advert i>!er*j^ interest, 
"Yes^ you may have ttm*^ and your fair share of time on 
our schedule"? Will radio, with television and facKjmile 
added* forego the technical advantage of miified control 
and centr^liKcd manag:ementV Should it mnscit?ntiously do 
SO for the r^alie of avoiding monopoly control by keeping^p in many hand?:;? 

Does radio give anything like the skill, tjilcnt, and time to 
educational purpose?; that it doea to aniusement? Should 
it dt> .^0 if radio is potcntialJy equal, let us .^ay, to bcH^k^s, 
magaEinea, and letture halls as a .seriou-^ educational in- 
stniment ? 

Possibie sfthitiojis in ihi^ future: FM 

These art the ki«ds of problems that radio» as an industry 
serving both a pubhc and a eommercia! fiinctron, will be 
facing in the years ahead. The problems do not, however, 
have to be met itnd solved within the prer^ent framework 
of the four networks and 900 stations now occupying the 
550-1600 kilocycle range on the dial. Frequency modula- 
tion broadcasting (FM), occupying a group of channels 
higher up in the spectrum, h ready for extensive commer- 
cial development- KCC can, if it deisireK, ^rant FM license.'^ 
to 2,700 slation« without their broadca^l^ interfering with 
one another- 0?ie of the major networkiH has it.self de- 
clared that FM op^uM the way for six or more new net- 
works as wo3l. The technical character i>itic,^ of thi-s newer 
method of broadcasting may make it posJ:^ible, therefore, 
for a large number of j^tationt^ to i?ervp a swingle communityp 
TM als^o offer.4 other opportunities for variety. With FCC 
approval, a new set of noncommercial networkt^ is being 

planned. These would link together the endowed and pub- 
Jit cducatianid in.^litu lions en^jajft^d in broadcasting. Their 
educatitJiuil ami othur publiL'-servicf? and cultural prn^rams^ 
thus, would «l] be under public, educational authority and 
be supported by taxation or eiidowmc^nt rather than ad- 

Thiri plan would place alongside commercial radio an 
entirely public-service radio on a stale-wide network basis. 
And the request its for full mornine:-to-ni^ht service. 

Suhst'ripiion radio- l^lsvisiorij ami facAiniile 

The former head of a leading radio advertising agency has 
also proposed so-called ".subscription radio'' for F(JC ap- 
proval. This is based on a recently invented device (pig- 
ti<iueal) which will permit broadcasting- trompanies to tran?^- 
mit programs only to those listeners who subscribe a certain 
amount of money monthly. The scheme is somewhat like 
the British system of supporting radio by imposing^ indi- 
vidual license fees on each rctl^eivcr^ 

If frequencies are granted for such an enterprise, it will 
be an inter^istin^^ experiment in broadcasting paid for by 
the listeners rather than by the advertis^^rs. The daily 
program would be completely frtje from advertising inter- 
ruption.^. Such profrrams woo^d be on the same dial and 
would compote directly with the commercial advertitiinf^ 

FM> at most, will gradually supplant our present Irans- 
mlssFon-reception -system by amplitudes modulation. Tele- 
vision, also in the offing, is a more radical innovation. Un- 
like FM radio, its technical characteristics ^eem to call for 
very expen^^ive m^^tallations and high program production 
costs. It may tend toward greater concentration of owner- 

Possibly the highly-centralized motion -picture industry 
may become a principal maker of television proKram^, The 


broadcaKt networks interested in television dearly want to 
keep th<? making- of programs within their own control. 
They would rather not ^erve merely as buyers and sellerg 
of programs made in advertising agency studios- 
It would be foolhardy to predict what chefs will actually 
make up the television menu, or what kind of food they 
will serve for the spectator-listener. But they are not 
likely to be the s^me chefs who OoW setve the radio audi- 

Facsimile broadcasting, which at some future date may 
transmit printed buHetint^ by radiOT will draw closer to- 
gether the interests of newspapers and radio. It will pre- 
sent new poKsibilitEes and new problems in the control and 
communication of news. Facsimile will also make it pos» 
sihle to "deliver" magaaiBes and books to our by. 

ShoTt-tvave and internaiioiwl regulation 

Finally, the war stimulated great development of interna- 
tional ^hort-wave broadcasting, entirely at the hands of 
government agencies and for war purposes. The return of 
peace will probabJy allow the government to step out of the 
direct control and direct operation of short-wave facilities. 
But short-wave radio is an international ag^ency of com- 
munication. Private broadcasters interested in developing 
Hhort-wave programs, therefore, feel that the federal £"ov- 
ernment wil! have to exercise more control than it doet^ in the 
case of domestic radio. What form future American short- 
wave broadcasting will take and precisely what role the 
government will play in it have not yet been decided. 

Radio waves — and short waves in particular — have no 
respect lor political boundaries- Just as Iheir disregard of 
state lines makes federal supervision necessary, so their 
inability to titop at national borders calls for international 
regulation. It's another case of having to create a superior 


authority or set of rules in order to avoid impossible con- 
fusion. * 

To take the most obvious examples, radio stations in 
Canada and the United States must stay off each other's 
wave lengths. So must the stations in Europe's many na- 
tions. The only way to solve effectively this and the many- 
other international problems of radio is by international 
s^greement. As new techniques of broadcasting are devel- 
oped, the international as well as the domestic consequences 
become more complex. 

At the moment^ then, radio bristles with unsolved prob- 
\em& of long^ standing, with new opportunities, and with 
new problems, 



Vp to this point we have seen how government control 
of radio broadcasting started and grew — and why. We 
have examined the present situation. We have looked at 
the problems of the setup today and we have attempted to 
foresee the new problems that tomorrow will bring. 

In theory there are and will be three possible methods 
of reg-ulating radio and the related means of communica- 
tion: (1) by strictly private, commercial interests in the 
broadcasting business; (2) by a mixture of private and 
g-overnmental control; and (3) by complete government 
control and ownership. In practice the first method is not 
possible. The experience of confusion in the early life of 
radio convinced ever>'One that purely private Control will 
not work. A *'radio traffic cop" has to b€ put In authority 
to regulate and enforce the assig-nment of scarce frequency 
channels among the many bidders, Ina^^much as these chan- 
nels are deemed to '^belong" to all the people rather than 
to the private businesses which are licenced to use them, 


the goveniiiient appears to he the only proper traffic con- 
trol agent. 

Opponents of iurther cncrease in the government's con- 
trol over radio aeek a counterbalance in an increased num- 
ber of private interests brought into the field. Aa a de- 
fense against the concentration of control in the handa of 
the government, they suggest that universities, mtiaicipal 
governments, trade unions^ consumers' cooperatives* and 
other noncommercial groups g"et into broadcaating. This 
kind of development will be made poasible with the many 
new statians permitted thrtm&h frequency modulation. 

As a practical matter, therefore, the question is not 
whether radio should be privately or publicly regulated. 
It is how much public regulation there should be- 

The British Broadcasting Corporation 

Private control over broadcasting facilities and over pro- 
gram content is greatest in the United States. In totali- 
tarian countries broadcasting is a government monopoly, 
supported out of tax funds and used to mobilize the support 
of the people for the ruling clique. No free public discussion 
is permitted. But government radio is not limited to totali- 
tarian systems. 

For comparative purposes, the organization of radio in 
Great Britain and the Dominions is most interesting to 
Americans- In the British Islea all broadcasting facilities 
are owned and operated by the British Eroadcastirg Cor- 
poration, a government agency. Since 192fi, BEG has oper- 
ated under Royal Charter authorised by Parliament, The 
management of the corporation is in the hands of a board 
of governors appointed by the Cabinet. Ultimate responsi- 
bility reKts in the House of Commons, 

Under its charter, which is renewed every ten years by 
Parliamentary act, EBC is authuriaed to use brojidcai:Lting 
as a means of "information, education and entertainment 


in the national interestp" Some critics of American broad- 
casting organisation point to Britain as aji example of how 
the governmenl can contro] radio and saLisfy the public. 
On the other hand, thost: who favor limiting the Kovern- 
ment'i^ power in radio argue that if a public agency con- 
trols acceBs to the air. freedom of discussion ts curtailed. 
They also assort that BBC does not produce && good pro- 
grams as we enjoy in the United Statea, 

Tlit^ wtiy uj Iwu (loininions 

(Janada and Australia provide examples of radio control 
structure which are cto^ser to our own. They may \yc called 
naixed systems. In both those nationt^^ the government owns 
and operates a naliojia! network and individual stations. In 
addition, a« FCC doe^ in the United States, it licensee pri- 
vate operatorsi who wi^h to broadcast. This 5L^tup has de- 
veloped partly because of the large rural population, which 
could not be served protitably by private broadcasting, 

EroadcafttinK in Canada is controlled by a government 
agency called the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation- 
There are about 90 Canadian stations, of which S or more 
ar€ owned and operated by the government — among them 
the 4 most powerful stations in the country, CBC also pro- 
vides network programs to private stations in much the 
same way that the four major networks in the United 
ytates do. Programs trom ail four American networks are 
also distributed in Canada through the CBC. CBC rcgu- 
lationa are i^omething like a mixture of FCC ruIoH on the 
one hand and the NA"B Corfe on the other — but with the 
Code made obligatory and thus fully effective. 

In Australia a larger proportion — about one-third — of 
the statio]!.^ in operation are owned and managed by the 
Australian l*rr»nd(.'asting i'nmmissTon. which operate;^ the 
one national network. The others are privately operated. 
Stations owned by the t'-uvernmeni arc supported by licensie 


/eeg paid by tlie owners of receiving sets. Private stations 
get their income from the sale of time_ Iji Australia, the 
government links its own stations to the commercial sta- 
tions for important programs or news announcementx. 

Other countries have worked out differing mixtures of 
governinent and private ownership and operation of radio. 
They have set up schemes of support through various com- 
binations of lax, license-fee, and advertising revenue. 

Thus radio has not yet .settled down to a single fixed 
pattern in the democratic countries. 

What is at slake? 

Who is to control thia wonderful new TnediuTH of human 
communication, and how? Essentially it is a problem of 
deciding what kind of control involves the least risk and 
promises the most technJcal and social progress. There is 
little doubt about the objectives to be sought. Kadio can be 
used to help make the listener into a mechanical man — a 
pawn of selfish interests. It may waste precious lei.^ure 
time. It may propagandize for ideas and schemes that will 
be harmful. 

On the other hand, it can serve the American public and 
the world public by strengthening men's knowledge about 
themselves and the world in which they Jive. It tan pro- 
vide healthful amusement and entertainment. Through it 
a man can become a better human being and a more in- 
telligent, better informed citizen. 

Radio can become a real community nervous system, an 
invaluable instrument to unify and energize all tha na- 
tion's people and reach them all at once. It can distribute 
essential facts, significant truth.^, relaxing amusement, and 
inspiring artistic presentation. 

The control of radio, therefore, is one of the exciting 
problems to be dealt with in the world now that the war 
is ended. 



You HAVE a VGTy live question in "Ho"w far should govern- 
ment contro] raflio?" The present f^.v.^^teni i)f supervifling 
radio id thu l]nile(3 States f^eemK to be wurkiiiir pretty "well ; 
but a.s with all live thin^.s, radio ifi constant!}' presenting 
its industry, itf* public, and its ^rovcTnment with new prob- 
lem.^ to .solve. Will these Tiew problems — FM, subscription 
radio, facsimile i-idio, televifljon — brin;,^ Tit!W forms of con- 
trnlV Who will exercise this cnntnjK and how? What djirw 
gers lie in tho oxtejisiun of I'ederal control? Whore can the 
lino be ilrawn U^tween enough and loo "much refrulalion? 
What are thf dij;afi vantages aiul advantages; of our syiitem 
a.4 conipareil with i\\^. sfystenii^ of radio ^iiporviKion devel- 
oped fn other rflomocratic counirier:^? Thci^e and a hondrt'd 
other queir^tions c£iji lead to hi^hiy f^timiilating and informa- 
tive di^tuaaion. 

Org«nixiiig your di^ciini^um 

In y)IanninK a short introductory ta!k, yon Tni5:ht deal 
briefly with these [iiiesUons: 

What conditions led to the creation of FCC in 1S34? 

{ Paiges 9-1,^.) 
H<jw d(H?s FCC supervitie r:ulio? (Pages 13-22.) 
What policies are enforced by the NAB Code? (Fage,^ 


Another practical way to gret baek^rronnd facta informally 
befort! your group is to iisk each of Ihret? men to prepare 
themselves to answer one of the above (questions. They can 


either speak from the floor or seat themRelves as a panel 
with you as chairman. In the latter case they can heJp you 
effectively to carry on with the diacusi^ion which followti. 

After yon hav^ cleared the ground for the discu&Bion 
proper^ you will want to have ready ai3 outline or list of 
questions wh;t:h will serve to remind you of major contro- 
versial points that should be broug'ht up for disciiasion. 
**Qtlestioti^ for discussion" hav€ been prepared to heJp you 
in this. Probably you will want to ask a lead-off question 
to get the talk started. When oue main point has been 
pretty well explored, you might step in with a very brief 
nummary of it and then raise another major question. Often 
the questions will be raised for you. Then all you will need 
to do \y- to recognize pertinent one^ or to postpone consider- 
ation of those that belong tater in the dihieussion. This selec- 
tion of que.3tloLid is your chief :function as discussion leader. 


GI Roundtable manuals are intended foi" f^eneml i-eading 
by members of discussion group^^ as well as aidH to leaders. 
You will find that discussion will be .stimulated if as many 
men as possible have read this pamphlet in advance- Get 
the additional copies authorised, and put a number in the 
library, dayrooms, service club^ or other central location 
where men may pick theni up at leisure- 
Discussion iechftUiues 

Detaiied and practical sufi-gGRtions for organising and con- 
ducting discussion groups in the Army are described in 
EM 1, GI Ruzitidttible: Guide for Dwcussion Leaderti. If 
you plan to broadcast roundtable dificussinns or forums on 
station or sound systems of the Armed Forces Radio Serv- 
ice, you will iind excellent material on radio discussion tech- 

iijijues in E]VrOC3, GI Radh Round tnhh^.. Both can be reqiti- 
sitionetl hy informalion-eJiiealioii ofticorB from IISAFI or 
any USAFl nversea br^iiich. 

Qu&siiuns for dijtcitssion 


Do yoii think that freedom of speech over the radio has 
been restricted in any way by the licensing rules af IXC? 
Is there any danger that it might be? la there evidem^c that 
advertisers control what shall be said over the radio on 
controversial ij^^ues? Do you think radio policies on con- 
lroverJ?ial i.^auey are well handle<i under the voluntary NAB 
Code? Should trade imionj^ and consumers' cooperatives be 
permitted to buy radio time? Are there any matterj4 now 
eotitrolied voJuntarily under the NAB Cod^^ that might prop- 
erly be Kujxtrvi.scd by FCC2 


Shotild radio be essentially a medium for selling goods? 

Do yiiu thhik enough time is driven at present to **sustain- 
in^^ proj^'rams" in the service oi the public? Will the nidio 
induiitry, as a Kound^ proiit-niaking business, be tempted to 
put profits ahead of public service? li such a trend sets 
in, would yon want to see a ]ionprofit system whieh was 
fiwpported iii some other way"! Should .^uch i^ System be 
paid for by taxea or by private subKcription? Can public 
interest best be served by having competition enforced by 
FCC iiccnping rides, linnittug one station to one owner in 
any community? 


Do yon think that FM will change the radio picture 
greatly? Uo you think Ihat new noncommercial FM net- 
works which are mow beintr planned will be £uece.4«fid? 


How should they be supported? Are they likely to offer stiff 
competition to present commercial netwurka? Po you think 
that subscription r&dio HhouJd be encouraged by FCC/? Is 
television bo expeni?ive that it can be supported only by 
advertifiingV Do yon think that the same people will plan 
television programs who now prepare jjur radio fare? Will 
the government have to exercise more control over inter- 
national short-wave radio than it does over domestic radio? 


What do yoii think i^hould be the objectives of a demo- 
cratic nation in working ont a national policy for supervis- 
ing" radio? Where should we in the United States draw a 
hne between government and private control of radio? Is 
there a likelihood of more government control unless an in- 
creased number of private interests are brought into the 
field? How do other democratic countries; supervise radio 
in the public service? What are the advantages and dis- 
advantage.^ of the British system? Does the Briti.'^h system 
a|>i>ear to limit freedom of speech on the radio? Would 
either the Canadian or Australian systems suit the United 
States;? Why? 



These eooks are sug-g-cstod for supplemowtary reading if 
you hayt access to them or wish to purchase them from the 
publishers. They are not approved nor officially supplied 
by the War Deparlment, They have been selected because 
they give additional information and represent different 
points of view. 

ABC OF Radio. By National Association of Broadcastera^ 
1760 N St., N,W., WaahingLon S, D. C. (1^^38). l-Vee on 

An ABt; Of the FCC_ By the Federal Communications 
Commissioii, Washingt.(in 35, D, C* (1940). Free on re- 

National Policy for Radio BkoAdCasting. By CorneUa 
E. Rose. Published by Harper and Brothers, 49 33rd 
St., New York 16, N, Y. (1940). $3.00, 

Modern Radio. By Kiiigdon S, Tyler, Published by Har- 
courts Brace and Co., 383 Madirton Ave., New York 17, 
N. Y. (1944). ?3-00. 



Intuuductcrv copies of each new Gl Rottudiable pamphlet are auto- 
maiically issued to information-education officers in the United States 
»nd oversea ureas* Additional copies arc authorized on the basis of 
one copy for each 25 militiiry personnel. Pamphlets may be requisi- 
tioned from the United States Armed Forces Institute, Madison ct, 
Wisconsin! or from the nearest USAFI Oversea Branch. List EM 
numb<^r, title, and (luantity. New subjects will bo announced as pub- 
lished, 67 HoundiabU subjects now available: 

EM 1, Guide for Discussion LtADiais 

EM 2, What Is Propaganda? 

EM 10, What Sjiall Bf Done about Germany ajter the War? 

EM II, What Shall Be Done wiTir the War Criminals? 

EM 12, Can We Prevent Future Wars? 

EM i;i, How Shall LEND-LEAiSK Accounts Be Settled? 

EM 14, Is TiEE Good Nkighbor Folic v a Success? 

EM 15, What Shall Be Done about Japan ap^er Victory? 

EM 20, What Has Alaska To Offer Postwar Pioneers? 

EM 22, Wiij. There Be Work for All? 

EM 23, Why Co-ors? What Are They? How Do They Work? 

teM 24, What Lies Ahead for the Philippines? 

EM 27, What Is the Future of Tele: vision? 

KM 30, Can War ilAiUiJACEs Be Made To Work?* 

EM :il, Do You Wakt Your Wife To Work after the War? 

EM 32, Shall T Build a House after the AVar? 

EM m. What Will Your Town Be Like? 

EM 34, Shall I Go Back to School? 

EM 35, Shall I Take Up Farming? 

EM 8(j, Does It Pay To Borrow? 

EM 37, Will Thkrj; Be a Plane in Every Garage? 

EM 40, Will the French Republic Live Again? 

EM 41, Our Bretish Ally 

EM 42, Our Chinese Ally 

EM 43, The Balkans — Many Pe(»pi^:s, Many Problems 

EM 44, Alstrai.[a; Our Nekjhbor '*Down Under** 

EM 45, WhxVt Future vor the Islands of tjie Pacific? 

EM 4G, Our Russun Ally 

EM 90, Gl Radio Koundtable 

* For di^iHbulLun Jji Unilifd StuLEs only. 
Far salt? by llu^ Superintcn^'lcnt at DocmTu.-^iitJt« U* S, CiOvornm^ni prtntmf; Office 


■f ^