Skip to main content

Full text of "How Far Should Government Control Radio"

See other formats






►• #V* 




• '. 


-.APR 4 T94g 


control ^ 


'_ii^:M*r^ '■ 

Prepared for 
The United States Armed Porces 


This p-imphiet is ono uf a aeries made uviiilablG by the War De- 
puitmi-iit uiidtT the HtrleH title GI Routidtablc. Ai the i^r^^noml titlu 
iodicates, (JI Ro/nidtaliie pamphlets provide material which itiforma- 
tion-u duration oJticers may use in conducting proup discussions or 
forums us part of an olf-duty education program, anil which operators 
of Armed Forces Radio Service outlets may use in preparing GJ 
Kadio Koundtable discugsiun broadcasts. 

The tontL'nt of this pamphlet has beeu preTiared by the Historital 
Service Board of thr American Historical Association, Each pam- 
phlot in the series has only one purpose: to provide factual infor- 
mation and balanee^l ar^ments as a bssis for discussion of all sides 
of the i^uest^on, Jt is not to be inferred that the War Department 
endorses any one of the particular views presented. 

Sitvcific nnyt/entirniti fin- thf li'm-iiEswii or forum Iftittt-r who filmtJi 
fo it:ie flii--! pnmpiilet ivUi he /"und on. piigc 37, 

Washington 25, D, C. il Jan 1946 

|A.i:, 'MUt.l \\i. Juu 41E|.| 

EM 2H, GI RtmndUtblc: Hvtt' Far Should Government 
Ci'iilrol Radio? 

Current War Department instructions authorize the i-equi- 
sition of addilional copies of this pamphlet on the basis of 
unc cojfy for each :!5 military personnel, within limits of the 
available sUl^ply. Addilinnal copies shouiit be requisitioJied 
from the UuLLcd States Armed Forces Institute, Madison '.i, 
VVij^consin, or the nearest Oversea Branch. 

Distributed for use in the educational and informational ]jrof?rams of 
the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coaj^L Guard. This distribution is not 
to he construed as an endorsement by the Navy Department of the 
statements contained therein. 

EJitrcATltiNAN SECnvifES Section, StanhArds AN1> CllltKicULUM Divi- 
SJON, TttAiKiMi. BUR^^Mi OF Naval Personnel, WAaniNt!TUN 25, D. C. 
(Copies for Navy peraonnel are to be requisitioned from Educational 
Services Section.) 

Educ^ation Section, Weij^'are Division, SPEt^iAL Services Branch, 
Unitkii States Marine Corps. Washington 2b. D. C, (Distributed 
to Marine Corps personnel by SpeciiU Services branch. Additional 
copies, or information, may be obtained from unit Special Services 

Traininc Division, Okkice of 1'eksonnei., Coast Guard HKAiJtjtJAR- 
TKRS, Washington 25, i). C. (Cupiew for Coast Guard jjersonne! 
should he r^'Huisitioned from the ConimandanI IPT), U. S. Coiist 
Guard Headquarters, Washington 25, D, C.) 

radio 1 

Who Ts it tbof 'fills the air with rodro waves? 2 

Does the government hove to act as a radio traflic cop? 9 

How does federal policing of the air waves worli?. ... 13 

Can the radio industry police itself successfuMy? 22 

What ore radio's basic problems and future prospects? 27 

What solutions hove other nations tried? 33 

To the discussion leader 37 

For furHier reading 41 

Other Gl Roundfable subjects 43 


'OMETTMKS it seems as though 
the life of the Brown family begins and ends with two 
noise boxes — a little one in a bedroom ujistairs aiad a larger 
one in the living- room downstairj^. From the time the fam- 
ily gets up in the morning: until the last light is turned out 
at night, these two arc rarely t^uiet. 

The tirst sounds out of them may be the combination 
music and patter of an "early bird" setting-up program 
that helps Betty Lou keep her schoolgirl ligure in trim. 
Then it is thti turn of the downstairs radio with the latest 
Dews headlines and the weather report while the Browns 
eat their breakfast. 

After the children and her husband have gone for the day, 
Mrs. Brown tunes in a marketing program lo hear the best 
buys in fresh vegetables and then switches to her favorite 
soap opera. The commercial announcements may provide 
several items for her shopping lii^t. A health talk reminds 
her that young Jim hasn't been to the dentist in far too 
long. In mid-afternoon Jim himself comes in from school, 
grabs some cookies, and dashes upstairs to hear the ball 

The two noise boxes really hit their peak in the evening 
hours. Before supper it's news again for Mr, Brown, a 
spine-tingling adventure story for Jim, and a .jazz pro- 
gram for fSctly Lou. After supper some friends come in 
to visit the Brawns. They talk against a background of 
symphony music while upstairs the children listen to their 
favorite comedian. 

Perhaps the family pets together again for a forum dis- 
cussion or for a special broadcast from the White House. 
Perhaps a commentator comes on to discuss what the Presi- 
dent has said, and Mr. Brown catches an idea he wants to 
talk over with the boys at the office. A play especially 
written for broadcasting and some soft "reading music" 
end the radio day for the Browns, 

And for oth4*r families too? 

The Browns' daily schedule is more or less 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- — the 
radio is their chief and almost only contact with the world 
outside the circle of home, friends, and jobs. For all of uw, 
what we hear on the air helps make our picture of what 
life in our times is and ought to be. 

Is 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 
microphone. The sound waves, or parades of air wiggles, 
become electrical wiggles in the microphone and from it 
proceed along 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 translated hack mto a cbsc apT^roximation of 
the original Jiounds. That i^ what JinaJiy comes out oi the 
I ouil -.speaker. 

While they arc travdinj,^ through the cthor to the re- 
ceiving antenna, the parade oi' waves from a transmitter 
must have the road to them^lves. If a nearby .station iti 
transmitting at Ihe wame time, its waves will interfere with 
the parade unless they are pitched at a dilTerent frequency. 
For the hours il is on the air. therefore, and within the 
rane:e of its 'Voice/' a radio station must have what is 
called a "wave channel" — or ''frequency channel"- — lilear of 
other broadcasts. 

HouJ many channels are there? 

There is a limit to the possible number of these channels. 
We do not yet know how to make uac of many of the fre- 
quencies between 10 kilocycles and 30.000, 000 kilocycles — 
the "radio .spectrum." Many of the reat are used for point- 
to-point communication such as ship-to-ship or ship-to- 
shore, for aviation, for radar, and for other vonbroadcast 
purposes. From one end of the ordinary home broadcast 
receiver dial to the other, there are only 106 channels now 
carrying: broadcast sounds. This means that, even with the 
most careful planning, not too many groups of sounds can 
he broadcast at once without getting in one anothcr\s way> 
It now seems inevitable that there will always be a 
scarcity of sound broadcasting channels. The prewar num- 
ber has been increased by opening up a whole new set of 
channels for FM ( frequency 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, and which are not? News or music? Speeches 
by Democrats or by Republicans? Soap operas or school 
programs? The radio pie is only ''so big," and someone 
must decide what the American people are to get. 


Who makes up the radio fuenu? 

There are five chefs who make up the radio menu : the gov- 
ernment, the stations, the iietworfcH, the sponsors, and the 
advertising agencies. 

THE GOVERNMENT. First chef is the Federal Com- 
municationa Commission. FCC, an aijercy of the federal 
government, issues licenses entitling corporations or per- 
sons to buy, build, or operate nidio stations. As a condi- 
tion of granting these licenses, FCG enforces certain re- 
quirements ^aid down by CoTigress and by its own regula- 

THE STATIONS. The £)00-odd station managers are, 
collectively, the second chef. These men have the major 
task of selecting the programs that sncceed each other in 

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

The stations are divided into three groups. First are the 
30 or more stations owned by the networks. For them, of 
course, the networks rather than the individual stations 
largely determine* the programs. Second are the 650 or 
more stations affiliated with the networks. This means 
that each station enters into a contract with a network for 
the regular use of programs provided by that network. 
Third are the 200 iv-depeiideni stations that have no net- 
work affiliations 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 recordings of musical or other programs. 

THE NETWORKS. The third of the chefs making up 
the nation's radio menu is, collectively, the four national 
networks. More than 700 stations — 4 out of every 5 radio 
stations in the country— are owned by or affiliated with the 
National Broadcasting Company, the Columbia Broadcast- 
ing System, the Mutual Broadcasting System, or the 
American Broadcasting Company (formerly the Blue Net- 
work). Together they use 95 percent of the evening broad- 
cast power. In addition to these giants, there are between 
25 and 30 smaller regional networks. 

The percentage of stations affiliated with the networks 
has climbed steadily 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, most pow- 
erful stations in America. One-half the total broadca.sting 
time sold to advertisers is sold by the big networks. This 
means that network programs occupy half the time on the 
air and provide a large share of the income of the stations 
in the four major chains. 

The oldest net is NBC. It is wholly owned by another 
company, 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 stationSi 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 
owner.ship is in the hands of the 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, as a rule, the smaller 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.. Bamberger department 
stores) and WGN in Chicago (owned by the Chicago 
Tribune). Other important Mutual owners are a Weat 
Coast regional network, the Yankee Network, the United 
Broadcasting Company of Ohio, and the Cincinnati 

Newest comer to the network field 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 **Life 
Savers"; Chester J. TjaRoche, formerly of the Young and 
Rubicam a'dvertising agency; and Time, Inc., which pub- 
lishes Life, Timf. and Fortnyie magazines. 

The networks originate noncommercial or "sustaining" 
programs, arrange for commercial programs, and sell both 
kinds to the individual stations. Business organizations or 
"sponsors," as they are called, pay advertising agencies to 

prepare radio programs for wide audiences. The advertis- 
ing agencies buy station time for these programs through 
the networks, which thus act as brokers between the sta- 
tions and the people anxious to get the ear of the public. 
The networks sell access to listening audiences mainly 
through advertising agencies acting for the sponsors. 

This arrangement for determining the radio menu of 
the American people covers only a part of the total radio 
time available — that given to "sponsored" or paid-for 
shows. The remainder of the programs are called **sus- 
taining" because 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 
stations or originate at the individual stations themselves. 

The most important hours on the radio schedule — 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 instance, 80 to 90 percent of the programs are commer- 
cially sponsored. 


The sustaining programs are, nevertheless^ ol great im- 
portance in serving the radio public. They include news 
bulletins, daily foreign news roundups, some symphony 
programs and university round-table forums. The line be- 
tween the two kinds of programs is by no means absolute. 
Occasionally shows which begin as network sustaining pro- 
grams develop such an audience that sponsors take them 
over. Examples are Information Please, the Sunday Phil- 
harmonic Orchestra concerts, and the Town Meeting of the 

THE SPONSORS, It is dear that for sponsored pro- 
grams there are other chefs than networks and stations 
really preparing the radio fare. These are the sponsor.^^— 
the fourth chef— who themselves pay for the time they use 
to entertain the listening public and persuade it to buy 
their wares. 

There are, of course, a large number of local businesses 
which advertise on individual radio stations serving a par- 
ticular locality. However, more than 70 percent of the 
5300,000,000 spent by businessmen for radio time comes 
from national and regional advertisers. 

Growing numbers of business houses desiring to build 
a huge mass market for a product have turned 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 station.^ Jiow 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 NBC's entire advertising business. Ten adver- 
tisers supplied over 60 percent of its business. Very much 


the same situation was true of the other three big net- 
AYorka. At present, three-quarters of all national network 
income comew from four major commodity groups: food, 
drink, and confections; drugs; soaps and cleansers; and 

a fifth chef, perhaps the most important of all — thq adver- 
tising agencies. The .sponsoring companies decide the gen- 
eral types of programs they want to use in promoting their 
products. They do not furnish the programs directly. The 
advertising agencies write and produce the sponsored pro- 
grams; find, buy, and build talent; pick networks, stations, 
and times; and so on. 

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


The advertising of certain wares has today become the 
means of supporting a whole mass-communications indus- 
try — an industry that provides entertainment, rapid news 
service, political forums, symphony orchestra and grand 
opera programs, and a nation-wide audience for govern- 
ment messages and announcements. This peculiar form of 
enterprise has evolved gradually. It was not clearly seen 
as the inevitable use for the new invention in the early 
days of radio. 

Although the underlying discoveries in the radio field go 
back to the ISSO's, not until 1907, when Dr, Lee De Forest 

invented the "^rid'' tube, did broad cji.sting of the human 
voice become feasible. One ni^^ht Dr. Do Forest, Iru.stinij 
to luck, invited a Swedish conL-ert singer who was visiting 
hifl laboratory to sinpr into the complicated machinery he 
had built, A wireless operator in the Brooklyn Navy Yard 
happened to hear her voice and America had a new toy and 

At first the Bell Telephone Company took the trouble to 
control many radio patents, out of fear of radio as compe- 
tition for wire telephones. Other interested corporations 
were Westinghouse, General Electric, the American Mar- 
coni Company — all of them thinking of the radio as a sub- 
stitute for the telephone in point-to-point communication- 

Parly lines fipr everyone 

The first regular broadcasting station started in 1920 
when a few businessmen and engineers realized the 
possitjle uses of radiOH as "muKic 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 became interested, 
nevertheless, some in the commercial possibilities, some In 
radio as a hobby. 

Throughout the country *'hams'' and businessmen vrere 
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 most im- 
portant were those owned by electric and telephone com- 
panies» department stores, and newspapers. 

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


programs. An opera was broadcast, tho first radio serial 
appeared, variety shows made up of humor and music were 

At iirst a few and then w*>vi} and more corporations with 
things to soil the public began to buy time and talent for 
radio broadcasts, ynowballin^r as it went^ the radio in- 
dustry grew aw more people bought sets to hear the better 
programs put on because more people were buying sets. 
The first networks made their appearance. 

Radiu traffiv jam 

The development of the new device waa hampered, how- 
ever, by the lack of any sort of radio policeman. Groups of 
sound waves couldn't get from the broadcasting studios to 
the receivers without being interrupted by other groups. 

At first, the various stations made gentlemen's agree- 
ments not to broadcast on one another's wave lengths. But 
it was not a matter to be regulated by the though tfulnesa of 

The amateurs, for instance, might broadcast on a favorite 
wave length regardless of who eJse was using it. If one 
of these hams playing ragtime records ran afoul of a 
symphony concert, nothing but an unholy din would get 
through to the listener. Or two haras talking to one an- 
other would walk right in on a radio serial. 

More often than not, the air would be filled with queer, 
unintelligible shrieks of pain as the sound waves stepped 
on one another. 

The people concerned about tbe development of commer- 
cia! broadcasting were helpless. Nobody had any clear 
right lo a particular wave length. But to build an audience 
it was necessary to guarantee clear reception at the same 
places on the tuning dial all the time. Obviously it was time 
to caH in a traffic cop. 


Governntfiitt regulation 

Governments throughout the world first became intprPRfed 
in the ra^lio i>eeau8e of its possible uses in ship-rcacue 
worlf. Internationa! agreements which our government 
signeil provided a common signal of distress — the "CQD/' 
which resulted in the sptictacular iiiiiving of lives in the 
Florhhi and Titanic disasters, and later became the **SOS." 

In the field of land broad c aw ting» too, the government's 
interest was made clear. CongrewH maintained, from the 
first that radio was a matter of public concern and that 
the representatives of the people had a right to determine 
how the ether was used. In the words of one representative 
*'the right of the public to service is superior to the right of 
any individual to use the ether," 

In 1912. the United States government began to regulate 
radio transmission of all Vinds. In that year the Radio Act 
gave the secretary of commerce and labor (then a single 
department) the power to license .stations. But thiw power 
was not great enough to prevent the unforeseen '*babei of 
the air" that developed in the middle iy20's- 

The first radio traffic cop 

To straighten out the wave-length mess a Federal Radio 
Commission was created by Congress in 1927. At that time 
there were only 90 channels available with 732 radio sta- 
tions trying to use them. By assigning stations far enough 
apart to the same channel, specifying the power to be 
used, and staggering the time of activity carefully, all but 
about 150 of these were able to continue operating. 

Gradually, more and more rules for broadcasting were 
set up. At first Congress was hesitant about placing a per- 
manent government agency over the whole industry. But 
it soon became clear to station owners, consumers, and 
orticials that the job to be done was a big on.e> 

During the late 1920'^ and early 1930'r the leaders of the 
radio industry called on and the president; for 
help. They asked for a better regulatory system and 
clearer determination of the government's policies and 

In 1933 the president asked a group of government ad- 
m-inistrators to study the whole radio situation so that 
some more efficient way of dealing with it could be worked 
out. They recommended that "the communication service 
as far as Congressional action is involved, should be regu- 
lated by a single body.'' At the tiame time Congressional 
committees attacked the problem. 


The joint result was the Communications Act of 1934. 
This measure created the present Federal Communications 
Commission and gave it power to regulate all nongovern- 
ment wire and wireless communications in the public in- 
terest. FCC also participates in the work of the Interde- 
partment Radio Advisory Committee, which assigns wave 
lengths for governmental uses. 

FCC is responsible to Congress for administering the 
provisions of the act. Its decisions, like those of other 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 is staggered so that, barring death or 
resignation, one vacancy occurs each year. The statute 
provides also that no more than four appointees shall be 
from one political party so that there are always Dem- 
ocrats and Republicans (often Independents also) as mem- 
bers. A staff of engineers, lawyers, accountants, and other 
specialists serves the commission in administering the act. 





Q Q 


Appointed for 7 year lernis 

O Q 






i PRESS 1 







-.-.-:. >:-:-<o:j....±-::%J.^ V ■-■-■'■<■ '-—■■:■ ^-<^— J^ ". ■■c^^-i^Jx.x^-^Z:^ '^■::p;.-.i'.: 'i-^irJ 


FCC has other ^Johs besides its major task of reRulatinfj 
commorcial radio broarica.sUng. It also regulatey the tele- 
graph, cable, telephone, and radio- telegraph indiiritries to 
see that the services siippliefl, the rates charged, and con- 
ditions of service are the best available. 

Other radio users to i^alch 

In addition to the 900 standard broadcast stations which 
serve the regular listening pnblic, FCC must issue licenses 
to, and regulate, some 65,000 transmitters of other kinds- 
These include amateur, aviation, ship^to-shore, police, 
forestry, television, facsimile, frequency modulation, and 
international short-wave broadcasting. 

All these different uses of radio must be given plenty of 
elbowroom on the radio spectrum so that they wiH not 
crowd one another. Further, the commission must set 
aside some frequencies for experiments with new kinds of 
broadcasting- For instance, television has been as^ij^ned 
some regular broadcasting channels and some experimental 

The commission's duties do not end when it has assigned 
frequencies to each transmitter. It must also police the air 
waves — "monitoring" 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 tralRc jam. This monitoring service was 
greatly expanded during the war as a constant means of 
listening for enemy messages transmitted by voice or 
Morse, in secret code or otherwise. Likewise, for the war 
period. FCC staff members listened in on foreign propa- 
ganda broadcasts in many languages and furnished texts 
and summaries to various interested war agencies. 

The major job 

But the part of FCC's job which concerns us and the 
millions of radio listeners in the United States is its con- 


troJ over the broadcasting stations. FCC's powers, though 
definitely limited, are extensive. 

Who is to have the right to use the air for broadcasting? 
The Communications Act specifies only that broadcasting 
must be in the hands of American citizens. To make cer- 
tain of this, the commission requires each station to fur- 
nish a complete 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 licenses as will insure that the licensed stations 
best serve the "public interest, convenience and necessity." 
This is where the rub comes, since many more applications 
for standard broadcast licenses are received than can be 

FCC, therefore, must choose which among the too 
numerous applicants are to tie allowed to engage in the 
broadcasting business. It has set up certain rules to guide 
it in making its decisions, 

^et€ 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 use 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 area 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- 

Renewing a lieen»e 

Originally, 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 Jicenae. 

This periodic licensing procedure is the basis of FCC's 
regulatory power. If it can be clearly demonstrated that 
the licensee has not used his station properly to serve "pub- 
lic interestt convenience and necessity" the commission can 
refuse to renew the license. In such an events it will grant 
the frequency to another licensee- 
All sales or other transfers of stations must be approved 
by the commission. Complete information concerning own- 
ership must be given, and concealment of ownership may 
be followed by a revocation of the license. 

The Communications Act in so many words forbids FCC 
to censor any radio broadcasts. The act and regulations 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 to who is sponsoring' and paying 
for them. No lotteries may be advertised. 

In reaching a decision on a license renewal, FCC doesn't 
go into the content of particular broadcasts over that sta- 


tion. \i does, however, take into account the over-ail record 
of programming during the preceding period. Us aim is 
to make sure that those applicants which offer the bej*t and 
most buJanced radio diet get the licenses, 

Cki^ckrein on the networks 

Many stations had network contracts that bound them to 
a certain network for fii^e years, but Ijouml the network for 
only oTfe, Under the new rule a station can sign with a net- 
work for only two years, so that it can change networks for 
better service if it likes. The commission reasoned that 
the networks will provide better programs if they know 
their contracts are good for only two years. Al^o, it fig- 
ured that new networks can get started more easily if they 
don't have to wait five years for existing contracts to 
run out 

The commission also banned "exclusivity." A stuiton 
atfiliated with one network can now carry some programs 
of another network as well. 'Territorial exclusivity" was 
also forbidden. This means that if a network station in. 
say, Toledo does not want a certain program, the program 
can be sent to another station in Toledo or the surrounding 

Networks formerly required stations to "option time" 
to them, that is, give the network the right to a certain 
number of hours each week, FCC felt that these hours, set 
aside for network programs, "restricted the freedom of 
[local] station licensees and hampered their efforts to 
broadcast local programs, the programs of other networks, 
and national spot transcriptions." Option time is now lim- 
ited to certain proportions of each part of the broadcast day. 

Some network contracts had made it difficult for sta- 
tions to reject programs. Such practice is illegal, accord- 
ing to FCC, which marntahis that the station is licensed to 
have coutroi of its programs, not to delegate it "directly 





to the network, or indirectly to an adverti.siiig aijency." 
Therefore, the commission ordered stations to keep their 
freedom to cancel network programs on occasion. Nor can 
-stations transfer to a network power to fix their own prict^s. 
If FCC is satisfied that a new appiicant will run a radio 
station — or that an existing operator has run a radio sta- 
tion — in the best interest of the local community and the 
national radio system, the commission will grant or renew 
his license. Call letters will be assig-ned, power and hours 
of broadcast will be specified^ and one of the limited num- 
ber of channels given. Actually, stations once licensed are 
almost without exception relicensed at the end of each 
three-year period. But no licensee has any legal vested 
interest in renewal. The frequencies are used, not owned, 
by the stations. 

Can government enforce competilinn? 

The Communications Act and the debates i>recedinjj its 
passage make clear that Congress wished to maintain as 


wide competition aa possibJe in the broadcasting field. FCC, 
cspeciaJly in recent years, has tried to discover and dis- 
courage trends away from free competition. From 1938 
to 19'10 it investigated *'chain broadcasting" to see whether 
the great networks had too much control over the stations. 

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

The commission has no written power to control net- 
works. It can only regulate the stations that are parts of 
the networks. Following its investigation and public hear- 
ings, the commission issued an order to the radio industry. 
The broadcasters at first fought and then accepted these 
new rules. 

Because radio facihties are limited, the commission 
feared that ownership of two stations 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 networks under one ownership inevitably came 
under the ban. As we have seen, the Blue Network was 
separated from NBC and is now an independent system. 
In granting licenses for FM broadcasting, FCC is limiting 
to only six the number of stations anywhere that may be 
under the same ownership. 

Netrttpapers and radio sUttions 

The commission also investigated the increasing number of 
stations owned by the publishers of newspapers. At the 
time of its investigation, about one of every three radio 
stations was completely or partly newspaper-owned. 


The following; three mnjor conceriiH moved FCC to hold 
this inquiry : 

(1) Whether the as.^ociation of radio stations and 
newspapers affected **the free and fair presentation of 
public isHues and information over the air'' ; 

(2) Whether joint ownership of radio and press in- 
terfered with the jTublit's right to the news by limiting 
the public's sources of 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 shorty was the public being properly 
served ? 

Objections to the inquiry were raised on many grrounds. 
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. Finally, it was asserted that newspapers were 
particularly well equipped to run radio 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 public expression in any community 
were owned or controlled by one man or group. It also 
noted an important fact: Stations managed by newspapers 
tend to be the most powerful and the most profitable ones 
in their localities — 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 necessary, but warned that it 
might become so. 




The radio industry, like other industries, Is run for profit. 
Yet because of its great importance for the political and 
social hfe of America, it must be concerned with more than 
dollars and cents. Congress has recognized the public re- 
sponsibilities of radio in the Communications Act. The 
radio industry itself has recognized them by its own regu- 
lations. Perhaps the most important means of self-control 
it has developed is the *'Code" of the National Association 
of Broadcasters. 

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

The Code provisions have been developed to meet what 
the radio industry conceives to be the public's needs and 
wants, partly as measured by the demands of groups in the 
population. In working out policies covering children's 
programs, for example, NAB confers with women's, teach- 
ers\ parents', school, and library groups. Through its 
efforts a Kadio Council on Children's Programs has been 
established. Keligious broadcast policies are similarly 
worked out with the approval of responsible lay and church 
leaders of the major faiths. 

Children and education 

Radio is one of the many things that influence children's 
ideas of what the world is like and what kinds of people 
they want to be. Favorable or dramatic presentation of 
certain characteristics, for instance, may lead some children 
to adopt those characteristics. According to the Code, 


children's programs should "reflect respect for parents^ 
adult authority, law and order, dean livijii^, hig^h moral.St 
fair play and honorable behavior/" And as children are 
extremely senaitive and impressionable, the Code bans 
"sequencer involving horror or torture or use of the super- 
natural or superstitioua." 

Actual research indicates clearly that the less education 
a person has» the more he tends to rely on the radio for 
information and ideas. Broadcasting presents a magnifi- 
cent opportunity to reach low-income, rural, and foreign- 
born groups, many of whom have not had the education 
they want and need. Even those who have had better edu- 
cational opportunity need more knowledge. Radio can 
reach them, too. 

One of the most important sources of a nation's strength 
is a well-informed, 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 they must have 
to make the reasoned decisions that democracy needs. It 
can also give voice to alternative points of view, so that the 
people may choose among- them. 

The NAB Code's provisions covering educational broad- 
casting urge individual radio stations to devote time to 
informational programs for children and adults- It suggests 
that they use local schools and colleges, the U. S. OfTice of 
Education, and the Federal Rjidio Education Committee for 
advice on what needs to be done and how best to do it. 

Religion and adverlising 

''Radio, which reaches men of all creeds and races simul- 
taneously, may not be used to convey attacks upon another's 
race or rehgion," 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 stations to exercise great care in accept- 
ing as sponsors only "individuals and firms engaged in 
legitimate commerce," Nor should their commercial an- 
nouncements violate "fair trade practices and accepted 
standards of good taste." Thus stations are a.sked not to 
Bell time to anyone urging people to drink *'hard liquor*' or 
to patronise fortunetellers, mind readers, or astrologers. 
Matrimonial agencies^ race-track sheets, and financial spec- 
ulators are also disapproved as sponsors. 

Advertising copy, according to the Code, ought not to 
make "false, deceptive or grossly exaggerated" statements. 
Neither should it unfairly attack competitors nor "repel- 
lently" describe any physicaJ disorders. Commercial an- 
nouncements should be limited, depending on the length 
and time of the broadcast. Thus a 15-minute evening pro- 
gram should have not more than 2 minutes and 30 seconds 
of "plugging" although a full hour daytime show may have 
d minutes. 

Politics and controversy 

Most of the argument concerning the NAB Code centera 
around itn suggestions on broadcasting controversial sub- 
jects. The only Congressional and FCC regulation on the 
political use of the radio covers election campaigns. Con- 
gress has told stations that if they sell time to one candi- 
date for a public office or to a party or person supporting 
him, they must sell equal time to the other candidates. 
Moreover, campaign speeches are not censorable by the 

The NAE Code, accepting the need for special treatment 
of party campaign speeches, has a general rule that, except 
at election periods, radio time may not be sold for the 
discussion of controversial issues. Rather, 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 amounts 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 might 
be denied any kind of radio hearing. Further, the Code 
maintains^ if time were sold for such purposes to anyone 
who wanted it, the station managers would lose control of 
controversial programs and could not hold any reasonable 
balance between all points of view. 

The radio networks and stations, in this way, accept the 
responsibility of serving as a forum for the expression of 
competing ideas. The Code, in fact, makes it clear that 
time can properly be sold for discussion of controversial 
issues on forum type programs, provided that the forum 
presents all sides fairly and the control of fairness is in the 
hands of the station or network. 

Such a policy is very ditiicult to enforce to everyone's 
satisfaction. There is the problem of the regular poetical 


commentators. They usually broadcast on paid time* and 
may take Hides on public issues, violating the Code prin- 
ciple. Rome networks have met Ihe issue by forbidding 
commentators ly express controversial personal views. 
Other nets try to balance their commentators by choosing 
a corps of commentators with different and, it is presumed, 
balancing views- 

Are alt sponsors alike? 

Then there is the problem created by bui^iness organiza- 
tions that sponsor programs for entertainment and are 
accused of plugging for their side of indastrial 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 only on such scarce free time as is available. They 
feel, therefore, that thoy are not given an equal chance with 
the bufiines^ses that buy time. 

These people assert that the practical result of exclusion 
from time buying is to keep many discussions off the air 
altogether. One larger station has recently taken exception 
to this Code limitation, and NAB is studying possible revi- 
sion of the rule. 

The Code gives special suggestions regarding straight 
news programs. They are to be given accurately. They 
are not to be biased through the selection of items or col- 
ored by the personal opinions of anyone engaged in the 
broadcast. The Code allows time to be sold for news pro- 
Rirams as it does time for news commentator programs. 

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


They point out thai groceries, drugstores, and depart- 
ment stores may pay to hawk their wares antl seek new 
customers on the radio. Cooperative enterprises desiring 
to increase their business by adding new customer-members 
should be able to advertise in the same way, they say. 



From what has gone before, it is clear that the radio in- 
dustry is complex. No one is completely satisfied with the 
way it produces programs or with its relations to the gov- 
ernment. Its difficulties grow out of the fact that it has 
more than one function. It rt-nders a detinite public service 
by communicating, recording, and news, ideas, 
and events for the public. But also, as an advertising 
medium for some dozens of industries, it operates to make 
profits for those industries and for itself. 

Like most American institutions radio started out under 
the management of private persons and corporations. Rut 
radio's medium of operation — the air above our heads — was 
more like the sea or a public highway than like private 
land. It belonged to everyone, and it could not be divided 
up among private owners. Only a limited number could 
use the ^'highway" 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 
ia the foremost problem. 



2 Goes to 

ogency ■ 

It would appear that radio comes under the dear mean- 
ing, if not the exact wordt^, of the amendment to the 
Constitution: '^Congress shull mako no Jaw . . . abridg- 
ing the freedom of Hpeet;h» or of the press." Yet for physi- 
cal rea.sons, radio cannot operate free from some govern- 
ment eontrol. And it iw very difficult in practice to draw 
a clear line between partial control and complete control. 

Conflicts of split ppmouallly 

Out of the doal nature of radio aa a profit-making business 
and a public service, numerous conflicts arise. Should 
radio be essentially a medium for ;^eihng goods? Should it 
fill more and more hours at higher rates with profitable 
adverti.sements — accompanied by entertainment devices 
for attracting listeners to the ads? K it does that, how 
can it, as a sound, profit-making business venture, stop 
short of crowding out the other, nonprofit function entirely? 
At the least will it not be tempted to put profits ahead of 
public service? 

If such a trend sets in, would another radio system 



eventually appear, supported in somtj other way, to meet 
the public'.s need for undiluted news, commentaries, forums, 
public announcemeTitw, and educational activities? If so, 
would the present highly organized, skillfully led broad- 
casting industry find that the goose that lays the golden 
eg(r had quietly died? 

On the other hand» should broadcasters consciously and 
responsibly assume a double role? Can radio be at once a 
pub lie- service medium and a private advertising medium? 
Can broadcasters design a radio menu which balances in 
proper proportions and separate^s in proper compartments 
two items of diet so different? Accurate reporting 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 seL 

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


owner and the iieU\-i»rk say to the adverti.sers who foot 
thoir bills: "This kind of plu^^ yes. uml that kind, no. So 
much time for ads and no mure"? 

Chii they say to the person or the groi/p why would at- 
tack their owji or their principal advertiser*s interest, 
*'Yes, yon may have tfm*? and your fair share of time on 
our schedule*'? Will radio, with television and facsimile 
added, forego the technical advantage of unihed control 
and centralized management V Should it L-onscicntiously do 
so for the sake of avoiding monopoly control by keeping 
ownership in many hands? 

Does radio give anything like the skill, talent, and time to 
educational purposes that it does to amusement? Should 
it do so if radio is potentially equal, let us say, to btHiks, 
magazines, and lecture halls as a serious educational in- 
strument ? 

Possible sotiitions in the futurpz FM 

These are the kinds of problems that radio, as an industry 
serving hoth a public and a commercial function, will be 
facing in the years ahead. The problems do not, however, 
have to be met and solved within the present, framework 
of the four networks and 900 stations now occupying the 
5t50-1600 kilocycle range on the dial. Frequency modula- 
tion broadcasting (FM), occupying a group of channels 
higher up in the spectrum, is ready for extensive commer- 
cial development. FCC can, if it desires, grant Fitf licenses 
to 2,700 stations without their broadcasts interfering with 
one another. One of the major networks has itself de- 
clared that FM opens the way for six or more new net- 
works as welL The technical characteristics of this newer 
method of broadcasting may make it possible, therefore, 
for a large number of stations to serve a single community. 
FM aJso offers other opportunities for variety. With FCC 
approval, a new set of noncommercial networks is being 


[liannet^ Theso would link toijelher the endowed and pub- 
iit cducatitinal in^^litulion.s eni?:a(j'f^d in broadcasting. Their 
educational and other pobliL-servitt and cultural prograniB, 
thuri, wonid all be under public educational authority and 
be supported by taxation or endowment rather than ad- 
vertising- ' " 

This plan would place alongside commercial radio an 
entirely public -service radio on a state-wide network basis. 
And the request is for full morning-to-ni^ht service. 

Subscription radio^ television^ and faatiinUe 

The former head of a leadinf^ radio advertising agency has 
also proposed so-called ^'subscription radio" for KCC ap- 
proval. This is based on a recently invented device (pig- 
squeal) which will permit broadcasting companies to trans- 
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 receiven 

If frequencies are granted for such an enterprise, it will 
be an interesting experiment in broadcasting paid for by 
the listeners rather than by the advertisers. The daily 
program would be completely free from advertising inter- 
ruptions. Such programs wouid be on the same dial and 
would compete directly with the commercial advertising 

FM, at most, will gradually supplant our present trans- 
mission-reception system by amplitude modulation. Tele- 
vision, also in the ofiing, is a more radical innovation. Un- 
like FM radio, its technical characteristics seem to call for 
very expensive installations 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 programs. The 


broadcast networks interested in television clearly want to 
keep the making of programs within their own control. 
They would rather not serve merely as buyers and sellers 
of programs made in advertiKing agency studios. 

It woukl 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 same chefs who now serve the radio audi- 

Facsimile broadcasting, which at some future date may 
transmit printed bulletins by radio, will draw closer to- 
gether the interests of newspapers and radio. It will pre- 
sent new possibilities and new problems in the control and 
communication of news. Facsimile will also make it pos- 
sible to ''deliver" magazines and books to our homes by 

Short-tcavff and international regulation 

Finally, the war stimulated great development of interna- 
tional short-wave broadcasting, entirely at the hands of 
government agencies and for war purposes. The return of 
peace will probably allow the government to step out of the 
direct control and direct operation of short-wave facilities. 
But short-wave radio is an international agency of com- 
munication. Private broadcasters interested in developing 
short-wave programs, therefore, feel that the federal gov- 
ernment will have to exercise more control than it does 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 for political boundaries. Just as their disregard of 
state lines makes federal supervision necessary, so their 
inability to stop 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 
agreement. 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- 
lems of long standing, with new opportunities, and with 
new problems. 



Up 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 regulating 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 
governmental 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 everyone that purely private control will 
not work. A "radio traffic cop" has to be put in authority 
to regulate and enforce the assignment of scarce frequency 
chauneia among the many bidders. Inasmuch as these chan- 
nels are deemed to "belong" to all the people rather than 
to the private businesses which are licensed to use them, 


the government appears to be the only proper traHic con- 
trol agent. 

Opponents of further increase in the government's con- 
troi over radio seek a counterbalance in an increased num- 
ber of private interests brought into the field. As a de- 
fense against the concentration of control in the hands of 
the government, they suggest that universities, municipal 
governments, trade unions, consumers' cooperatives, and 
other noncommercial groups get into broadcasting. This 
kind of development will be made possible with the many 
new stations permitted throug'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 BrouiU-asiing 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 Brilish Isles all broadcasting facihties 
are owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Cor- 
poration, a government agency. Since 1926, BBC has oper- 
ated untler Royal Charter authorized by Parliament, The 
management of the corporation is in the hands of a board 
of governors appointed by the Cabinet. Ultimate responsi- 
bility rests in the House of Commons. 

Under its charter, which is renewed every ten years by 
Parliamentary act, BBC is authorized to use broadcasting 
as a means of "information, education and entertainment 


in the nalronal interest," Some cntics of American broad- 
casting orgranization point to Britain as an exampit? of how 
the government can control radio and j^atisfy the public- 
On the other hand, those who favor limiting the govern- 
ment's power in radio argue that if a public agency con- 
trols access to the air» freedom of discussion is curtailed 
They also assert that BBC does not produce as good pro- 
grams as we enjoy in the United States- 

The way of tipo dominions 

Canada and Australia provide examples of radio control 
structure which are closer to our own. They may l>e called 
mixed systems. In both those nationw. the government owns 
and operates a national network and individual stations. In 
addition, aw FCC does in the United Slates, it licenses pri- 
vate operators who wish to broadcast. This setup has de- 
veloped partly Ijecause of the large rural population, which 
could not be served profitjibly by private broadcasting. 

Broadcasting in Canada is controlled by a government 
agency called the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 
There are about 90 Canadian stations^ of which 8 or more 
are ownetl anil 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 m the United 
States do. Programs from all four American networks are 
also distributed in Canada through the CBC. CBC regu- 
lations are something like a mixture of FCC rules on the 
one hand and the NAB Code on the other — but with the 
Code made obligatory and thus fully effective. 

In Australia a larger proportion — about one-third — of 
the stations in operation are owned and managed by the 
Australian Broadcasting ('ommission. which opi^rates the 
one national network. The others are privately operated. 
Stations owned by the government are supported by license 


fees paid by the owners of receiving sets. Private stations 
get their income from the sale of time. In Australia, the 
government links its own stations to the commercial sta- 
tions for important programs or news announcements. 

Other countries have worked out differing mixtures of 
government 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 medium of human 
communication, and how? Essentially it is a problem of 
deciding what kind of control involves the least risk and 
promises the most technical and social progress. There is 
little doubt about the objectives to be sought. Radio can be 
used to help make the listener into a mechanical man — a 
pawn of selfish interests. It may waste precious leisure 
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 hy strengthening men's knowledge about 
themselves and the world in which they live. It can 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 the na- 
tion's people and reach them all at once. It can distribute 
essential facts, significant truths, relaxing amusement, and 
inspiring artistic presentation. 

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



You HAVE a very live question In '*How far should ^overu- 
Tnent control nulio?'' The present system of supervising 
radio in the United States seems to be workijig pretty well ; 
but as with all live things, radio is constantly presenting 
its industry, its public, and its government with new jjrob- 
lems to -solve. Will these new problems — FM. subscription 
radio, facsimile radio, televisum — bring new forms of con- 
trolV Who wili exorcise this control, and how? What dan- 
gers lie in the extejision of Tederal control? Where can the 
line be drawn Ijetween enough and too much regulation? 
What are the disadvantages and advantages of our system 
as compared w^ith the systems of radio supervision devel- 
oped fn other demt>cratjc couJitries? These and a hundred 
other ciiienstious can lead to highly stimulating and informa- 
tive disc usa ion, 

Orgttniziitfi your disfHsmion 

In planning a short introductory talk, you might deal 
briefly with these questions: 

What conditions led to the creation of FCC in 1934? 

(Pages t»-L^.) 
How do(?s W.V. supervise radio? (Pages 13-22.) 
What policies are enforced by the NAB Code? (Pages 


Another practical way to gel background facts informally 
before your group is io ask each ol" Ihree men to prepare 
themselvea to answer one i>i' the above questions. They can 


either speak from the floor or seat themaeWes as a panel 
with you a.^ chairman. In the latter case they can help you 
effectively to carry on with the diacussion which follows. 

After you have cleared the ground for the discussion 
proper, you will want to have ready an outline or Hat of 
questions which will serve to remind you of major contro- 
versial points that should be brought up for discussion. 
**Questions for discussion" have been prepared to help you 
in this. Probably you will want to ask a lead-off question 
to get the talk started. When one main point has been 
pretty well explored, you might step in with a very brief 
summary of it and then raise another major question. Often 
the questions will be raised for you. Then all you will need 
to do is to recognize pertinent ones or to postpone consider- 
ation of those that belong (ater in the discussion. This nelec- 
tion of questions Is your chief function as discussion leader, 


GI Ronndtable manuals are intended for general reading 
by members of discussion groups as well as aids to leaders. 
You wull 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 them up at leisure, 

Disi:ussioit techniijues 

Detailed and practical suggestions for organizing and con- 
ducting discussion groups in the Army are described iu 
EM 1, GI Roundtable: Guide for Di&cusshn Leaders. If 
you plan to broadcast roundtable discussions or forums on 
station or sound systems of the Armed Forces Radio Serv- 
ice, you will find excellent material on radio discussiozi tech- 

niques in EM 90, GJ Radio Rontidiohle. Both can be requi- 
sitioned liy infdrmnlion-edncalion officers from USAFl or 
any USAFI overs^ii branch, 

Qnestious for discussion 


Do yon think that freedom of speech over the radio has 
been restricted in any way by the licensing rules of FCC? 
Is there any danger that it might be? Is there evidence that 
advertisers control what shall be said over the radio on 
controversial issues? Do you thinlc radio policies on con- 
troversial issues are well handled under the voluntary NAB 
Code? Should trade unions and consumers^ cooperatives be 
l)ermitted to buy radio time? Are there any matters now 
controlled voluntarily under the NAB Code that might prop- 
erly be supervised by FCC? 

Should radio be essentially a medium for selling goods? 
Do ycm think enough time is given at present to "sustain- 
ing programs" in the service oj" the public? Will the radio 
industry^ as a sound, prolit-making business^ be tempted to 
put profits ahead of public service? If such a trend sets 
in, would yon want to see a nonprofit system which was 
supported in some other way? Should such a system be 
paid for by taxes or by private subscription? Can public 
interest best be served by having competition enforced by 
FCC licensing rules, limiting one station to one owner in 
any community? 


Do you think that FM will change the radio picture 
greatly? Do you think that new noncommercial FM net- 
works which are now being planned will be f-uccessful? 


How should they be supported? Are they likely to offer stiff 
competitioE to present commercial networks? Do you think 
that subscription radio should be encouraged by FCC? Is 
television so expensive that it can be supported only by 
advertising? Do you think that the same people will plan 
television programs who now prepare ^our radio fare? Will 
the government have to esercise more control over inter- 
national short-wave radio than it does over domestic radio? 

What do you think should be the objectives of a demo- 
cratic nation in working out 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- 
advantages of the British system? Does the British system 
api>ear to limit freedom of speech on the radio? Would 
either the Canadian or Australian systems suit the United 
States? Why? 



These books are sugg-estcd for supplementary reading if 
you have access to them or wish to purchase them from the 
publishers. They aru not approved nor officially supplied 
by the War DeparlmenL The}'" have been selected because 
they give additional information and represent different 
points of view. 

ABC OF Radio. By National Association of Broadcasters, 
1760 N St, N.W., Washington 6, D. C. (1D3S). Free on 

An ABC OF THE FCC. By the Federal Communications 
Commission, Washington 25, D. C, (1940). Free on re- 

National Policy for Radio Broadcasting. By Cornelia 
B, Rose. Published by Harper and Brothers, 49 East 33rd 
St., New York 16, N, Y. (1940). ?3.00. 

Modern Radio. By Kingdon S. Tyler. Published by Har- 
courtj Brace and Co., 383 Madison Ave., New York 17, 
N. Y. (1944), 13.00. 



IHYRCDUCTORY COPIES of each ntw Gl Rottndlablt; pamphlet are auto- 
miiticaUy issued to information-education officers in the United States 
lUid ovei'sea iiretis* Additional copies are authorized on the basis of 
one copy for each 25 military personnel. Paniphletg may be requisi- 
tioned from the Uniteti Stiites Armed Foi'ces Institute^ Madison 3, 
Wisconsin, or from the nearest USAFI Oversea Branch. List EM 
number, title, and quantity. Xew subjects will ha announced as pub- 
lished. (JI koundtabU .subjects now avfiilable: 

Guide for Discussion Leaders 

What Is Propaganda? 

What Shall Bf Done about Germany atteh the War? 

What Shall Be Done ^vjTit the War Criminals? 

Oai^ We Prevent Future Wars? 

How Sjiall Lend-Lea^k Accounts Bk Settled? 

Is THE Goon Neighbor Poucy a Success? 

What Shall Be Done about Japan after Victory? 

What Has Alaska To Offer Postwar Pioneers? 

WiiA. There Be Work for All? 

W^HY Co-ops? What Are Thev? How Do They Work? 

What Lies Auead for the Philippines? 

What Is tjie Future of Television? 

Can War Marriages Be Made To \\ork?' 

Do You Want Your Wife To Work afteei tjik War? 

Shall I BmLO a House after the War? 

What ^Vill Your Town Be Like? 

Shall I Go Back to School? 

Shall I Take Up Farming? 

Does It Pay To Borrow? 

Will Thkr>; Be a Pi^ne in Evfjiy Garage? 

Will the French EKntRLJC Live Aoain? 

Our British Ally 

Our Chinese Ally 

The Ealkans^Many Peofi^:;?* Many Problems 

Austrai.ia: Our Neiohbor "Down Unl*eb" 

What Future for the Islands of the Pacific? 

Our Russian Ally 

Gl Radio Houndtable 

























EM 21, 

EM 30, 



EM 32, 

EM 33, 















EM 43, 









* t.^, 

For dietributiun in United ^^fulEs only. 

For £a}e hy ihe Superintendcinl of DocumtntA^ U- S, ■Govemmetit I'rinLinsf Office 

WrthhirPifilnn 2Tu li* <). - VvUt^ !'■ cvntH 

^ y, S. eOVEI^NMENT PRINTING Qff!CE: mS-^714O0