Television Digest with Electronics Reports (Jan-Dec 1954)

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4 had done poor job of operating AM and that third applicant Orange TV (local dept, store group) couldn't possibly operate as promised. FCC held that Tampa TV was preferred over Orange TV because of extensive plans to serve St. Petersburg, ability to carry out program proposals, integration of ownership-management, broadcasting experience, careful planning. Two lapses in WALT'S operation were noted but termed insufficient for adverse finding. FCC gave Tampa TV slight edge over WDAE-Times in programming and integration, but it felt "diversification" was most important because Times owned newspaper plus a radio station. Commission elaborated on the point; "Times argues that diversification principle should be employed only where the grant of a license would result in a monopoly of the sources of information in a given area, and that clearly, the instant case is not such a situation. We agree that no monopoly is here involved. But Times mistakes the applicability or purpose of the diversification principle; It is not limited to monopoly because its purpose, as its name connotes, is to promote diversification in the sources of information. It is therefore of general applicability to all comparative cases." Examiner Claire W. Hardy picked WREC over WMPS because of "integration of ownership and of past programming." He liked fact that WREC owner Hoyt B. Wooten is also active manager, whereas WMPS' principal stockholder Abe Plough, manufacturer of proprietary medicines, spends only fraction of his time with station. Hardy also found that WMPS is much more "commercial" than WREC; that it has broadcast several "vulgar and suggestive" songs ; that it had carried "bait & switch" advertising which could have been avoided if management exercised more care. Huntington and Grand Rapids CPs were derived through finalization of initial decisions after dismissal of competitors. (For principals, see TV Factbook No. 19.) SATELLITES-BACKGROUND AND PROSPECTS: No applications yet under FCC's "satellite policy" (Vol. 10;32-35) — but there are quite a few in the works. The Commission has received few written comments, most of them critical or urging caution, but the staff has been deluged with verbal inquiries. Genesis of policy is interesting. Staff and commissioners had been pondering ways and means of helping uhf, and boosters-satellites were constantly mentioned as a possibility. Commission debated every suggestion to date — low power, audio-only commercials, no local originations, start of rule-making, etc. — finally hit on the announced policy as one giving most flexibility. Comr. Sterling, staff members Curt Plummer and Edv/ard Allen sat in on RETMA satellite committee meetings. Ideas were kicked back and forth for about 3 months before ruling was issued. FCC is committed to nothing, actually, since it carefully said that it would "consider" granting stations with local originations and a waiver of duopoly rules. Thus, it's free to grant or not to grant. In addition. Commission instructed staff to encourage comments to guide further action. It looks as if rule-making is distinct possibility now, but there's no indication that present policy will be placed in limbo during such proceedings — which usually take months. This is truly a case-by-case procedure. Policy is regarded as "self-policing", i.e., whenever no one objects to proposed satellite operation, there's no reason to deny it. When there's objection — go slow. Matter of fact, if existing station wants to "go satellite", it's not even required to get FCC permission — though operation can be reviewed at renev/al time. How far FCC will go with policy is anyone's guess — including Commission's. What does "helping uhf" mean? Keeping existing uhf stations alive? Bringing uhf service to people not now getting it? Spreading network programs via uhf? Encouraging purchase of uhf sets and converters so that future non-network uhf stations will have a ready-made uhf audience? FCC considers it a mixture of these. The big question remains; Will the FCC knowingly do anything to harm an existing uhf station?