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In Re Applications of RADIOHIO, INC. For Renewal of Licenses for Stations WBNS and WBNS-FM, Columbus, Ohio and WBNS-TV, INC. For Renewal of License for Station WBNS-TV, Columbus, Ohio


File Nos. BR-290 and BRH-852; File No. BRCT-57




38 F.C.C.2d 721




January 3, 1973 Released


 Adopted December 20, 1972





 [*721]  1.  The Commission has before it for consideration: (i) the above captioned license renewal applications for Stations WBNS, WBNS-FM and WBNS-TV, all of which are located in Columbus, Ohio; (ii) a petition to deny the above-captioned license renewal applications; and (iii) various other related pleadings.


2.  The proceeding has become somewhat complex in view of the number of pleadings which have been filed.  Therefore, we will set forth a brief resume of the history of the proceeding to facilitate a better understanding of the matters which have been raised by the parties and our ultimate disposition of those matters.

3.  Initially, we note that RadiOhio, Inc., licensee of WBNS-AM-FM, and WBNS-TV, Inc., licensee of WBNS-TV, are under common ownership, RadiOhio, Inc. and WBNS-TV, Inc., will, therefore, hereinafter be referred to as "licensees".

4.  The licenses for WBNS-AM and FM were last renewed on September 8, 1967, and the license for WBNS-TV was last renewed on September 11, 1967, all for terms ending October 1, 1970.  Pursuant to Section 1.539 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.539, licensees seeking renewal of their station authorizations must file application therefore on FCC Form 303 at least 90 days before the expiration date of the station license.  Accordingly, the licensees herein timely filed applications for renewal of licenses for Stations WBNS-AM-FM-TV on July 1, 1970.

 [*722]  5.  Pursuant to Section 309(d)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 309(d)(1), any party in interest may file a petition to deny any application filed with the Commission, including a license renewal application.  Pursuant to Section 1.580(i) of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.580(i), a petition to deny a timely filed license renewal application must be filed on or before the first day of the last full calendar month preceding the expiration date of the station's license being challenged.  Accordingly, on August 31, 1970, the Columbus Broadcasting Coalition, hereinafter referred to as "petitioner", timely filed a petition to deny the license renewal applications for Stations WBNS-AM-FM-TV.  In short, petitioner seeks designation of these license renewal applications for evidentiary hearing to explore the licensees' ascertainment efforts, programming performance, employment practices, and alleged monopolistic control over the media.

6.  Section 1.45 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.45, provides that, where a petition to deny is filed, on apposition thereto may be filed within ten (10) days after the petition is filed.  Section 1.45 of the rules also provides that the party filing the petition to deny may file a reply to any opposition to its petition to deny within five (5) days after the time for filing the opposition has expired.  Section 1.45 provides further that the reply pleading shall be limited to matters raised in the opposition.  Section 1.45(c) of the Commission's rules provides that additional pleadings may be filed only if specifically requested or authorized by the Commission.

7.  On September 10, 1970, licensees herein filed an opposition to the petition to deny directed against the license renewal applications for WBNS-AM-FM-TV.  On September 15, 1970, the petitioners filed a motion seeking a six week extension of time in which to file its reply to licensees' opposition pleading.  Although the licensees filed, on September 16, 1970, a motion opposing petitioner's request for an extension of time, the Commission granted petitioner an extension of time to and including October 12, 1970.  Thereafter, two joint motions were filed by the parties requesting further extensions of time, ultimately to October 30, 1970, on the grounds that they were trying to settle their differences at the local level.

8.  However, when negotiations failed, petitioner, on October 30, 1970, filed another request for an additional extension of time to complete and file its reply pleading.  This request was opposed by licensees by pleading filed November 6, 1970.  Prior to ruling on petitioner's request and licensees' opposition thereto, petitioner, on November 16, 1970, filed its reply to the licensees' opposition pleading.  Concurrent with its reply pleading, petitioner filed a motion seeking its acceptance, notwithstanding failure to include the required number of copies.  Also, on the same day -- i.e., November 16, 1970 -- petitioner filed a "Supplement to Reply to Opposition to Deny Renewal of Broadcast Licenses", a "Corrected Copy" of the reply, and an "Errata" thereto.  Subsequently, on December 9, 1970, licensees filed a pleading entitled "Response to Reply to Opposition to Petition to  [*723]  Deny Renewal of Broadcast Licenses".  This pleading then prompted petitioner to file, on June 11, 1971, a pleading entitled "Reply to Response to Reply to Opposition to Petition to Deny Renewal of Broadcast Licenses".


9.  As previously noted, Section 309(d)(1) of the Communications Act provides that any party in interest may file a petition to deny any application filed with the Commission.  Petitioner states that the Columbus Broadcasting Coalition is a group of incorporated and unincorporated organizations composed of persons residing in and around Columbus, Ohio.  Accordingly, we find that petitioner has standing in this proceeding as a party in interest within the purview of Section 309(d)(1) of the Communications Act.  Office of Communications of the United Church of Christ v. Federal Communications Commission, 359 F. 2d 994 (1966).

10.  Also, as previously noted, Section 1.45 of the Commission's rules provides for the filing of a petition to deny, an opposition thereto and a reply, the purpose of which is to respond to points made in the opposition pleading.  Licensees' pleading of December 9, 1970, charges that petitioner raises "new matter" in its reply pleading and, therefore, that this new matter should be stricken or, alternatively, that licensees are entitled as a matter of right to file a response to said new matter.  In its pleading of June 11, 1971, petitioner avers that no new matter was raised in its reply pleading, that licensees do not have the right to file a response to the reply pleading, that licensees' response of December 9, 1970 contains new matter, and that the response should be dismissed and the new matter stricken.

11.  We have reviewed petitioner's reply pleading to determine whether it does, in fact, raise new matter in contravention of Section 1.45 of the rules.  In sum, the reply pleading is to a large extent merely an amplification of the points made in the petition to deny.  The reply pleading does, however, contain additional facts in support of several of the allegations contained in the petition to deny and, thus, raises "new matter".

12.  We do not, of course, condone the use of any pleading for other than its designated purpose; nor do we condone the use of additional pleadings which thwart the orderly administration of the Commission's processes.  To do so would serve notice that our rules could be effectively ignored.  However, under the circumstances presented in this case, we do not believe that consideration of all the pleadings filed will be prejudicial to the parties, particularly since they have responded to each others charges and counter-charges.  We will, therefore, consider all the pleadings submitted by the parties.  In so doing, however, we wish to reemphasize that the Commission does not condone violation of its procedural rules and that, in the absence of extenuating or unusual circumstances, we will not consider such pleadings in the future.



13.  We now turn our attention to the pleadings.  In so doing, we note that the material submitted in this proceeding is lengthy and somewhat repetitious.  Therefore, we have summarized the petitioner's objections and licensees' responses thereto to the greatest extent possible.  We believe, however, that the following accurately describes the nature of the pleadings filed herein.


14.  Question 1, Part I of Sections IV-A (radio) and IV-B (television) of the Commission's various broadcast application forms -- including FCC Form 303, the license renewal application -- is designed to elicit information concerning the methods used by broadcast applicants to ascertain community problems and the programming they propose to broadcast to deal with those problems.  On December 19, 1969, the Commission issued a Notice of Inquiry and Proposed Primer on Ascertainment of Community Problems by Broadcast Applicants, 20 FCC 2d 880, in an effort to clarify the information required of broadcast applicants in responding to Question 1, Part I of Sections IV-A and IV-B.  Thereafter, on February 23, 1971, the Commission issued its final version of the Primer on Ascertainment of Community Problems by Broadcast Applicants, 27 FCC 2d 650.

15.  Pursuant to the guidelines set forth in the Primer, an applicant is required to conduct a community survey, within six months of the date of the filing of the application, of a cross-section of Community leaders and a random sample of members of the general public.  The community leader survey must be conducted by management level personnel of the applicant.  The general public survey may be conducted by other employees of the applicant or the applicant may contract with an independent organization to conduct the survey.  The purpose of these surveys is to ascertain community problems, not programming preferences.  Having completed the surveys, the applicant is then required to submit a list of the problems ascertained, evaluate those problems to determine which of them merit treatment on its station, and, finally, propose programming designed to deal with those problems.

16.  In their initial submission under Question 1, Part I of Sections IV-A and IV-B of the above-captioned applications, licensees provide a general description of the Columbus, Ohio, area and outline the various methods employed by the WBNS stations to ascertain community problems.  By way of brief summary, and as detailed in Exhibit 3 of the above-captioned applications, licensees note that they ascertain community problems through (i) involvement of their staff's in community activities, (ii) the reading and study of local newspapers, (iii) on-the-air announcements requesting listener and viewer comments and suggestions, and (iv) their news and public affairs departments.  Licensees also note that their representatives participate in the Columbus Town Meeting Association, which is composed of and provides the  [*725]  leadership of the Columbus area an opportunity to suggest program matter to relate to community problems.

17.  The licensees note further that during the period extending from June 1969 to December 1969, a community leadership survey was conducted for the WBNS stations by Dr. James L. Golden and Dr. Richard M. Mall of Ohio State University.  Sixty-three community leaders were interviewed during this survey.  These leaders represent fields such as business and industry, service organizations, education, religion, crime prevention and protection, polities, medicine, law, journalism, civil rights, youth and women.  The interviewees are identified by name, position, and organization (Exhibit 3-E, pp. 8-11) and thirty-six separate problems were ascertained and identified during this survey (Exhibit 3-E, pp. 5-6).  In this respect, licensees provide an evaluation of these problems.  This evaluation provides, in part, as follows:

First, there is an overriding concern in the area for mass transportation.  Second, there is a need for the mass media to be more creative and innovative, and courageous in presenting the area needs to the public...  Thirdly, there is a pressing need to use a metropolitan, rather than an individual community approach to provide services to the residents of Central Ohio. Fourthly, there is a need to eliminate pressing problems in the inner city and to strive to improve race relations.  Fifthly,..., there was a growing concern for improved educational programs and facilities... (See Exhibit 3-E, pp. 6-7).

18.  In addition to the foregoing, licensees note that on May 21 and 23, 1970, management personnel of the WBNS stations conducted interviews with twelve additional black leaders on related subjects of special interest to the black community.  Also, on May 21, 1970, licensees' representatives attended a meeting held by the Mayor and his Cabinet for a briefing on what city officials considered the most pressing problems of the city (Exhibit 3-G).  Further, during the first quarter of 1970 licensees hosted luncheon meetings with leaders of eight communities and counties in the Central Ohio area.  Specifically, community leader luncheon meetings were held with 17 leaders representing Newark, Ohio and Licking County; 10 leaders representing London, Ohio and Madison County; 9 leaders representing Delaware, Ohio and Delaware County; 11 leaders representing Lancaster, Ohio and Fairfield County; 9 leaders representing Circleville, Ohio and Pickaway County; 14 leaders representing Marion, Ohio and Marion County; 10 leaders representing Chillicothe, Ohio and Ross County; and 18 leaders representing Mt. Vernon, Ohio and Knox County.  These community leaders are also identified by name, position and organization (Exhibit 3-A, pp. 2-4) and, further, a brief description of the problems ascertained is given (Exhibit 3-A, p. 4).

19.  The licensees further note that on February 1 and 7, 1970, WBNS-TV broadcast a program entitled The Columbus Town Meeting Annual State of the City.  This program featured the Mayor of Columbus and his Cabinet answering questions telephoned in from the public.  In this respect, licensees submit that they gained additional insight regarding many problems of concern to people in the Central Ohio area.  Examples of the questions received are submitted by licensees in Exhibit 3-D of the above-captioned license renewal applications.   [*726]  Also, in an effort to further ascertain problems of concern to people in their service area, licensees circulated questionnaires among members of the Rotary and Lions Clubs, a sampling of students in twelve high schools, a sampling of the membership of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and a sampling of students at Franklin University.

20.  A review of the above-captioned applications also reveals that a Community Needs Committee, composed of management personnel of the WBNS stations, meets every Monday morning.  These meetings concern themselves principally with the consideration of community problems and related programming; i.e., during the meetings staff personnel report their conversations with community leaders and discuss related programming.  In this regard, licensees submit in Exhibit 3-E of the above-captioned applications a list of 68 community leaders consulted by staff personnel during the six month period preceding the filing of those applications.  These persons are also identified by name, position and organization.

21.  Further, in Exhibit 4 of the above-captioned applications, licensees submit a list of problems which the WBNS stations will undertake to deal with during the license term.  These problems, in the order presented, include those related to mass transportation, race relations, county-wide (metropolitan) government, welfare, education, convention center, health, law and order, crime, pollution, culture, and consumer protection.  Also, in Exhibit 5 of the above-captioned applications, the licensees submit typical and illustrative programs or program series the WBNS stations plan to broadcast during the license term to deal with community problems.

22.  Petitioner maintains that, despite the foregoing, licensees have failed to conduct an adequate community survey.  In sum, petitioner maintains that blacks are underrepresented in the licensees' ascertainment efforts, noting that only 16, or 12 per cent, of the community leaders consulted were black.  Petitioner also submits that licensees have failed to consult with any of the more active groups in the community.  Petitioner maintains further that the licensees' ascertainment efforts contain an element of staleness, since many of the consultations with community leaders were conducted between June 1969 and December 1969.

23.  Additionally, petitioner maintains that licensees' survey of the general public is deficient.  Petitioner initially notes that licensees mailed a questionnaire to four groups in the Columbus area.  Petitioner states that two of these groups cater to the white middle class while the other two were student groups.  Petitioner also states that licensees do not indicate the number of questionnaires maild or the number returned.  Petitioner also notes that licensees do not list the results of the general public survey.

24.  Petitioner goes on to criticize the questionnaire used by licensees in conducting their general public survey.  Petitioner notes that, while the questionnaire contained black lines for additional comments, it asked only one question, namely: "What do you consider to be the most pressing problem confronting Columbus and Central Ohio?".  Finally, petitioner submits that the needs ascertained reflect the inadequacy  [*727]  of licensees' ascertainment efforts, in that the survey revealed mass transportation to be the most pressing problem.

25.  As previously noted, on February 23, 1971, the Commission released the final version of its Primer on Ascertainment of Community Problems by Broadcast Applicants.  On May 20, 1971, licensees filed amendments, copies of which were served on petitioner, to the above captioned applications, stating:

On February 23, 1971, the Commission released its Report and Order adopting the Primer on Ascertainment of Community Problems in final form.  FCC 71-176.  The ascertainment exhibits in the pending applications do not appear fully to comply within Primer requirements, as finally adopted, in certain respects.  With respect to the community leader survey, the licensees relied in part on a survey conducted for them by Dr. James L. Golden, Professor of Speech and Communication.  The Ohio State University, during the latter half of 1969.  The Primer as finally adopted requires that such surveys be conducted by principals or management level employees (Question 11(a)) within six months prior to the filing of the applications (Question 15).  With respect to the general public survey, the licensees mailed questionnaires to a randomly-selected group in the service area, requesting that the questionnaire to executed and returned by mail.  The Primer in its final form does not authorize this technique.

The licensees have undertaken new ascertainment surveys in order to bring their pending applications into full compliance with Primer requirements as finally adopted.  Personal interviews with community leaders have been conducted by management-level employees.  Personal interviews with the general public have been conducted by employees under the supervision of management-level employees.  The results of these surveys have been incorporated in the enclosed amendments, and they are submitted pursuant to Section 1.522 of the Commission's rules and paragraph 79 of the cited Report and Order.

26.  Specifically, during the months of March and April, 1971, licensees conducted two surveys related to the ascertainment of community problems.  The first survey concerned interviews with 100 community leaders representing a wide cross-section of the community, including a number of minority group leaders.  Each of these leaders was identified by name, position and organization.  Forty-one problems were ascertained through these interviews, eighteen of which were listed more than ten times.  The three problems recurring with the greatest frequency related to education, race relations, and mass transportation.  The general public survey utilized a random sampling technique based upon the telephone directory and resulted in 208 completed interviews.  Thirty-one problems were ascertained through these interviews, the five most frequently being mentioned related to those concerned with education, crime prevention and cure, race relations, mass transportation, and the mass media.

27.  Petitioner has raised several questions pertaining to the adequacy of the licensees' initial submissions in response to Question 1, Part I of Sections IV-A and IV-B of the above-captioned license renewal applications.  We are of the opinion, however, that, while some of petitioner's objections were valid, any question relating to the adequacy of the licensees' ascertainment efforts have been corrected by their survey amendments of May 20, 1971; and, accordingly, we resolve this aspect of the instant proceeding in favor of the licensees.

28.  Measured against the standards contained in the Primer, it is clear that the material before us discloses on its face that licensees  [*728]  have consulted with a representative corss-section of community leaders and a random sample of members of the general public to become informed of community problems.  With regard to the allegation that licensees have failed to interview a sufficient number of minority leaders, there is no magic formula for determining the correct number of community leaders to be interviewed.  All that is required is a survey of a representative cross-section of community leaders.  Primer, supra, 27 FCC 2d at 667. Here, the licensees have consulted with a number of minority group leaders representing various groups within the black community.  With regard to the allegation that these leaders apparently only represent one philosophical element, licensees have broad discretion in selecting from among the leaders of each significant segment within the community.  Since the Commission will not substitute its judgment for that of broadcast licenses, no ascertainment issue will arise absent specific evidence that the licensee has abused his discretion in selecting leaders to be interviewed or omitted a significant segment of his service area.  WSBC Broadcasting Company, 34 FCC 2d 651, 653 (1972). No such showing has been made in this proceeding.

29.  The facts in this proceeding also disclose that licensees have evaluated the problems ascertained through its surveys.  In analyzing these problems, it appears that licensees have given some consideration to the number of times a problem was mentioned in assessing its relative importance.  To meet specified problems, the record also shows that licensees have adopted various types of programs to deal with those problems.  In sum, therefore, we believe that the material on hand adequately demonstrates that licensees have realistically and successfully endeavored to ascertain community problems in Columbus and other communities in the Central Ohio area.  We also conclude that licensees have effectively evaluated the problems ascertained and propose sufficient programming to deal with those problems which they believe warrant treatment on the WBNS stations.  Additionally, we note that licensees, while not required to do so, have set forth an outline of the methods employed by the WBNS stations to remain aware of community problems on a continuing basis.  Such efforts cannot go unnoticed for, clearly, a licensee must remain aware of the needs and problems of his community on a continuing basis if he intends to provide the informational programming necessary to serve the public's interest.  We can find no fault with the various methods employed by the WBNS stations in this regard.  While petitioner criticizes licensees' efforts, petitioner has only made general allegations rather than specific allegations of fact sufficient to show that licensees' efforts have been prima facie inconsistent with the public interest.  Such allegations are not sufficient to require an evidentiary hearing; nor are licensees required to cull over three years' records to provide evidence of all its ascertainment efforts to refute such general allegations.

Programming to serve the black community

30.  Petitioners allege that the stations have failed to present adequate programming for the black community.  The basis of this allegation rests on the petitioners' evaluation of a letter dated June 1, 1970,  [*729]  sent by the licensees to the local chapter of the N.A.A.C.P.  In this letter the licensees described certain programs broadcast by the WBNS stations during the past license term which were deemed relevant to the needs and interests of the black community.  Petitioners criticize these programs by arguing that "almost all are carried in fringe hours": "Urban League Presents" -- 12:00 a.m., Sunday, "a time when most people are likely to be in church"; "Americans from Africa" -- 6:30 a.m.; and "I Believe" -- 7:00 a.m. Further, petitioners complain that other offerings were only "one shot shows." Finally, petitioners aver that the stations do not regularly "present programming on topics which are of general, as well as specific interest to its very substantial Black audience"; that there exists an "almost complete absence of Blacks" from WBNS programming; that when black performers are presented they do not appear in roles with which the majority of blacks can identify; that children's programs have been geared to middle-class white children; and that blacks rarely appear in WBNS commercials.

31.  In opposition, the licensees include a copy of the letter referred to above (Exhibit No. 7), stating that the programs listed therein reflect the stations' efforts to meet the needs and interests of the black community.  Included among these programs are the following:


"The Job Program"

This series was initiated in January 1968, and has continued on a weekly basis since that time.  The program is presented in cooperation with the Ohio State Employment Service, Urban League, CMACAO, N.A.A.C.P., and/or any other agency interested in finding jobs for the unemployed.







"Urban League Presents."

The program began on June i9, 1969, and has been presented weekly since that date.  Blacks discuss matters of interest to their community.  Co-hosts are Chuck White (WBNS-TV) and Jerry Hammond (Urban League).

"School Scene"

This is a weekly series which was begun on January 20, 1969.  Discussions are held relating to the services, activities and problems of the Columbus Public School System.





A weekly series initiated in January 1967, these programs are devoted to health, traffic safety, welfare and various other social problems.



"Americans from

This series was presented in cooperation with WOSU TV on a weekly basis from October 8, 1969, through April 29, 1970.  The series examined the significant contributions made by blacks to American life and culture.





"Nimrod Allen: Born As

A 30-minue interview with the


founder of the Columbus

I Am."

Urban League, broadcast in January 1969.

"Up From Down"

A report presented on December 23, 1969, detailing the Columbus Metropolitan Area Community Action Organization's efforts to provide training, education, legal aid and counseling to local residents.





"A Slice of Bread"

A program broadcast on January 13, 1970, which




devoted to a discussion of black capitalism.

"Prostitution: The

A report dealing with the problems of prostitution.





This regular series of weekly programs is presented in cooperation with the Columbus Urban League and speaks to the needs and interests of the black community.  The series has been carried for more than 25 years.





"Urban Education Coalition Report."

A series of weekly programs devoted to the development of improved instructional programs and facilities in the Columbus Public Schools.

"Minority Report"

A 5-minute CBS Radio Network program which is carried Monday through Friday and covers topics of general interest to the black community.




"Ross Reports/Open

A weekly series of listener participation




which deals with community problems, many of which


are of particular interest to the black community.


32.  With regard to the "fringe hours" argument, WBNS-TV provides an affidavit from the Vice-President in Charge of Programming, wherein he avers that "Americans From Africa" was presented from 7:00-7:30 a.m., not 6:30-7:00 a.m. It is stated that this time period was appropriate since the series was designed to reach college and high school students.  Further, the licensee argues that petitioners's general allegation ["distorts] the relevant facts." An affidavit is submitted (Exhibit 8) listing programs which were presented by WBNS-TV from January to September 1970, during prime time and which were relevant to black needs and interests.  The following programs were included:

"A Slice of Bread"

10:00-10:30 p.m. -- January 13, 1970, Subject -- black capitalism.



"Projection 1970"

8:30-9:00 p.m. -- January 14, 1970 (Pre-empted CBS's "Beverly Hillbillies"), Subject -- mass transportation



"The Committee"

7:30-8:00 p.m. -- February 12, 1970 (Pre-empted CBS's "Family Affair"), Subject -- controversy between blacks and Columbus Police Force.




"Fraternal Order of Police."

8:30-9:00 p.m. -- February 16, 1970 (Pre-empted CBS's "Here's Lucy"), Subject -- Police department's response to the positions taken by The Committee.

"Special Report from the Mayor of Columbus."

7:00-7:13 p.m. -- February 19, 1970, Subject -- controversy between Columbus Police Department and black residents.

"Mayor's State of the City Report."

9:-10:00 p.m. -- February 7, 1970 (Pre-empted CBS's "Green Acres" and "Petticoat Junction").

"Projection 1970"

8:30-9:00 p.m. -- March 16, 1970 (Pre-empted CBS's "Doris Day Show"), Subject -- Education.



"Troubles in Transit --Part III."

9:30-10:00 p.m. -- March 17, 1970 (Pre-empted CBS's "Governor and JJ"), Subject -- mass transit.

"Projection 1970 --

8:30-9:00 p.m. -- August 1970 (Pre-empted



Urban Systems."

Hillbillies"), Subject -- cities' housing, transportation, trash disposal, and other problems.



33.  As to programming presented for children, WBNS-TV notes that the station's principal locally-produced children's program broadcast is "Luci's Toyshop," which is described in Exhibit 31.  Briefly, the program is designed to provide educational and entertainment experiences for pre-school children.  It is stated that any child, regardless of race, color, or ethnic origin can appear on the program; that participants are scheduled strictly in the order of postmark on the letters  [*731]  addressed to the station requesting tickets; that during 1969, one day was set aside for classes, organizations, etc.; that members of several groups were black; and that special efforts were made to schedule Head Start preschool children.

34.  In reply, petitioners concede that the "Americans from Africa" series was televised at 7:00 a.m. rather than at 6:30 a.m., but complain that "[a] 7:00 a.m. time slot is hardly 'prime time,'" and that the programs reflect the creative efforts of Ohio State University, not WBNS-TV.  More generally, petitioners complain that WBNS-TV presents no prime time series devoted to the needs and interests of blacks or the problems of race relations, and that most of the programming which is designed to serve the black community is broadcast during "fringe hours." Moreover, petitioners state, an examination of the licensees' opposition reveals that from January to September 1970, WBNS-TV presented only 5 3/4 hours of programming which was relevant to the black community.  Petitioners claim that this amount was not adequate to meet the needs and interests of Columbus blacks.  Further, they question whether some of these programs (as well as those broadcast by WBNS and WBNS-FM) were relevant to the black community of Columbus.  Rather than being programs of particular interest to blacks, "[most] of the programs are at best of general interest to Blacks and are mass audience appeal shows." Petitioners also question whether any blacks "participated in a major role in any of these programs." In addition, petitioners refer to the WBNS-TV renewal application (Exhibit No. 5) and condemn "Columbus Town Meeting" and "Issues" programs, stating that of the more than 120 programs broadcast over a three-year period, no more than seven were of special significance to the black community.  It is also alleged that only two of the "Channel 10 Reports" (listed in Exhibit No. 9) dealt with blacks; that two other series, "Traffic Court" and "The Judge," which are cited as examples of programming to deal with issues of public importance, should be classified as entertainment programs; and that of the 12 editorials listed in the application (Sub-Exhibit No. 5-A), only one dealt directly with blacks.

35.  In response, WBNS-TV cites programs from the "Columbus Town Meeting" and "Issues" series, implying that these, among others, should have been of interest to blacks: "Is Welfare a Right or a Privilege," "Who Will Pay for Higher Education in the Seventies," "Will Stronger Gun Controls Deter Crime," "Does the Consumer Need Government Protection," "Dissent and the Law," "Voting Information," "Where is the Line Drawn Between Individual Rights and Rights of Society," "How Will the Draft Lottery Be Implemented," and "Drugs: Use, Effects and Methods of Treatment." In addition, the licensees argue that "The Judge" is a series which is legitimately classified as programming to serve public needs and interests: actual case histories of violations of law and their disposition are presented; advice for the program is provided by personnel from the Franklin County Court of Domestic Relations; and the program informs the audience about available public service agencies, including Franklin County Children's  [*732]  Services, Aid to Dependent Children, Ohio Youth Commission, and Juvenile Detention Center.

36.  In their reply to the licensees' response, petitioners argue that even if the nine "Columbus Town Meeting" and "Issues" programs are considered to be of "special significance" to the black community, the total of 16 programs over a three-year period is manifestly inadequate.  Moreover, petitioners claim that the programming listed by the licensee was not of "special significance" to blacks; rather, it was only programming of general interest to the total community.  Hence, state petitioners, "the charge that WBNS has not ferreted out the particular needs and problems of the significant Black community and broadcast programming geared toward dealing with those specific problems remains unchallenged." Further, the fact that the WBNS-TV cites only one editorial which dealt with problems of the black community "is indicative of WBNS's lack of sensitivity and total unwillingness to serve the interests of Columbus, Ohio."

37.  In addition to raising complaints about the stations' overall programming, petitioners criticize certain specific aspects of the licensees' performance.  For instance, after citing the fact that unemployment and underemployment rates for blacks are higher than those for whites, they state that WBNS-TV only presents one weekly Saturday afternoon program concerning employment opportunities, while WBNS and WBNS-FM only broadcast "irregular spot announcements regarding employment"; that both the TV and radio presentations are misleading and uninformative in that "[no] information is given regarding the qualifications for the jobs, the general location of the jobs or the minimum age"; [little] information is given regarding range of pay, usually only the highest rate of pay is mentioned"; and "[on] the job training, Manpower Development Training and apprenticeship programs are seldom mentioned." Petitioners contends that at least one daily employment program is necessary for the Columbus area.  In their opposition the licensees characterize these allegations concerning "The Job Program" as unwarranted.  Mr. Charles White, the host of this program, avers that the program is a cooperative effort of WBNS-TV and the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services; that qualifications for specific jobs are broadcast as received from the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services; and that, because the program is designed for the disadvantaged with little education, the emphasis is placed on jobs requiring few or no qualifications.  The licensees admit that no information is given concerning the general location of a job, stating that Ohio Bureau of Employment Services, which provides Mr. White with all his information, adheres to a policy of not revealing the employers who offer the jobs.  The policy enables the Bureau to conduct a preliminary interview.  Further, licensees state that relevant information concerning range of pay is broadcast by Mr. White; that usually the minimum starting salary is reported; and that he never broadcasts only the highest rate of pay.  The licensees also state that on-the-job training, Manpower Development Training, and apprenticeship programs are frequently mentioned on both WBNS-TV and WBNS.  In addition to the spot announcements concerning employment opportunities,  [*733]  WBNS Radio broadcasts a program from 8:15-8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday entitled "What's Happening/Need a Job?" Finally, the licensees state their intention to increase the amount of programming devoted to employment opportunities.  Petitioners, in reply, contend that the licensees' intention "to upgrade its performance in this area in the coming license period" constitutes an implicit admission of the stations' "deficiencies during the past period."

38.  Next, petitioners find fault with the music presented by the AM and FM stations.  They state that from May 3 through June 3, 1970, they surveyed the "major portions of the Black community and the Ohio State University area"; that the results of the survey indicated that "WBNS-AM very rarely aired Black performers, especially Black males, and that WBNS-FM never played any contemporary Black performers except of [sic] established, and establishment artists like Louis Armstrong, the Mills Brothers, or the late Nat King Cole." Petitioners also state that, as part of this survey, individuals were asked to name performers whose records they would enjoy hearing; that a tape was made based on the preferences expressed; that the tape was delivered to the WBNS-FM program director, who assured petitioners that station personnel "would listen to the tape and play those numbers which would best fit WBNS' overall format." Petitioners claim that they monitored WBNS and WBNS-FM for the next two weeks and determined that, while "absolutely no contemporary Black artists were played... white performers singing numbers made popular by blacks and white bands doing black orchestrations were broadcast." Subsequently, in response to an inquiry by Mr. Tony Rocciano, one of petitioners' representatives, the program director explained that the music submitted did not suit the stations' formats.  Further, Mr. Rocciano states that one of the station's employees told him that the WBNS management believes that "Black musicians and singers have no place on a 'good music station.'"

39.  The licensees, in opposition, state that WBNS-FM has recently broadcast the recordings of several of the artists whose works were included in the petitioners' tape, as well as presenting music recorded by other black performers.  Furthermore, according to the licensees, the race of an artist is not a factor in the selection; that WBNS stations select performers on the basis of "artistic merit and consistency with an established format." Finally, the licensees argue that WBNS stations do broadcast music by black artists other than those whom the petitioners characterize as "establishment artists." In support of this claim the licensees submit a chart (Exhibit No. 14) showing the names of artists, the race of the artist (if known), and the total number of times the tapes which include that artist were played from May 1 through September 5, 1970.

40.  Petitioners, in reply, point to the chart submitted by the licensees and assert that during the "sample period, only 7% (598 out of 7048) of the numbers played featured Black artists," and that of this 7 per cent, "60% are those that would be classified as 'super stars.'" It is argued that in order for a black performer's records to be presented he or she "must gain super stardom" while a white artist need not  [*734]  possess such qualifications.  Petitioners also maintain that "there is a conscious policy of excluding Blacks from the WBNS format." As evidence of this policy, petitioners allege that Mr. William H. Hamilton, a disc jockey, admitted in a telephone conversation that "certain records were removed from their library so they could not be accidentally aired." With regard to this whole issue, petitioners state that they do "not contend that a license should be lost because of differences over particular artists." However, petitioners maintain that this exchange is representative of an overall pattern of exclusion of blacks from the station operations and indicates the difficulties encountered in attempting to bring about even minor changes at the stations.  In response, the licensee argues that the fact that 60 per cent of the black selections are performed by black "super stars" raises no issue since "[a] similarly high proportion of the selections of any group would feature super stars.  Super stars are super stars because the public enjoys their music.  Accordingly, radio stations play a high proportion of their music." The licensees also deny that blacks are excluded from programming.

41.  Petitioners next contend that the failure to present programming relevant to the black community is also evident in the licensees' news coverage.  In general, allegations are made pertaining to distortion, failure to cover news in the black community by dealing with "credible" news sources, and a deliberate attempt to limit the amount of black-oriented news coverage.  Petitions cite by way of example an incident in February 1970 in which a black youth was shot to death by a policeman while allegedly fleeing the scene of a crime.  Petitioners maintain that this incident caused a "great commotion" in the black community in view of recent shootings of blacks by the police.  Petitioners state that a new organization, The Committee, was formed which gained solid support from the black community.  Petitioners allege, however, that the news media still "tried to project a divided Black community" and that WBNS was a contributor to this false impression.  In support of this claim petitioners point to a news report on WBNS-TV in February 1970, in which a statement was quoted from one individual while the picture of another individual was shown, and the individual quoted was identified as a spokesman for an organization which he did not represent.  Although the NAACP subsequently notified the licensees of this error, petitioners allege that no corrective action was taken.  Petitioners also note by way of example that during this same time period members of The Committee were asked to appear on a half-hour special on WBNS-TV to discuss the shooting referred to above, other recent shootings of blacks, and the grievances which were presented to the Columbus City Council.  The purpose of this special was to inform the entire Columbus community of the crisis in the black community.  Petitioners allege however that members of the media attempted to discredit the credentials of the members of The Committee by questioning their credentials as representatives of the black community.  Petitioners also maintain that The Committee was "deliberately prevented from describing the events from their point of view over the airwaves", and "... the so-called  [*735]  television discussion was a clear attempt to conceal and discredit the views of the Black community from the WBNS audience".

42.  As a further example of the licensees' failure to cover news in the black community petitioners point to a press conference called by Mrs. Marian Craig, the "acknowledged spokesman for the NAACP in matters relating to education," to announce developments in a school busing crisis.  Petitioners contend that because Mrs. Craig is not the head of the NAACP, her authority and competence were questioned, and that neither she nor her remarks were accorded the proper respect.  Further, in reporting the press conference, WBNS-TV's announcers merely summarized Mrs. Craig's remarks and then devoted a longer segment, including a filmed interview, to the statement of an opposition spokesman.  It is petitioners' belief that this is indicative of the licensees' pattern of presenting only a "short segment or summary of the position of the Black community." Petitioners also rely on the affidavit of a former WBNS-TV cameraman who states that he was criticized by management for using "too much film dealing with the attitudes, views, and complaints of black people."

43.  In its opposition, the licensees take issue with the foregoing allegations and contest the factual claims of the petitioners.  The licensees explain the mis-identification incident as a mistake which occurred due to a last minute programming change.  The licensees maintain that the mistake was corrected the next day by broadcast of the interview with the name correctly superimposed, and that the person interviewed stated that no other corrective action was necessary.  With regard to the WBNS-TV half-hour special on which members of The Committee appeared, the licensees maintain that the representatives of The Committee presented their opening statement and responded to questions without interruptions.  A breakdown of the program by the licensees shows that The Committee's opening statement and responses to questions consumed over 17 minutes, while the reporter's questions consumed less than 7 minutes.  The licensees also state that of 67 questions asked by reporters, 26 pertained to the identity of The Committee spokesmen and whom they represented.  The licensees state that such background inquiry was necessary because no biographical data was submitted by The Committee.  Furthermore, concerning Mrs. Craig's press conference, the licensees, by affidavit of the reporter who covered the news conference, deny that she was treated in a disrespectful manner.  According to the licensees, the reporter arrived at NAACP headquarters without knowledge of who the spokesman would be, and, as a routine matter, asked questions in order to determine the correct name and official title of the spokesman.  The licensees deny the allegation of disproportionate coverage of the black community.  The policy of the News Director of WBNS-TV in this regard is stated to be as follows: "Whenever anyone or any organization is accused or attacked in a film interview, we will make every effort in fairness to afford time to the named party to replay at the same time, on the same program, if possible...  In cases of this kind, all replies are kept as nearly as technically possible to the same length of time as the original statement." Petitioners, in their reply, maintain that the videotape  [*736]  submitted by the licensees is evidence of the difference in treatment accorded The Committee and the Fraternal Order of Police on the same issue.  The petitioners state that "The former [i.e., The Committee] was treated hostilely, negatively, and with suspicion, [while] [the] police, by contrast, were treated with a sense of reverence." Petitioners reiterate their contention that the newsmen who interviewed The Committee over-emphasized their inquiry into the credentials of the black spokesmen, stating that "only 60% of the program was devoted to substantive issues." Petitioners maintain that the newsmen's lack of familiarity with the spokesmen "indicates the licensees' lack of contact with the Black community." Finally petitioners, as further evidence of the licensees' alleged failure to provide adequate news coverage of blacks, submit an affidavit from Reverend Percy A. Carter, Jr., who states that the local media did not cover the fire bombing of his home until after he had talked with an important community official.  In response to this last point, the licensees contend, by affidavit of the station's news director, that WBNS-TV learned of the event on the morning it occurred; that a news team was assigned to cover the story; that "[an] unusually long film story concerning the event and interviews of Rev. Carter and two neighbors was presented on the 6:00 p.m. news, the day of the bombing"; that the 6:00 p.m. newscast is the first one of the day to use film shot that same day; that a shorter version of the story was presented at 11:00 p.m:, and that the station was not contacted prior to these newscasts by either Rev. Carter or a "community official."


Discrimination against blacks in programming presentations

44.  Petitioners next aver that the licensees have consciously discriminated against blacks in various program presentations.  By way of illustration, petitioners point out that the term "niggers" was used by a WBNS sportscaster during coverage in 1967 of a protest by black athletes at Ohio State University.  Petitioners state that this sportscaster continues to be employed at WBNS, and has in fact been promoted despite his racist attitude.  Petitioners also contend that WBNS has also shown its racist attitude in the use of other terms when referring to blacks.  Petitioners state, for example, that "[when] Black youths are involved in illegal acts, they are 'Black felons' or 'a mob of blacks' [whereas] white youths tend to be 'juvenile vandals';" that, "Black activists are always 'so called' or 'alleged' leaders representing the 'militant minority' [but]... are never spokesmen for legitimate grievances." In opposition, the licensees maintain that news department policy is not to identify anyone by race, except as part of an official police description of a wanted suspect or when an individual or organization desires that specific identity.  The licensees also deny the use of any racial slurs such as "Black felons" or "a mob of Blacks." As for the word "militant", the licensees state their belief that many blacks consider this reference a compliment, and no derogatory use of the word has occurred.  Further, the licensees maintain that since 1934 there has been a firm policy against the use of terms implying racial or ethnic slurs.  Concerning the incident noted above, the sportscaster  [*737]  involved states that, to the best of his recollection, the incident referred to occurred in 1965 and concerned a black football player at Southern Methodist University.  Further, the sportscaster states that he knew the use of such a racial slur was contrary to station policy, and on a subsequent broadcast shortly thereafter apologized for the remark.  In reply, however, petitioners point to the lack of any evidence in support of this alleged apology.  Petitioners also complain about one of the licensees' news announcers, Mr. Chester S. Long, who, they claim "is the grand master of the art of selecting euphemisms for the word 'nigger,'" and who, through the use of facial expressions and "offensive delivery," demeans black people.

45.  Also, for the first time in their reply, petitioners cite another example of racial discrimination, as allegedly practiced by Mr. Bill Hamilton, an announcer on WBNS and WBNS-FM.  Petitioners contend that their monitoring of WBNS has disclosed that Mr. Hamilton has established a definite time slot for the airing of a token number of black artists; that this time slot is usually just prior to the news, thus assuring that the "Black record" is cut short.  Also it is alleged that Mr. Hamilton, in one instance, made derogatory remarks toward blacks in the form of a word game used as part of his comments after a "Black record" was aired.  In their response, the licensees deny that Mr. Long has, in the presentation of the news, demeaned blacks.  Mr. Long, by affidavit, denies the petitioners' allegations.  The licensees also deny that black artists are relegated to any particular time slot.  In this connection, the licensees submit an analysis of the tapes from Mr. Hamilton's show for the month of August 1970 which, licensees maintain, show that of 132 records played immediately preceding the fadeout for news, only eight were black artists.  Mr. Hamilton, in an affidavit, also denies any use of racial slurs and indicates that dialogue used by him after playing records is usually based on the lyrics involved.  With regard to the word game incident, the licensees contend that "[no] rational mind could perceive what happened as a racial slur."

Programming for the Columbus community

46.  Petitioners recites several current problems confronting the Columbus area such as racial tensions and campus disruptions, and questions how WBNS-TV can be committed to coverage of public affairs while proposing a 20% decrease in news and public affairs programming.  Petitioners note that similar reductions are proposed for WBNS and WBNS-FM.  The past and proposed programming of WBNS-TV is set forth by petitioners as follows:

[In percent]








Public affairs



All other programs, exclusive of entertainment and sports




47.  Petitioners state that it is incumbent upon the licensees to affirmatively justify these proposed reductions.  The licensees, in their opposition,  [*738]  stress that these figures represent the "minimum amount of time the applicant proposes to devote normally each week to the program types listed," and that it is their expectation that actual programming in these categories will be approximately the same as that presented during the past license period.

48.  Pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, a broadcast licensee is required to serve the public interest.  To do so, he must ascertain the needs and interests of his community and then present programming to meet those needs and interests.  When he comes to the Commission for renewal of his license, he must show (a) that his programming has served his community during the past license term; (b) that he has recently ascertained the problems of his community; and (c) that he proposes programming to meet those problems.  In determining whether or not to grant the licensee's application, the Commission will evaluate the reasonableness and good faith of the licensee's efforts to fulfill these obligations.  Accordingly, with respect to past and proposed performance, we will not condition action on a renewal application upon a subjective determination of what is or is not a good program; rather, our decision must be based on an analysis of the station's overall programming performance.  Therefore, in order to make a prima facie case for denial of a renewal application, petitioners must submit specific allegations of fact which, if true, would establish that the licensee's overall past programming could not reasonably have met the needs and interests of the people within his service area, including the black community, and/or that his proposed programming is clearly inadequate to meet those needs and interests.

49.  In reviewing a licensee's programming, the Commission recognizes that a large measure of discretion is vested in the licensee.  He must determine which problems merit treatment by his station, how much time should be devoted to each problem, and when to present the programming geared to meet those problems.  In determining which problems to serve, he may consider the particular format of the station, the composition of his audience, and the programming offered by other stations in the community.  Further, no quantitative standards have been set to govern the coverage of a particular issue or problem.  Rather, we have recognized that the licensee may be faced with conflicting and competing needs of various groups within his service area.  It is his responsibility to determine the appropriate response.  "[He] may not flatly ignore a strongly expressed need; on the other hand, there is no requirement that a station devote twenty per cent of its broadcast time to meet the need expressed by twenty per cent of its viewing public." Stone v. F.C.C. D.C. Cir. Case No. 71-1166, Slip op. at 18-19 (June 30, 1972).  Further, when determining the amount of programming presented to serve a particular group's needs (here the black community's), the Commission will not necessarily ignore a program which is devoted to a problem which concerns Columbus residents in general, rather than blacks in particular, for we have stated that

many types of programming cannot be broken down into that for black people and that for others.  Were the Commission to require such a breakdown of programming according to the racial composition of the city of license, we should  [*739]  effectively be prohibiting the broadcast of network and other nationally presented programming.  Without addressing ourselves to the legality of such a requirement, it is sufficient to say that such 'separate programming' is not feasible.  See also our discussion of this matter in Capitol Broadcasting Co., 28 FCC 1135 (1965).


 The Evening Star Broadcasting Company (WMAL), 27 FCC 2d 316, 332 (1971), aff'd sub nom Stone v. F.C.C., supra.  Finally, questions will not be raised about the scheduling of programs to meet community problems absent a showing that the licensee could not reasonably expect that the broadcasts will be effective.  While it is true that they have an obligation to schedule some informational programming for primetime hours,


... licensees have discretion to schedule this type of programming in other hours when it may face less competition from the more broad-appeal entertainment programming available during [prime time].  Hence, the Commission has consistently called upon broadcasters to exercise their prudent judgment in determining the problems of the communities they are licensed to serve, and the amount, kind and time-periods during which non-entertainment programming should be presented to provide for those problems.

 Time-Life Broadcast, Inc., 33 FCC 2d 1081, 1092 (1972).

50.  In light of the foregoing considerations, we evaluate the past programming of the licensees.  In each instance it should be remembered that the Commission will not second-guess the licensees' decisions unless they appear to have been unreasonable.

51.  WBNS-TV.  Several of the public affairs series dealing with issues of importance to the residents of Columbus have been described above.  In addition, the licensee's renewal application provides a detailed description of typical and illustrative programs and program series broadcast during the past license term which served public needs and interest (Exhibits Nos. 8, 9, 11 and 11-A).  While we do not find it necessary to recite all this information here, a list of some of the topics covered by these programs should prove helpful: the Middle East; welfare, refuse disposal; school bond issues; Vietnam; higher education; auto insurance; Social Security; collective bargaining by public employees; water pollution; gun control; Columbus Model City Program, consumer protection; local elections; mass transportation; juvenile delinquency; prison reform; taxes; birth control; law enforcement; Nigerian-Biafran War; obscenity; sex education; civil rights; housing; drug abuse; air pollution; and mental health.  Among the regular public affairs programs presented by the station are the following: "Face the Nation"; "Columbus Town Meeting"; "Gleba Report"; "60 Minutes"; "The Judge"; "Man from Cosi"; "Aware"; "The Job Program"; "School Scene"; and "Urban League Presents." The station has also presented special programs, both locally and network produced, and "mini-documentaries" in order to meet particular needs and interests.

52.  With regard to petitioners' concern about programming specifically directed to blacks, we note that the station has presented "Americans from Africa" and "Urban League Presents." Among the topics discussed on the latter series were the following: model cities; police-community relations; the N.A.A.C.P:, law enforcement,  [*740]  students' rights; Afro-Am; the Columbus Public School System; and welfare (three programs).  Further, as mentioned above, the station has televised "specials" and individual programs from other series which were devoted to matters directly affecting the black community.  We also note that these programs have been broadcast at various times throughout the week.

53.  WBNS.  Again, several of the station's public affairs programs have been described above.  Also, the licensee's renewal application provides a detailed description of typical and illustrative programs and program series broadcast during the past license term which served public needs and interests (Exhibit No. 9).  Many of the same topics covered by the programs carried on WBNS-TV were also discussed on the AM's broadcasts.  Further, with regard to petitioners' interest in programming specifically directed to blacks, we note that the licensee presents "Lighthouse" each week, along with the network produced "Minority Report."

54.  WBNS-FM.  The licensee states that this station provides a stereo musical broadcasting service, including presentation of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.  While the station's renewal application indicates that the licensee relied primarily on news and public service announcements to meet community needs, it is stated that the station has included certain public affairs which were broadcast by the AM station -- "Ross Reports," "Columbus Town Meeting," "The Issue," "Urban Education Coalition Report," and "Lighthouse." Accordingly, the licensee's analysis of the programming broadcast from February 1 through February 28, 1970, discloses that 1.67 percent of the station's total time on air was devoted to public affairs programs.  Further, it is stated that the FM station presented these programs in time periods other than those during which the original (AM) presentations were broadcast, thereby increasing the size of the potential audience for these series.  With regard to news programming, the licensee states that during certain periods of time the AM's programming is duplicating and that the station relies on the AM news staff.  It is also noted that on July 29, 1969, WBNS-FM added to its schedule the American Broadcast Company FM Network News, and, on January 12, 1970, incorporated a daily local-regional news summary which is presented at 6:15 p.m., Monday through Friday.

55.  On the basis of the foregoing, we conclude that the licensees' overall programming service has adequately met the needs and interests of the Columbus area.  In reaching this determination, we find that the licensees have made reasonable efforts to serve the black residents of the service area.  Additionally, we have before us no information to substantiate petitioners' general allegations regarding the presence and characterization of blacks in the stations' programming and commercials.  On the basis of the unrefuted information provided by the licensees with regard to the programs presented during the past license term, we cannot agree that there exists an "almost complete absence of Blacks" from WBNS programming.  Furthermore, petitioners have failed "to indicate whether non-blacks  [*741]  are accorded different, more positive treatment" than whites.  Stone v. F.C.C., supra, Slip op. at 20.

56.  With reference to the specific programming issues raised by petitioners, we similarly find that no hearing is warranted.  We find that the licensees have adequately rebutted the allegations made regarding the stations' employment programming.  As noted above, the licensees have wide discretion to determine when and how a particular problem should be met.  We do not find that WBNS's decision not to present a daily employment program constitutes an abuse of that discretion; the stations have reasonably addressed the problem with the programming outlined above.  Also, we find no merit to petitioners' argument concerning the licensees' intention to increase the stations' employment programming.  Were we to treat a proposed programming change as an admission of past failure in the absence of evidence to indicate that the broadcaster had neglected the problem, we would effectively deter the improvement of broadcast programming.

57.  As to the petitioners' complaints about the radio stations' musical formats, we note that the Commission's review of a renewal applicant's performance focuses on the informational programming which he has offered to meet community problems.  We have disdained consideration of entertainment formats in this context.  In doing so, we have not ignored the fact that most radio stations follow specialized formats which, of necessity, do not each appeal to all segments of the community; that each station's entertainment presentations do not reflect all the various "life styles" that exist within the service area.  Hence, we note that of the remaining 10 commercial stations in Columbus (five AM and five FM) five offer substantial schedules of soul, rock, underground and/or jazz, three offer country and western, and two provide background music.  Nevertheless, we have framed our ascertainment and programming requirements only in terms of community problems.  See Stone v. F.C.C., supra, at 20, N. 44.  Accordingly, we will not at this time embark on a case-by-case evaluation of entertainment formats.  Further, we find that the licensee has successfully rebutted the petitioners' allegations of discrimination by demonstrating that the records of black performers whose styles are consistent with the stations' formats are presented.

58.  We are also of the view that petitioners have raised no question of fact regarding the licensees' coverage of news events.  The licensees, in our opinion, successfully rebutted the allegation that they distorted news by failure to deal with "credible" news sources, and that they attempt to limit the amount of black oriented news coverage.  As previously noted, a licensee has wide discretion in the are of programming, and there has been no showing that this discretion has been abused.  The pleadings established that the licensees did, in fact, present news coverage of events deemed of importance by petitioners.  Further, with regard to petitioners' allegations concerning the nature and extent of this coverage, as we stated in Universal Communications Corporation, FCC 71-234 (March 3, 1971) "a pattern of disagreements is not a pattern of distortion." In this latter regard, we have held that  [*742]  Commission action is not warranted absent extrinsic evidence of deliberate distortion of the news; that the government should not interfere with the free exercise of journalistic judgment; and that the Commission is not the national arbiter of the truth.  In re Complaints Concerning CBS Program, Hunger in America, 20 FCC 2d 143 (1969). Similarly, to determine whether questions are relevant to the most important issues requires a subjective judgment.  Just as this Commission will not decide what is or is not a good program, we will not interfere with the exercise of the licensee's news judgment in order to decide what is or is not an appropriate line of questioning.

59.  As to the allegation that the licensees have discriminated against blacks, petitioners cite the sportscaster's use of the word "nigger," the conduct of the radio disc jockey, and the "offensive delivery" of a newsman.  We cannot agree that these matters should be explored in the hearing process.  The use of the racial slur appears to have been an isolated incident and an apology was apparently forthcoming; petitioners have presented no substantiation of their claim that "Black records" are relegated to specific time slots; nor have they convinced us that the "word game" mentioned above (par. 45) was racially motivated; and this Commission cannot, without some evidence of a pattern of different treatment, designate a renewal application for hearing on a discrimination issue on the basis of our subjective judgment of a newscaster's "delivery."

60.  Petitioners also complain about the licensees' proposed programming, stating that no justification has been offered for the reduction in the amount of informational programming to be presented during the coming license term.  Initially, it is observed that Question 14 of Section VI-A and Question 12 of Section VI-B of FCC Form 303 request renewal applicants to state the minimum amount of time they propose to devote normally each week to the programming categories of News, Public Affairs, and All other programs, exclusive of Entertainment and Sports.  In 1967 licensees proposed to devote the following amounts of time to these programming categories:

[In percent]










Public affairs


n1 2.5


All other






n1 Public service announcements.


The pending renewal applications for WBNS-AM-FM-TV disclose that licensees propose to devote the following minimum amounts of time to these programming categories normally each week:

[In percent]










Public affairs




All other





 [*743]  Thus, while licensees propose slight reductions in some categories, they also propose slight increases in other categories.  With specific reference to petitioners' allegation, the mere citation of what is deemed to be an insufficient amount of programming in these categories, without any evidence to support the assertion that such performance will fail to serve the public interest, is insufficient to raise a substantial and material question of fact as to whether a station will serve the public interest.  It also appears that petitioners' allegation is based on a comparison of the amount of time licensees propose to devote to these programming categories and the amount of time actually devoted to these programming categories during the past license term.  Again, we note that the license renewal application calls for the minimum amount of time the applicant proposes to devote to these programming categories.  The figures proposed are, of course, not inflexible or fixed.  In this respect, it has been our experience that licensees with often exceed their proposals in some categories and not quite meet their proposals in other categories.  In the absence of substantial variations, no question of promise versus performance will arise.  There is no such question in this proceeding.  Hence, it is observed that WBNS-TV's pending renewal application discloses that the station actually devoted 10.07%, 4.1%, and 12.5%, respectively, to the program categories of News, Public Affairs, and All other programs, exclusive of Entertainment and Sports.  It is also observed that WBNS's pending renewal application discloses that the station devoted 15.23%, 3.74%, and 9.42%, respectively, to these programming categories, and that WBNS-FM's renewal application discloses that the station devoted 4.3% of its broadcast time to News and 9.42% of its broadcast time to All other programming, exclusive of Entertainment and Sports.  Additionally, WBNS-FM broadcast on the average of 271 Public Service Announcements per week; and, as noted in paragraph 54 above, an analysis of WBNS-FM's programming from February 1 through February 28, 1970, discloses that 1.67% of the station's total time on the air was devoted to Public Affairs programming.  We conclude, therefore, that petitioners have also failed to raise a substantial and material question of fact with regard to this aspect of licensees' proposed programming.

61.  Finally, one other matter regarding the stations' programming warrants brief comment.  Each of the parties request that the Commission view certain video tapes submitted by the licensees.  The licensees believe the tapes will serve to substantiate their assertion that the WBNS-TV has reasonably and fairly dealt with the problems faced by the black community; petitioners, on the other hand, maintain that the tapes reveal that blacks have been accorded unfair treatment by the station.  We do not believe that it is necessary to view these tapes.  The record clearly demonstrates that petitioners have failed to establish a substantial and material question of fact concerning the licensees' alleged discriminatory conduct.  Moreover, both the petitioners and licensees are attempting to place this Commission in the role of a censor.  Section 326 of the Communications Act prohibits us from assuming that role.

 [*744]  Employment

62.  On June 4, 1969, the Commission adopted rules providing that licensees must afford equal opportunities in employment and that no person shall be discriminated against in employment because of race, color, religion, national origin or sex.  Nondiscrimination in Broadcast Employment, 18 FCC 2d 240 (1969). Petitioner maintains that licensees discriminate against blacks in their employment practices.  Petitioner notes that WBNS-TV employs 211 persons.  Petitioner states, however, that out of this total only 13, or 6.1 percent, are black.  Petitioner also states that of WBNS-TV's black employees, only three (3) have duties that require them to appear on camera and only one has management responsibilities.

63.  Petitioner also submits that none of WBNS-TV's black employees enjoy a policy making position or a position of upward mobility.  Petitioner states, in this latter connection, that the employment experience of Roosevelt Carter is illustrative.  Petitioner submits that, although Mr. Carter found his work at WBNS-TV satisfying, Mr. Carter left the station when it became clear that he was at the end of a blind alley.  Petitioner also submits that Mr. Carter did not leave WBNS-TV to accept a better position as implied by licensees in a letter dated June 1, 1970, to Otho Ball, but, rather, left the station because a white man with less experience and ability was hired to ultimately assume the post of Day News Editor.  Petitioner further submits that Mr. Carter took a cut in pay when he left WBNS-TV to accept a post with the Metropolitan Area Church.  Finally, petitioner submits that it can find no evidence that licensees actively recruit black personnel.

64.  In opposition, licensees maintain that they do not discriminate against black applicants and employees.  Licensees note that the WBNS stations, exclusive of custodial personnel, presently employ 15 black persons.  These persons and the positions they occupy are set forth in Exhibit No. 23 of licensees' opposition pleading as follows:


Paul White -- News Department -- Sports Cameraman/on the air talent.

Curt Luckett -- Announcing Staff -- On the air announcing.

Charles G.  Hammond -- Talent Staff -- Co-Host: THE URBAN LEAGUE PRESENTS.

Ralph Robinson -- Film Editing -- Film Editor.

Nathaniel Tailiver -- Floor Director -- Set Up/liason between talent and director.

Karlos Fulton -- Follor Director -- Set Up/liaison between talent and director.

Jerome Pradler -- Receptionist -- PBX Operator/Receptionist.

Sandra Byers -- Film Editing -- Film Editor.

Jeffrey Thompson -- Receptionist -- PBX Operator/Receptionist.

Phyllis Wright -- Computer -- Former Head of Traffic Department, Now Computer Coordinator.

Charles White -- Public Affairs Talent -- Public Affairs/Talent.


Robert Jeffrey -- News Department -- Sports Cameraman/On the Air FM newscast.

Sandra Grant -- Record Department -- Keeping Record Catalogue.

Robert Pardon -- Receptionist/Announcer -- PBX/Receptionist/Night Time Announcer.

Jackie Thomas -- Receptionsit -- PBX/Receptionist.

 [*745]  65.  Licensees also submit as Exhibit No. 24 of their opposition pleading information pertaining to the establishment and operation of the Broadcast Skills Bank.  This Bank concerns itself with recruitment of minority persons for broadcasting, their placement and employment within the industry -- full or part-time, their training -- where needed, and their advancement within the industry.  Licensees note that through the Broadcast Skills Bank 27 blacks have been placed in broadcasting, eight of whom have been employed by the WBNS stations.  Licensees also submit as Exhibit No. 25 of their opposition pleading information pertaining to their initial program to insure equal employment opportunities for minorities.

66.  Concerning Mr. Carter, licensees note that he was hired in May 1964 as a reporter-cameraman and left the station in April 1967.  Licensees states that, at the time of his departure, Mr. Carter's salary was $7,048.00 per year (Opposition, Exhibit 26-A), and that his stating salary with the Metropolitan Area Church Board was $9,226.89 per year (Opposition, Exhibit 27).  Licensees also deny that Mr. Carter was discriminated against.  Licensees submit, in support of their position, a letter written by Mr. Carter to WBNS-TV just prior to his departure (Opposition, Exhibit 29).  Licensees also submit as Exhibits 16 and 28 affidavits of Thomas W. Dorsey, News Director at WBNS-TV, and Stanley Vingle, Documentary Photographer at WBNS-TV, which relate to Mr. Carter's job performance and qualifications.

67.  In reply, petitioner restates its charge that licensees employ an insignificant number of blacks, particularly in positions of responsibility.  Petitioner also states that the Broadcast Skills Bank is a sham designed to gloss over the licensees failure to actively recruit blacks.  Petitioner further submits that the facts surrounding Mr. Carter's departure are in dispute.  In this respect, petitioner submits an affidavit executed by Carter wherein he maintains that the position of day editor did not require the skills in which he was allegedly deficient, that the person chosen for the position did not have the requisite skills, and that the deficiencies in his work were never mentioned to him while employed by WBNS-TV.

68.  Licensees, in their response to petitioner's reply, state that, as of December 7, 1970, twenty-five of the WBNS stations' 183 fulltime employees, or 13.7 per cent, were black; that during the past license term approximately 20 per cent of new employees hired were black; that these employees hold a wide range of jobs, and that the increase in black employees is largely attributable to the Broadcast Skills Bank.  With further record to Mr. Carter, licensees submit that his affidavit reflects a misunderstanding of his responsibilities while employed by WBNS-TV.  In this respect, licensees submit another affidavit of Mr. Dorsey wherein the job responsibilities of a news editor are outlined.

69.  We have stated that in order to challenge a licensee's equal employment opportunity program or show non-compliance with the Commission's rules, a petitioner must demonstrate with some degree of specificity that the licensee's employment policies and practices contain barriers to equal employment opportunity or that the licensee has  [*746]  in fact discriminated against applicants and employees because of race, color, religion, national origin or sex.  Time-Life Broadcast, Inc., 33 FCC 2d 1050, 1059 (1972). We conclude, based upon our review of the pleadings herein, briefly summarized above, that petitioner has failed to establish with the degree of specificity necessary facts sufficient to show that licensees have discriminated against black applicants and employees.

70.  Petitioner relies, in part, upon statistical data to support its charge of employment discrimination.  We have at no time indicated that fully proportional employment of minorities is called for by our rules.  Fair employment practices will not necessarily result in the employment of any minority group in direct proportion to its numbers in the community.  Nondiscrimination in Employment Practices of Broadcast Licensees, 23 FCC 2d 430 (1970). We have also stated that simply indicating the number of minorities employed, without showing specific instances of discrimination or a conscious policy of exclusion, is insufficient to require an evidentiary hearing to explore the licensee's employment policies and practices.  The Evening Star Broadcasting Company (WMAL), 27 FCC 2d 316 (1971), aff'd sub nom. Chuck Stone v. Federal Communications Commission, D.C. Cir., Case No. 71-1166, Slip Opinion, June 30, 1972, rehearing denied September 1, 1972.  While and extremely low rate of minority employment may raise questions requiring appropriate administrative inquiry, Chuck Stone v. Federal Communications Commission, supra, the facts herein disclose that the WBNS stations do employ minority personnel in responsible positions and that the percentage of such employees approaches the number of minorities in the Columbus metropolitan area.

71.  Initially, we note that the 1970 census, General Population Characteristics, PC(1)-B Series (October 1971), discloses that, while 18.5 per cent of the Columbus population is black, 12.5 per cent of Franklin County is black and 11.6 per cent of the Columbus Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area is black.  At the time the pleadings herein were filed the WBNS stations employed 15 blacks in other than custodial positions.  The represents 8.3 per cent of their total workforce.  We also find noteworthy information revealed in the 1971 and 1972 annual statistical profile reports (FCC Form 395) for the WBNS stations.  These reports disclose that the WBNS stations employed 18 minority persons in 1971 out of a total workforce of 188 persons, and that in 1972 the stations employed 17 minority persons out of a total workforce of 170 persons.  Thus, minority persons represented 10 per cent of the licensees total full-time workforce in both 1971 and 1972.  We conclude, therefore, that the composition of the WBNS stations' minority staff falls within a range of reasonableness when compared to the percentage of minorities in the stations' service areas.

72.  We also respectfully disagree with petitioner's conclusions regarding licensees effort to recruit minority personnel.  In support of this charge, petitioner merely offers general criticisms of the Broadcast Skills Bank.  Licensees, however, have submitted information disclosing that approximately 20 per cent of new employees hired  [*747]  during the past license term were minorities and, further, that the increase in minority employees is largely attributable to the Broadcast Skills Bank.  We also conclude, therefore, that the licensees are making reasonable and good faith efforts to recruit minority personnel.

73.  Finally, we also respectfully disagree with petitioner's allegation regarding Mr. Carter.  We have stated that not every complaint of an isolated action, even if substantial, will warrant deferring a renewal or designating a renewal application for hearing.  Rather, action will be warranted only where we find a pattern of substantial failure to accord equal employment opportunities.  Non-Discrimination in the Employment Practices of Broadcast Licensees, 18 FCC 2d 240, 241-2 (1969). Accordingly, even if accepted as true, the allegations related to Mr. Carter's employment status with WBNS-TV, standing alone, does not establish a pattern of discrimination, particularly when viewed in light of the efforts made by licensees to recruit minority personnel.  Nor has the petitioner submitted any facts to indicate that the licensees' employment practices contain artificial barriers to equal employment opportunities.  We conclude, therefore, that no further action is warranted on this aspect of the petition to deny.

Media control -- anticompetitive practices

74.  Petitioner maintains that the principals of the licensees enjoy a monopolistic position in the Columbus media market in contravention of the Communications Act.  Petitioner also maintains that the licensees have engaged in certain anti-competitive practices.  Petitioner submits, therefore, that the above-captioned applications must be designated for hearing.  Again, we respectfully disagree.

75.  Petitioner, in support of its position, initially refers to the broadcast and non-broadcast holdings of the licensees' principals.  Hence, petitioner notes that licensees' principals own not only the WBNS stations, but also, the Bancohio Corporation, a bank holding company that extends credit to commercial enterprises and private borrowers.  Petitioner notes further that licensees' principals own and control the Dispatch Publishing Company, publisher of two daily newspapers and a Sunday newspaper in Columbus.

76.  Licensees, in opposition, refer to the existence of numerous other print and broadcast media in the Columbus area.  Hence, licensees note that Columbus has three VHF television stations and one UHF educational television station.  Licensees also note that there is presently pending before the Commission application for a commercial UHF television station for Columbus.  Licensees note further that there are 15 AM or FM stations in Columbus and 11 other AM or FM stations within a 25 mile radius of Columbus.

77.  Concerning the print media, licensees note that Columbus has two daily newspapers, The Columbus Dispatch, owned by licensees, and The Columbus Citizen Journal, owned by Scripps-Howard.  Licensees also note that within Columbus and its suburbs there are 14 other neighborhood weeklies circulating from 3,200 to 34,000 copies each publication date.  Licensees go on the refer to other newspapers in the Columbus area and then conclude that, of the diverse media in the  [*748]  area, licensees' principals own one television station, one AM station, one FM station, and one newspaper.  Licensees state, in this latter connection, that the operation of the WBNS stations are completely independent of the operations of The Columbus Dispatch.

78.  As we have held in the past, absent specific evidence of abuses arising from the multiple ownership of broadcast stations or the common ownership of broadcast facilities and newspapers, any action in this difficult and complex area is more appropriately the subject of a rulemaking proceeding.  Hale v. F.C.C., 425 F. 2d 556, 559-560 (1970); Chuck Stone v. F.C.C., supra; Federation of Citizen Associations -- D.C., 21 FCC 2d 12 (1970). Such a rulemaking proceeding has been issued, and, accordingly, we see no reason on the basis of the foregoing to depart from this practice in the present proceeding.  Petitioner, however, seeks to distinguish this proceeding by citing examples of certain alleged anti-competitive practices by the licensees.  Our review of these alleged instances of abuse leads us to conclude that they are largely conclusions unsupported by specific facts.  We also conclude that the licensees have adequately explained each of the alleged anti-competitive practices.

79 Hence, petitioner submits that The Columbus Dispatch gives licensees' television listings more favorable treatment than those of other Columbus television stations.  Petitioner also implies that The Columbus Dispatch's television listing were changed in a manner "... seemingly... in retribution to Channel 4" after the station broadcast interviews concerning a prospective economic withdrawal of the newspaper by the black community.  No facts are submitted in support of these charges, however.  On the other hand, licensees submit an affidavit of the Executive Director of The Columbus Dispatch wherein the denies petitioner's charges, explains the format for the newspapers' television listings, and submits a copy of that format as carried in the newspaper.

80.  Petitioner also contends that during a program broadcast on WBNS-TV in 1967 the Housing Director of the Urban League criticized bank.  Petitioner asserts that, after the broadcast of the program, licensees attempted to force the Urban League to pay for the program on the ground that it involved a solicitation for support for the mortgage company; that, unable make the Urban League pay for the program, the time slot of the program was changed despite its established constituency at that hour; and that, due to pressure by licensees, the Housing Director was forced to resign his position with the Urban League.  In opposition, licensees first state the Urban League was never asked to pay for the program in question.  Licensees also submit a letter from the Executive Director of the Urban League wherein petitioner's charge regarding the change in the program's time slot are characterized as unfounded.  Concerning the resignation of the Urban League's Housing Director, the Executive Director's letter states in pertinent part:

Secondly, Mr. Cleveland's innuendo to the extent that WBNS Radio could have played a part in his being asked to resign from this agency is untrue, irresponsible  [*749]  and juvenile.  Neither WBNS Radio nor any other outside forces played any part in the operation of the Urban League -- only the Board of Directors of the agency has this role.

81.  Based on the foregoing, we conclude that petitioner has failed to submit with any degree of specificity facts which would disclose an abuse by the licensees' principals of their joint ownership of the WBNS stations and The Columbus Dispatch.


82.  Section 309(d) of the Communications Act provides for the grant of a license renewal application where the Commission finds, after full consideration of all pleadings, that there are no substantial and material questions of fact and that a grant of the application would be consistent with the public interest.  Section 309(d) also provides that where a petition to deny is filed it must contain specific allegations of fact sufficient to show that a grant of the application would be prima facie inconsistent with the public interest.  Where the Commission finds that such a showing has not been made, it may deny the petition.  Accordingly, based upon our review of the above captioned license renewal applications and all the pleadings filed in this proceeding, we find that the Columbus Broadcasting Coalition has failed to raise a substantial and material question of fact which establishes a prima facie case for denial of WBNS-AM-FM-TV's licenses.  We also find that a grant of the above-captioned license renewal applications for Stations WBNS, WBNS-FM and WBNS-TV would serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.

83.  In reaching our conclusions, we are not unaware of the concern being expressed by the Columbus Broadcasting Coalition and other minority groups about the responsiveness of the broadcast media to their problems.  Hence, we note with concern the fact that petitioners herein have filed petitions to deny the license renewal applications of a number of stations located in Columbus, Ohio.  We also note with concern that similar petitions have been filed against many other stations in cities other than Columbus.  The Commission, of course, cannot waive or ignore the pleading standards set forth in Section 309(d) to accommodate petitioners.  Clearly, if members of the public choose to wait until the end of a license term and then petition to deny renewal of license, they must meet the strict requirements of Section 309(d).  This does not mean however that members of the public are left without the means to improve local broadcast service.  We have found that cooperation at the local level is the best and most effective method of resolving local problems and improving local service.  Accordingly, we wish to reaffirm our prior expression of policy approving community-broadcaster discussions throughout the license term.  Obviously, while under an obligation to ascertain and program for community problems, no broadcaster can be aware of everyone's needs all the time.  Therefore, interested citizens who feel a station's performance is inadequate should so advise the broadcaster to provide him the opportunity to consider their ideas suggestions.  Such  [*750]  discussions will, of course, be more effective if conducted through-out the license term and not only at renewal time.  Such was not the case herein.

84.  In view of the foregoing, IT IS ORDERED, That the petition to deny filed by the Columbus Broadcasting Coalition IS DENIED.

85.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, That the above-captioned applications for renewal of licenses for Stations WBNS, WBNS-FM and WBNS-TV, Columbus, Ohio, ARE HEREBY GRANTED.







Here is another chapter in the never-ending saga of how the Federal Communications Commission repeatedly turns its back on the public.  Today, in the face of some very serious challenges, the majority renews the licenses to WBNS-AM-FM and TV, Columbus, Ohio, and dismisses a petition to deny filed by the Columbus Broadcasting Coalition.

Radio Ohio, Inc. holds the license to stations WBNS-AM and FM.  WBNS-TV, Inc., holds the license to WBNS-TV.  The two licensees are under common ownership.  Though a number of important questions are raised concerning these licensee's basic qualifications, I shall focus my discussion on the majority's treatment of only two such issues: discriminatory employment practices and concentration of media control.

First, petitioners charge the licensees with racially discriminatory employment practices.  If true, such a charge would certainly raise very serious questions about the licensees' qualifications.  Naturally, the licensees deny that they have discriminated.  And, as usual, and as always inexplicably, the majority believes the licensees, and notes that petitioners have failed to present enough information to warrant a hearing.

Surprisingly, the licensees themselves have introduced their stations' equal employment reports (FCC form 395).  Those reports indicate a decline in the number of blacks employed by the stations between 1971 and 1972.  Under our current approach to equal employment opportunities, the presence of such a decline would normally demand that we inquire further of the licensees.  See Pennsylvania-Delaware Renewals, 36 FCC 2d 515 (1972). Here, however, the majority does not even acknowledge that the licensees' forms 395 reveal a decline in the number of blacks employed during the past couple of years.

Further, and perhaps even more disturbing, after conceding that petitioners might well have alleged sufficient facts to indicate that WBNS-TV has, indeed, discriminated against at least one black employee, the majority nevertheless refuses to designate that question for hearing.  Apparently, the majority has adopted the peculiar position that in order to merit a hearing on the question of a licensee's employment practices, the complainant must first prove a pattern of  [*751]  discrimination.  Passing the troublesome, and as yet unanswered, question of just how many instances of discrimination are necessary before we have a "pattern," if a petitioner must establish the existence of such a pattern in order to obtain a hearing on the issues, what purpose will be served by the hearing?  In short, the majority demands that in order to get a hearing, the petitioner prove, prior to a hearing, that which can only be proved through a hearing.

In my opinion, the licensees' forms 395, when coupled with the allegations concerning the instance of discrimination to which the majority, itself, refers, constitute the sort of factual allegations which show that the grant of these renewal applications would be prima facie inconsistent with the public interest.  Under Stone v. FCC,     F.2d    , 24 RR 2d 2105 (D.C. Cir. 1972), a hearing is mandated in such circumstances.  Not only does the majority disagree with this conclusion, it also declines completely to investigate further -- even for purposes of possible forfeitures -- the one instance of employment discrimination which it seems to acknowledge.

I would also designate for hearing the question concerning concentration of media control.  Aside from owning two radio stations and one VHF station in Columbus, the licensees' principals own Columbus newspapers.  There is some dispute about the scope of this print media ownership.  Petitioners say the licensees' principals own the Dispatch Publishing Co. which owns two of Columbus' daily papers and a Sunday paper.  The licensees say their principals own one of Columbus' two daily papers.  The majority does not even acknowledge this discrepancy.

The majority notes, further, that it will not make an ad hoc inquiry into a concentration of control issue unless the complainant alleges the existence of abuses arising from such concentration.  See Hale v. FCC, 425 F.2d 556 (D.C. Cir. 1970); see also Application of Chronicle Broadcasting Co., 17 FCC 2d 245 (1969). In the instant case, the petitioner has alleged such abuses.  First, petitioners contend that the licensees' newspaper tends to favor the licensees' TV listings over those of its competitors.  Second, petitioners contend that the licensees' attempted to censor the Urban League's Housing Director when he charged, during a WBNS-TV broadcast, that the licensees' principals were racist.

Amazingly, the majority simply chooses to disbelieve both these charges.  At the very least, the allegations and the subsequent licensee denials have raised questions of fact which cannot possibly be resolved absent a hearing.

I dissent.

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