Federal Commission Orders Hearing on Los Angeles Radio Station Charged with Bias

The Federal Communications Commission today ordered open hearings into charges brought against G.A. Richards, owner of radio station KMPC in Los Angeles by the Radio News Writers Club of Los Angeles and the American Jewish Congress to the effect that he had ordered his news room staff to slant news casts in an anti-Semitic and otherwise biased manner. No date has yet been set for the hearings.

The Radio News Writers Club, early in March, forwarded to the F.C.C. sworn statements of three of its members, former employees at KMPC, and photostatic copies of letters that Richards reportedly addressed to one of them, alleging that Richards had ordered them to “slant” news stories. Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, filed a formal petition with the Commission on March 11 calling for a full investigation and revocation of KMPC ‘S license should the charges prove to be true. The CIO also asked for hearings in the case.

On March 19 the F.C.O. ordered a full investigation of the charges. The investigation also covered two other stations owned by Richards, WGAR in Cleveland and WJR in Detroit. WGAR has been granted two temporary extensions of license “pending outcome of the investigation.”

The Commission, announcing its decision to hold hearings, said that information obtained during the investigation “tending to substantiate the information submitted by the Radio News Club raises substantial questions with respect to the qualifications of the above mentioned licensee and of G.A. Richards, controlling stockholder thereof.” The F.C.C. statement said that the hearings would be held to determine whether further proceedings based on failure of the owner to operate his station “in the public interest” and without bias should be taken against the three stations.

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