NEW YORK (Sep. 5)
A group of leading educators, civil rights authorities and lawyers in a joint memorandum, urged the Federal Communications Commission to keep the hearings against radio stations KMPC (Los Angeles), WJR (Cleveland), and WGAR (Detroit) open and to demand a ruling on the important allegations that these stations frequently distorted news broadcasts to reflect private racial and religious prejudices.
The proceedings against the against the late George A. Richards as principal stockholder and moving spirit of these stations began in February, 1948, when a complaint was filed with the FCC by the Radio News Club of Hollywood, a professional association of newscasters, and the late Dr. Stephen S. Wise, as president of the American Jewish Congress. Richards was accused of deliberately and maliciously distorting news items broadcast over his stations. The evidence introduced in hearings, revealed Richards as “vindictively bigoted.”
Shortly after the conclusion of the hearings, Richards died suddenly in Detroit. James G. Cunningham, the F.C.C. trial examiner, recommended to the Commission that with Richard’s death, the case be declared moot or no longer of any importance, and that the charges against the three stations be dropped. Richards’s heirs there-upon petitioned for what amounts to an automatic renewal of licenses. The joint memorandum filed today takes strong exception to the F.C.C. hearing examiner’s recommendation that there be no decision in the case, and support the F.C.C. General Counsel and the Chief of its Broadcasting Bureau who have formally requested a decision by the Commission on the questions involved.