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1 CONVERSION OF THE FM RESERVED BAND: A HISTORY OF FCC POLICY REGARDING RELIGIOUS APPLICANTS FOR NONCOMMERCIAL EDUCATIONAL LICENSING IN THE FM RESERVED BAND By L AURA DEEN JOHNSON A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010
2 2010 L aura Deen Johnson
3 To Joseph Thomas Deen
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The research and writing of this dissertation introduced me to many kind and helpful people who made it possible for me to complete this project. I want to express my appreciation to Dr. F. Leslie Smith, the chair of my committee and my guide to finding a way to complete this project. His knowledge of media and policy history and his wisdom helped me find a path through the thicket that is known as FCC and FRC history. Special thanks belong to the other members of my supervisory committee including Dr. Bernell Tripp, whose interest and encouragement kept me going; Dr. David Ostroff, whose knowledge of FCC policy and kindness gave me hope; Dr. Julian Pleasants, who taught me how to conduct an oral history interview; and Dr. Kenneth Wald, my guide into the richness and complexity of religion in American political and cultural life. I also wish to thank Dr. Milagros Rivera Sanchez for her encouragement and advice regarding telecommunications policy; Dr. Michael Millender for taking the time to critique my dissertation proposal; and Dr. David Colburn for introducing me to the concept of synthesis in American history and allowing me to take his class. It would not have been possible to research the story without the help of a number of lib rarians and archivists. I appreciate the assistance of the staffs of the University of Florida library system; the librarians at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford; the archivists at the National Archives II at College Park, Maryland, and at the Nat ional Archives Federal Document Repository in Suitland, Maryland; the staff at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York; the staff at the Federal Communications Commission, in particular, Allen Myers; and the staff and arch ivists at the Moody Bible Institute including Bob Neff, Vice President; Phoebe Millis, Administrative Assistant; Joe Cataio, Archivist; and Bruce Everhart, WMBI Station Manager.
5 I must also thank Richard Wiley and Larry Secrest of Wiley, Rein and F ielding; Tom Thomas of the Station Resource Group; Dr. William F. Fore; Stephen Sharp for his invaluable assistance; Margita White; Jerry Fritz; Jeremy Lansman; Florence Bridges; Dr. James Fraser; Dr. Robert Hilliard; Dr. Robert McChesney; and Dr. Chris topher Sterling. Many thanks are due to my friends from the University of Florida for their kind support including Dr. Aleen Ratzlaff, Dr. Naeemah Clark, Dr. Joe Glover, Dr. Andrew Clark, Dr. Kim Lauffer, Mary Giery Smith, Dr. Tony Fargo, and Dr. Judy Robinson. I appreciate the support of Dr. John Wright, Hank Connors, Dr. Julian Williams, Rick Lehner, Dr. Bill McKeen, Dr. Sid Pactor, and especially to Jody Hedge. I also wish to thank my friends at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford especially Dr. Carol Baker and my new friends at SUNY Fredonia, including Dr. Ted Schwalbe, Dr. Linda Brigance, Kay McDonough and in particular Joanne Foeller. And finally, I must express my appreciation to my family, in particular to my mother who listened so pat iently to this journey and to my husband Albert, whose love and support made it pos sible to complete this project.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...............................................................................................................4 ABSTRACT .....................................................................................................................................8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTI ON ..................................................................................................................10 Statement of Purpose ..............................................................................................................14 Literature Review ...................................................................................................................16 Significance of Historical Research ........................................................................................23 Methodology ....................................................................................................................23 Structure of Dissert ation ..................................................................................................26 Definition of Terms .........................................................................................................27 Implications ............................................................................................................................30 2 PUBLIC EDUCATION, RELIGION, AND AMERICAN CULTURE .................................34 3 NOT FORPROFIT BROADCASTING: THE EARLY YEARS ........................................54 Early Educational Radio .........................................................................................................54 Early Radio Regulation ...........................................................................................................54 Early Religious Broadcasts .....................................................................................................57 Early Religious Broadcasters ..................................................................................................58 The Commercial Radio Model ...............................................................................................60 The 1927 Radio Act and the FRC ...........................................................................................61 FRC Statement Relative to Public Interest, Convenience, or Necessity ................................66 The Great Lakes Statement and Propaganda Stations ............................................................67 Role of Government in Early Educational Radio ...................................................................71 Senator Simeon D. Fess Bill ...................................................................................................72 1934 Communications Act .....................................................................................................73 WLWL and Father John Harney .............................................................................................75 Commercial Networks and Religious Broadcasters ...............................................................77 Controversial Radio Ministries ...............................................................................................80 4 JOHN WARD STUDEBAKERS CONTRIBUTIONS TO NCE BROADCASTING .........88 5 FCC DECISIONS AND CASES RELATED TO NCE LICENSING BETWEEN 1938 AND 1980 ................................................................................................118 FCC Decisions and Cases 1938 to 1951 ...............................................................................118 FCC Decisions and Cases 1960 to 1969 ...............................................................................121 FCC Decisions and Cases 1970 to 1980 ...............................................................................133
7 6 MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE .............................................................................................151 WDLM FM ...........................................................................................................................181 Cases Before the FCC ...........................................................................................................182 7 MOOD Y BIBLE INSTITUTE CASE OF 1977 ...................................................................188 8 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS ...................................................................................203 Summary ...............................................................................................................................203 Findings ................................................................................................................................212 Discussion .............................................................................................................................214 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................230 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................246
8 Abstract of Dissertation Pr esented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE CONVERSION OF THE FM RESERVED BAND: A HISTORY OF FCC POLICY REGARDING RELIGIOUS APPLICANTS FOR NONCOMMERCIAL EDUCATIONAL LICENSING IN THE FM RESERVED BAND By Laura Deen Johnson May 2010 Chair: F. Leslie Smith Major: Mass Communication The Noncommercial Educational (NCE) FM band from 87.9 to 91.9 FM is the home of public radio, educational radio, community radio and a select group of noncommercial educational religious radio stations. At the inception of NCE licensing, the FCC intended for the NCE frequencies to be used for educational radio only. Initially, the F ederal Communications Commission (FCC) told religious groups and other social nonprofit organizations that the NCE band was intended for curriculum based educational programming connected to a school system and was not designed for religious broadcasting o r other forms of nonprofit radio. Religious applicants were directed to apply in the commercial band. Limited access to the band was not a major issue for religious broadcasters until spectrum scarcity in the commercial FM band caused them to actively seek frequencies in the NCE band. Over time, NCE decisions at the FCC and the creation of public broadcasting relaxed the educational requirements. The 1977 Moody Bible Institute case decision made it possible for future religious applicants to be more suc cessful in their applications for NCE licenses.
9 To tell the story of FCC policy regarding religious applicants for NCE licenses, the study focused on the individuals and organizations that helped define FCC policy, including the U.S. Office of Educat ion led by John Ward Studebaker, the Moody Bible Institute (MBI) and the major decisions and policy statements at the FCC (and FRC) that defined educational and religious broadcasting policy from the earliest days of radio to the 1977 MBI decision at the F CC. The secular educational broadcasters have been known to ask why religious groups have been allowed access, reflecting the philosophical secularization of public education in America. Religious groups wondered why they were not allowed acce ss, since they consider education to be central to their mission. One church argued before the FCC that education is the Quintessence of religion, reflecting their certain belief that their First Amendment rights were being denied by the state. This philosophical divide in the noncommercial band reflects a similar divide in the public sphere of American life. The FCC was also hampered by a lack of definition to the term educational and later, the term public. The lack of clear definitions hampered the development of clear, fully developed policy for NCE licensing. Over time, the early understandings of the terms were lost and new broader understandings of the definitions were applied, resulting in more open policy. The purpose of the study is to show that the existence of the noncommercial educational category of licensing and the reason for denying access to religious organizations is rooted in the history of public education in America, in Progressivism, and its children, the New Deal a nd the Great Society.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION American society is split by deep philosophical rifts in public opinion that are commonly described as culture wars by numerous authors.1 The conflicts cut across the public sphere reflecting a diversity of beliefs about the role of religion in modern life. Complex differences between American citizens are often described simplistically by the media, reducing the ongoing battle to a split between the right and the left, between believers and non believers, or between religionists and humanists.2 Activists and commentators caricature, simplify, and propagandize the battle using labels to push Americans into narrow, limiting categories such as secular humanist, holy roller, bible thumper, heretic, godless fool, poor simpleton, religioid, Homo Neanderthalis, and worse. The labels do litt le more than cloud the ongoing argument. Though t he split is most obvious in the public battles over hot topics like abortion, gay rights, and the never ending discussion about creationism, intelligent design, and evolution in the public schools, the divi de exists and expresses itself in diverse ways throughout American culture.3 1 James Davison Hunter, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America: Making Sense of the Battles over the Family, Art, Education, Law, and Politics (New York: Basic Books, 1991) See Don S. Browning et al., From Culture Wars to Common Ground: Religion and the American Family Debate (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox P, 1989). See Louise Bolce and Gerald De Maio, Culture War Politics, and Antipathy Toward Christian Fundamentalists, Public Opinion Quarterly 63:1 (Spring, 1999) 2961. See Alan S. Miller and John P. Hoffman, The Growing Divisiveness: Culture Wars or a War of Words? Social Forces 78:2 (Dec., 1999) 721745. 2 Hunter 335. 3 George M. Marsden, Religion and American Culture, 2nd ed. (Fort Worth: Harcourt, 2001) 247288. The roots of the wrangle over religion extend back in history to a time long before the founding of the American Republic to the beginnings of modernity. The struggle reflects t he ongoing conflict between individualism and communitarianism, between rationalism and nonrationalism,
11 between revealed knowledge and empirical knowledge.4 In the early years, the nonprofit broadcasters worked together in fluid and ever changing coalitions to further their cause before Congress, the Federal Radio Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission. Examples of the dichotomy are found in many aspects of public life in the United States, including broadcasting and education. Public education has long reflected the uniquely American encounter with religion. A clear example of the philosophical split exists i n the world of radio in a small section of the electromagnetic spectrum. Secular stati ons with roots in the liberal philosophy of public education exist in the noncommercial educational (NCE) band (87.9 to 91.9 FM) next to religious stations with roots in the conservative American Protestant Christian religious tradition. The stations licensed to operate in the restricted FM band all have noncommercial educational licenses. 5 Though the FRC and later the FCC were slow to respond to the requests for special considerations and protections for nonprofit and educational broadcasting,6 the FCC had a secular, public education model in mind for NCE broadcasting once the NCE c oncept of licensing was created in 1938.7 4 Stephen Toulmin, Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity, (Chicago: U of Chicago P 1990) 544. 5 Robert W. McChesney, Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy: The Battle for the Control of U.S. Broadcasting, 19281935 ( New York: Oxford UP 1993) 1932. 6 Hugh R. Slotten, Radio and Television Regulation: Broadcast Technology in the United States, 1920 1960 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP 2000) 5159. 7 A.D. Ring, Memorandum to the Commission: A Broadcast m atter. Subject: Curriculair Broadcast Stations. January 19, 1938. General Records of the Federal Communications Commission, Record Group 173. National Archives II, College Park, Maryland. The secular model for educational ( and later, public )
12 stations persisted over time, even as the concept of educational broadcasting slowly broadened to include programming that was educational only in the most general sense of the term.8 In addition, the regulators at the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) and later the FCC held religious applicants to a different standard than secular applicants for all types of licenses. 9 Religious groups had to contend with regulatory, financial, competition, and discrimination issues that also affected other educational and nonprofit broadcasters in the early years of radio broadcasting.10 Though some religious institutions did receive NCE licenses after 1948, they were generally awarded in the early days of FM when there were few applicants for FM licenses and the audience for FM radio was small Few noncommercial radio stations founded in the early years of broadcasting history survived the first two decades and ceased broadcast operations. As a result, most religious broadcasters were heard over commercial stations that provided sustaining time or sold air time for religious programs. The conservative religious broadcasters found it cheaper and simpler to broadcast on commercial stations than to fight a losing battle for a license before the FRC or FCC. 11 In addition, most of the early NCE stations licensed to religious colleges and universities, such as Notre Dame, off ered programming that combined the general audience guidelines favored by the FCC as serving the public interest.12 8 Lower Cape Communications, Inc., 47 RR 2d 1577 (1980) 9 Ashton Hardy and Lawrence Secrest, Religious Freedom and the Federal Communications Commission (The Center for Law and Religious Freedom: November 1981) 2232. 10 McChesney Telecommunications 1932. 11 An NCE license for WMBI FM in Chicago was granted to MBI in 1960. There was no competition for the license application and the FCC decision did not create a precedent. 12 See WSND FM, licensed to University of Notre Dame; WFUV FM, licensed to Fordham University; KPLU FM, Pacific Luthe ran College; and WDUQ FM, Duquesne University. The smaller
13 religious organizations and the more conservative religious institutions and organizations were always encouraged to apply for l icensing in the commercial band leaving the NCE band reserved mainly for secular public education organizations and institutions that were primarily engaged in educational activities.13 For many years the religious organizations that were diverted from or denied access to the NCE band would apply in the commercial band for licensing all the while protesting to the FCC that they were, in fact, educational in nature.14 1980s. When the commercial AM and FM bands began to fill across the United States, religiou s broadcasters began to actively seek licensing in the NCE FM band because it was the only radio spectrum with available space. In reaction to the social upheaval of the 1960s, c onservative religious groups organize d politically in order to effect change in the American public sphere T he rising tide of religious activism led to the creation of a number of conservative political organizations including the Moral Majority in the 1970s and the Christian Coalition in the 15 13 Letter from T.J. Slowie, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. Letter to Mr. H. A. Robinson, Acting Secretary, The Good News Broadcasting Association. 16 October 1945. Record Group 173. Fi le 92 8. NARA II. See also T.J. Slowie, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. Letter to the American Society for Metals, Cleveland, Ohio. 15 October 1945. Record Group 173. File 92 8. NARA II. See also T.J. Slowie, Secretary, Federal Comm unications Commission. Dayletter (sic) Collect. Pasadena Presbyterian Church. December 6, 1945. Record Group 173. File 928. NARA II. According to Websters New World Dictionary of the American Language (Cleveland: World, 1966), 375, a day letter is a lessexpensive than normal telegram with a minimum charge of fifty words or fewer sent in the daytime. 14 Bible Moravian Church, Inc. 28 FCC 2d 1, 21 RR 2d 492 (1971). Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 66 FCC 2d 162, 40 RR 2d 1264, (1977). 15 Kenneth D. Wald, Religion and Politics in the United States, 3rd ed. (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1997) 225237. The resulting elections of more conservative administrations including the Nixon and Reagan administrations and the election of Jimmy Carter, an e vangelical Christian, led to
14 appointments at the FCC of individuals who were more sympathetic to conservative religious causes like religious broadcasting. In 1977, the FCC faced the question of NCE licensing for religious radio broadcasters in a hotly contested decision that involved the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago,16 an organization that first argued in 1927, in a hearing before the FRC, that it was an educational institution.17 After a period that spanned five decades, the FCC decided that Moody as a religious educational institution was eligible for an NCE license for two new radio stations that were t o be located outside MBIs home territory of Chicago and that religious applicants had to be treated equally to the secular applicants for NCE licensing.18Statement of Purpose The 1977 decision established a precedent that allowed many more religious applicants access to the NCE band. To tell the story of NCE licensing for secular and religious radio stations this study will answer the following questions: Why are religious stations found in the NCE radio band of 87.9 to 91.9 FM? What were the phil osophical roots behind the creation of NCE radio? What did the FCC intend for NCE radio to be at its inception? How did John Ward Studebaker influence the creation of NCE broadcasting? What role did the Moody Bible Institute play in the FCC policy regar ding secular and religious radio stations? Why were MBI and other religious broadcasters interested in NCE channels? Why did the FCC decide to grant two licenses to MBI in the 1977 decision, creating a precedent that made it possible for other religious broadcasters to gain access 16 Moody Bible Institute of Chicago 66 FCC 2d 162, 40 RR 2d 1264, (1977). 17 Unpublished Document. Presented by James M. Gray, President of the Moody Bible Institute. Gentlemen of the Commission, Hearing, Federal Radio Commission, Washington, D.C. June 11, 1929. Moody Bible Institute (MBI) Archive. 18 Moody Bible Institute of Chicago 66 FCC 2d 162, 40 RR 2d 1264, (1977).
15 to NCE licensing? What role did Stephen Sharp and other individuals at the FCC play in the 1977 decision? To answer these questions, the study will examine the philosophical roots of NCE licensing which are found in the his tory of public education in America. In particular, the study will focus on the role of the Office of Education in the Department of the Interior during the era of the New Deal, and on the role of U.S. Commissioner of Education John Ward Studebaker. Stud ebaker played a pivotal part in the creation of NCE licensing as the federal governments chief representative for public education while chairing the Federal Radio Education Committee at the FCC. The FCC repeatedly cite d his reports and speeches to the exclusion of all others as influencing the development and creation of NCE licensing in 1938.19 the USOE, NCE licenses were granted only to public school systems and a few universities. In 1949, the granting of an NCE license to an independent nonprofit community organization called Pacifica signaled the first departure fro m the Studebaker designed model of educational radio. The decision also created the first community radio station licensed to an independent nonprofit organization and the model that later became known as community public broadcasting. Over time, FCC NCE decisions led to a very broad definition of the term educational in NCE radio broadcasting. In particular, after Congress passed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 establishing p ublic television and radio, the concept of educational broadcasting moved aw ay from its earlier roots in the public school curriculum, though public broadcasters were still licensed as noncommercial educational stations. The related FRC and FCC decisions and rulings Studebakers concept of a public education, c urriculum based role for NCE radio stations molded the FCCs initial guidelines for NCE stations. From 1938 to 1948, when Studebaker left 19 Ring Memorandum.
16 will be examined to help understand the changing concept of an e ducational radio station at the FCC and the ad hoc nature of many decisions related to NCE licensing. The study will examine the roots of secularization in American public education and the changing role of religion in the public sphere of American life to explain, in part, why the FCCs stance toward religion changed over time. In addition, the possible secularizing effects of professionalism and the technocratic perspectives in the FRC and FCC staff will be examined. T he central role of the Moody Bible Institute in the history of NCE licensing will be explored along with the efforts of some other nonprofit organizations in the fight to gain access to the NCE FM spectrum. Their efforts to effect change in the area of NC E policy at the FCC reflect in microcosm events that were unfolding across the macrocosm of American cultural and political life as the religious right fought for a prominent place in the public square. Finally, the study will examine the long and ultimat ely successful struggle of religious institutions and organizations to gain access to the reserved noncommercial educational FM band. There was considerable consternation among secular NCE broadcasters once the NCE band began to fill as religious broadcas ters applied by the hundreds for NCE licensing in the reserved FM band in the years after the MBI 1977 decision. However, because this study focused on wouldbe religious licensees and their struggle to gain access to the educational FM channels, the reac tion of secular NCE broadcasters, trade journals, commercial broadcasters, and other media will be dealt with only in passing and peripherally. Literature Review The literature review investigates studies that are most applicable to the study and ide ntifies contributions the research will make to historical accounts of FCC policy regarding noncommercial educational licensing and philosophy, particularly as it applies to religious broadcasting. There is significant research and scholarly literature regarding the history of NCE
17 policy at the FCC, but the interconnections between different types of noncommercial broadcasting during different time periods have not been fully explored. As yet, no one study tells the complete story of what is most broadly described as nonprofit broadcasting or not for profit broadcasting, probably because the topic is large and covers more than eight decades. A few works offer a significant examination of the noncommercial broadcasting philosophy and history. The most co mprehensive discussion of the topic covered by the study can be found in Robert J. Blakelys To Serve the Public Interest: Educational Broadcasting in the United States.20 Blakely presents a comprehensive history that covers the first five decades of what is known today as public broadcasting and he includes a comprehensive overview of FCC policy decisions. Though he discusses the role of religious groups in the early years of educational radio, his study is primarily about the secular side of NCE broadca sting. Public Broadcasting: The Role of the Federal Government, 19121976 by George H. Gibson is an overview of the f ederal g overnments role in the development of educational and public broadcasting.21 Public Radio and Television in America: A Political History by Ralph Engelman describes how certain pivotal figures changed educational and public broadcasting history, including Lew Hill, the founder of Pacifica Radio, and Bill Siemering whose vision led to the creation of National Public Radio.22 20 Robert J. Blakely, To Serve the Public Interest: Educational Broadcasting in the United States, 2nd ed. (Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1980). 21 George H. Gibson, Public Broadcasting: The Role of the Fe deral Government, 19121976 (New York: Praeger, 1977). 22 Ralph Engelman, Public Radio and Television in America: A Political History. (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1996). A numbe r of studies focus on programming philosophies
18 and the personalities involved in developing aspects of public broadcasting while ignoring FCC policy.23secular or the religious forms of broadcasting, not both. In addition, there is a split between the histories of educational and public broadcasting. Prior to the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act which created public broadcasting, The evidence of a cultural divide exists in the research since scholars tend to focus on the 24 Robert W. McChesney document s the struggle to determine early regulation for radio in Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy: The Battle for the Control of U.S. Broadcasting, 19281935. studies focus on secular ed ucational radio and television. After 1967, most histories focus on public broadcasting with the early history of educational radio being downplayed. There is some evidence in the literature that educational broadcasting is viewed in the public broadcast ing world as existing only in the past, without connection to modern public broadcasting, even though NCE licensing at the FCC has always included the term educational as a core concept. This dichotomy may reflect the tendency on the part of Americans t o forget or downplay the importance of history and tradition. There may also be a sense that public broadcasting is unique or superior to educational broadcasting. Thanks to descriptions of educational broadcasting as being boring, and to the anti intellectual tendencies in American culture, a desire to downplay the educational aspects of public broadcasting may also exist. 25 23 See Mary Collins, National Public Radio: The Cast of Characters. (Washington, D.C.: Seven Locks P, 1993); Susan Stamberg, Talk: NPRs Susan Stamberg Considers All Things (New York: Turtle Bay Books, 1993); Tom Looker, The Sound and the Story: NPR and the Art of Radio (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995) 24 Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Pub. L. 90129; 81 Stat. 365 (1967). 25 McChesney Telecommunications 1932. His study explores the unequal struggle between the nonprofit
19 interests and the dominant commercial power brokers as early regulators at the FRC laid the ground work for a commercial broadcasting system in the United States. The nonprofit interests are found to be a diverse group with deep roots in American society, including educational and religious groups. Their cause for noncommercial broadcasting failed due to less organization, less funding, and less political power than the well oiled commercial machine controlled by RCA, AT&T, Westinghouse, and GE. In cont rast, Hugh R. Slotten presents another perspective on the difficulties faced by nonprofit broadcasters in Radio and Television Regulation: Broadcast Technology in the United States, 1920 1960. Slotten explains how the engineers at the FRC looked at lice nsing decisions through a technocratic lens leading them to evaluate stations based on their equipment quality since better technology and equipment led to a better signal for the audience Thus nonprofit s were moved around and shunted aside by the FRC and commercial interests because of budgetary limitations and inferior technology.26 Religious broadcasting tends to come to the attention of researchers when scandal occurs. The colorful stories of financial and moral turpitude in the field of evangelism draws the attention of scholars, journalists, and the general public just as in the world of politics. Thus, the majority of the research in religious broadcasting focuses on the larger than life personalities, the infamous, and the criminal. Individual s and institutions who avoid controversy tend to slip by without notice under the radar of scholarly research or public opinion. Also, few scholars or journalists have written about the concept of religious noncommercial broadcasting. The issue was little known outside of a small group of industry specialists, like many telecommunications regulatory issues. In 1977, when the FCC finally granted Moodys application for a 26 Slotten 5159.
20 noncommercial frequency, there was little notice in the press. Since that time, a few articles have appeared discussing public broadcasters concerns that religious groups were flooding the FCC with applications for the NCE band.27 The topic did not appear on television until Phil Donahue raised the issue in 2003, twentyfive years after the FCC made it possible for religious groups to gain NCE licensing. As a result, there is no complete explanation of the Moody Bible Institutes attempts to gain an NCE license or their efforts to change other FCC policy. A few chapters in books and doc toral theses and several masters theses explore the history of broadcasting at MBI.28 The role of the Moody Bible Institute in broadcasting history is significant for several reasons. First, Moody is an organization whose broadcasting began with a nonprofit station that is one of the few to have survived the turmoil and upheaval of the FRCs frequency reallocations, later becoming the anchor station for MBIs broadcasting system. Moody staff members describe one of its early programs, the Radio School of the Bible, as being the longest running educational radio program in history having been broadcast for seventyseven years. 29 27 Pat Aufderheide, Dialing Down to Jesus, The Progressive, v ol. 50 (December 1986) 3740. Michael Totty, Religious Groups Push for Radio Licenses, Stirring Fears Among Other Broadcasters, Wall Street Journal (March 25, 1987) 33. 28 Martin J. Neeb, An Historical Study of American NonCommercial AM Broadcast Station s Owned and Operated by Religious Groups, 19201966, diss., Northwestern U, 1967. Clemence Otto Gangler, An Historical Study of Religious Radio Station WMBI AM, Chicago, 19261966, thesis, Illinois State U, 1967. Charles Neil Christensen, A Descriptive History of WMBI and WMBI FM, Chicago, Illinois, 19461970, Marquette U, 1972. 29 The Radio School of the Bible program broadcasts ended in 2002. Second, Moody is the first religious broadcaster to apply for an NCE license. Third, Moody is the only religious broadcaster to have been involved, directly or indirectly, in many historic
21 policy decisions at the FCC and FRC. Finally, the Institute is major supplier of Christian radio programming in the United States and around the world. MBI : The Story of Moody Bible Institute30 In addition, Ashton Hardy and Larry Secrest wrote Religious Freedom and the Federal Communications Commission for the Center for Law and Religious Freedom in November 1981. by Gene A. Getz presents the history of early Moody radio stations through the late 1960s. This document is a comprehensive history of the Moody Bible Institute and its outreach programs. Another source for information about Moody stations is the magazine, Moody Monthly, published by the Moody Bible Institute. In the early years of radio broadcasting, Moody Monthly contained a column about radio broadcasting at the Institute, including information about programming, radio personalities, and performers. Later, special articles about Moody broadcasting marked the major events in the history of the stations. 31 A similar article by Hardy and Secrest was also published in the Valparaiso University Law Review the same year.32 The history and philosophy of public education in America have been covered exhaustively by scholars across the academy. Lawrence A. Cremin s American Educati on: The In each article Hardy and Secrest draw on their experience at the FCC to discuss law and policy issues related to religious broadcasting, including cases at the FCC that led to the 1977 Moody decision. 30 Gene A. Getz, MBI: The Story of Moody Bible Institute (Chicago: Moody P, 1969). 31 Ashton R. Hardy and Lawrence W. Secrest, III Religious Freedom and the Federal Communications Commission, Center for Law and Religious Freedom (November 1981). 32 Ashton R. Hardy and Lawrence W. Secrest, III, Religious Freedom and the Federal Communications Commission Valparaiso University Law Review Symposium: Church and State Articles, 16.1 (Fall 1981).
22 Metropolitan Experience, 18761980 33 is the final volume in Cremins history of education in the United States. Cremins The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education, 18761957 34and public education. As a result of the controversy, the literature has a number of studies that explore this issue from differing perspectives including historical, legal, social, cultural, liberal, and conservative Between Church and State: Religion and Public Education in a Multicultural America provides a depiction of the progressive movement in American Education. It encompasses a discussion of the philosophies that drove efforts to reform American education and to provide nontraditional educational opportunities to adults and nontraditional forms of education using new technologies, such as the radio and television. A flash point for culture wars in the United States occurs at the intersection of religion 35 by James W. Fraser provides an over view of how Americans have historically struggled with the principle of separation of church and state as it applies to the public schools. Warren A. Nord wrote a comprehensive history of the role of religion in the public schools in Religion and American Education: Rethinking a National Dilemma.36 The influence of John Ward Studebaker in the history of educational broadcasting is reflected in the published articles and speeches written by Dr. Studebaker when he He includes a discussion of modernity and its effect on public education including the secularization of American Education. 33 Lawrence A. Cremin, American Education: The Metropolitan Experience 1876 1980 (New York: Harper & Row, 1988). 34 Lawrenc e A. Cremin, The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education 18761957 (New York: Knopf Vintage Books, 1964). 35 James W. Fraser, Between Church and State: Religion and Public Education in a Multicultural America (New York: S t. Martins P, 1999). 36 Warren A. Nord, Religion and American Education: Rethinking a National Dilemma (Chapel Hill: The U of North Carolina P, 1995).
23 was the U. S. Commissioner of Education from 1934 to 1948. Of great importance are the records of the Office of Education and the Federal Communications Commission at t he National Archives II in College Park, Maryland. In addition, an unpublished dissertation, Contributions of John Ward Studebaker to American Education37Significance of Historical Research by Paul Clifford Pickett, examines Dr. Studebakers work in education including his efforts to aid t he development of educational radio. Various authors mention Studebaker in the history of educational radio but there is no comprehensive account of his radio related activities available at this time. Methodology My objective was to examine the history of regulatory agency policy regarding religious applicants for noncommercial educational (NCE) licenses in the FM radio band. The story combines a history of FCC and FRC policy regarding religious radio broadca sting and a history of FCC and FRC policy regarding educational radio broadcasting. These two parallel stories intersect in the history of religious NCE radio broadcasting. P rimary research is drawn from records and documents at the Federal Communications Commission, the National Archives II (NARA II), the Suitland Depository, and the Moody Bible Institute (MBI) archives in order to trace the policy decisions that make up the history of educational and religious radio. The FCC policy history is found in the official FCC record as published by the Federal Communications Commission; in FCC documents published by Pike and Fischer; in FCC documents at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C.; in FCC and FRC archived documents at the National Archives II in College Park, Maryland; in the Federal 37 Paul Clifford Pickett, Contributions of John Ward Studebaker to American Education, (Ph D Diss., U of Iowa, 1967)
24 Documents Depository at Suitland, Maryland; and at the Public Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. Relevant documents include published FCC decisions, minutes of meetings at the FCC, memos and letters in FCC archived files, transcripts of hearings before the FCC and the FRC, press releases by the FCC, speeches made by FCC staff and commissioners, and in emails, letters and personal interviews. The history of education as it relates to broadcasting is drawn from the records of the Office of Education of the U.S. Department of the Interior archived at the National Archives II in College Park, Maryland and from the Education Library at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Other primary sources include statements made by educational broadcasters in speeches, press releases, testimony before the FCC, the FRC, and Congress, and in the reco rds of educational broadcasting organizations such as the Federal Radio Education Committee. The contributions of John Ward Studebaker (U.S. Commissioner of Education at the time of the establishment of NCE broadcasting) to the creation of and defi nition of educational broadcasting are explored through his speeches, policy statements, memos, and letters to prominent individuals, including President and Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The history of religious radio at the Moody Bible Institute is drawn from original historic documents housed at the Moody Bible Institute in their archives and at their broadcasting network, the Moody Bible Network. The history of the Institute and its leaders is found in primary sources at the MBI Archive and in several secondary sources.38 38 See Bruce J. Evensen, G ods Man for the Gilded Age: D. L. Moody and the rise of Modern Mass Evangelism (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003); See Richard Ellsworth Day, Breakfast Table Autocrat (Chicago: Moody P, 1946); See Joe Mus ser, The Cereal Tycoon: Henry Parsons Crowell, Founder of the Quaker Oats Company (Chicago: Moody P, 1997); See Robert G. Flood and Jerry B. Jenkins, Teaching the Word, Reaching the World: Moody Bible Institute, The First 100 Years (Chicago: Moody P, 1985).
25 Secondary sources include FCC policy history studies, educational broadcasting history studies, religious broadcasting history studies, educational history studies, biographies, and studies of American history and politics. Secondary and primary sources provided the historical context in which educational radio was created and the background and perspective of religious broadcasters who sought educational licenses. Secondary sources were used to interpret and evaluate the data from primary sources and to provide context and explanations for the information found in primary sources. T wo types of evaluation were used to determine the quality of sources and to establish their integrity and to understand their substance. First, external criticism add ressed the question of authorship and dates of the sources through analysis of content and through comparison of various texts. The documents that were part of the archival record of the FCC housed at the National Archives were generally found to be valid since they were part of the official archival record of the FCC, documented by the staff of the FCC and the staff of the National Archives. The same was true of documents examined at the Roosevelt Presidential Library and of the documents found at Suitla nd, Maryland. Internal criticism evaluated the credibility of the sources, the meanings of words, both official and unofficial meanings, the meanings of FCC terms, and the meanings of religious words, phrases, and expressions. Understanding the viewpoints of the actors in each major policy decision at the FCC was necessary in order to explain and to understand their actions and the outcomes of each decision making process. Where possible, other writings from the time period under question were used t o confirm the evidence. Also, interviews with individuals involved in the policy making process helped to uncover the reasoning, the meaning, the motives, and the philosophy behind words and actions.
26 Structure of Dissertation The story of FCC noncommercial educational radio policy is presented in narrative form. The story begins with Chapter 1 introducing the topic. Chapter 2 explores some of the cultural changes caused by the forces of modernity and presents a history of the secularization of public education in America. Chapter 3 presents a general history of the regulatory competitive, and financial hurdles faced by early nonprofit broadcasters including educational, religious, and labor stations. The chapter examines how extremists hur t other nonprofit broadcasters and how the popular press presented negative perceptions of fundamentalist broadcasters. These issues led conservative broadcasters to seek their own licenses for radio stations before World War II. Chapter 4 presents t he story of U.S. Commissioner of Education John Ward Studebakers vision for a public educationbased form of noncommercial educational broadcasting. Years before Studebaker arrived in Washington, D.C., a broad, disorganized coalition of nonprofit broadca stersincluding educators, labor unions, religious groups, and social agencies began the battle to convince the FRC and later the FCC to create a special category of licensing for noncommercial educational broadcasters. This muddled alliance projected a bewildering array of proposals for nonprofit licenses. Studebakers plan for set aside channels for the public schools became the accepted model for NCE broadcasting at the FCC while he was the Commissioner of Education at the Office of Education in the D epartment of the Interior. Chapter 5 presents a chronological history of decisions, events, and cases at the Federal Radio Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and Congress that trace the progression of noncommercial educational broadcasti ng policy from a tight public education focus to a loose, anything goes definition of the term educational as it applies to broadcasting.
27 Chapter 6 investigates the history of the Moody Bible Institute and its leaders interest in the use of mass media to spread a message. The chapter surveys the early years of radio broadcasting at the Institute and shows the MBI reaction to the development and evolution of federal regulatory policy for nonprofit, educational, and noncommercial radio stations at the Federal Radio Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. The chapter explores Moodys interest in the creation of noncommercial educational radio licensing in 1938. It also describes the use of public relations, mass med ia, and new technologies by Dwight L. Moodys and Henry Parson Crowell to promote their message. The chapter discusses other events at Moody that related to NCE policy, ending in 1977. Chapter 6 tells the story of Moodys efforts over a period of fifty years to be recognized as an educational institution providing educational radio programming. Chapter 7 discusses the Moody Bible Institute case of 1977. The major themes in the chapter include the rights of religious broadcasters, equal protection, the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, and the religious cultural schism at the FCC. The final chapter of the study offers an overview of the NCE policy story as it unfolded from the 1920s to 1980. The discussion focuses on the implications of the study and specifically on the outcomes of the policy change for religious and secular educational broadcasters. Definition of Terms Airwaves : The medium used for the transmission of radio and television signals. Clear c hannel : The r adio channels licensed to powerful terrestrial radio stations that cover large areas. The stations using clear channels are separated by great distances, greatly reducing interference and allowing the signal to be heard over large areas of the country. The dominant s tations signal is protected by the secondary stations using the same channel. The secondary stations were restricted to daytime use of the signal in the first decades of radio broadcasting. Today, they are restricted in their night time use of the signa l.
28 Community radio : A nonprofit terrestrial radio station licensed to a local nonprofit community organization. Pacifica Radio was the first noncommercial educational community station in the country. Education : The deliberate, systemic, and susta ined effort to transmit, evoke, or acquire knowledge, values, attitudes, skills, and sensibilities, as well as any learning that results from that effort, direct or indirect, intended or unintended.39 Educational radio : Traditionally, educational radio wa s used to teach curriculum based programming in a classroom setting or to provide instructional programming for adults and children outside the classroom. Noncommercial educational radio standards evolved over time to a broad standard that includes entert ainment and cultural programming. Ether : An e arly term for a medium that was supposed to fill all space and allow the transmission of electromagnetic waves. Evangelical: A broad term for Christians who believe in conversion, and missionary outreach, and base their faith on the Bible Conservative e vangelicals have similar beliefs to the f undamentalist Christians. Liberal e vangelicals are found throughout the traditional mainline churches in America. Fundamentalist : In the U.S., the term generally refers to a Christian who adheres to conservative fundamental principles. A Christian f undamentalist accepts the inerrancy of the Bible. Fundamentalists tend to separate themselves from the world. General purpose stations and g eneral public service stations: The FRC and FCC defined these stations as operating in the public interest by providing programming that meets the needs of a broad, general audience. Mainline c hurch: A Protestant Christian denomination with moderate to liberal theology. Mainline churches are more accepting of social change and progressive thought than conservative Christian churches. Noncommercial educational (NCE) radio station: The first NCE radio stations were stations that operated on a reserved frequency band. They were licensed to an organized nonprofit educational agency for the advancement of its educational work and for the transmission of educational and entertainment programs to the general public. (Rule 1057)40 39 Cremin American Education X. In 1945, the NCE radio band was relocated to the Very High Frequency (VHF) band where it is located today. The stations are found from 87.9 to 91.9 MHz. As FCC decisions relaxed the definition of educational, NCE licenses were awarded to nonprofit organizations and institutions that stated in the application that they intended to broadcast educational programming. 40 Federal Register, Wednesday, February 9, 1938, 312.
29 Propaganda: A term used by t he Federal Radio Commission to define what it considered to be a narrow, sectarian message. The FRC defined propaganda stations as stations that were more interested in spreading their particular viewpoint than in satisfying audience needs. The FRCs use of the term is not to be confused with the more widely spread meaning of the term. Public interest: According to Robert Blakel y, the primary purpose of educational broadcasting is to serve the public interest.41 He titled his history of educational broadcasting, To Serve the Public Interest: Educational Broadcasting in the United States. Herbert Hoover is recognized as presenting the first official statement about the public interest aspects of radio broadcasting at the Third Annual Radio Conference in 1924. The inclusion of the requirement in the 1927 Radio Act that broadcast licensees uphold the public interest, convenience and necessity (PICON) established the public interest as the basis for the FRC and FCCs creation of rules and regulations to govern the actions of broadcasters. The vague language of the PICON requirement causes disagreements and conflicts over broadcast regulation. Taylor Branch described government agencies as being of two types: deliver the mail and Holy Grail. The FRC and FCC were designed to be in the Holy Grail category, attempting to achieve a higher goal than just providing a neutral service in a timely fashion.42 Blakely believed the educational broadcaster served one purpose, to serve the public interest, while the commercial broadcaster served two purposes, to make a profit and to serve the public interest. Public radio: A new form of noncommercial educational radio created by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Religious Right: A broad range of conservative Christian organizations that promote political conservatism and political activism Reserved band of 87.9 to 91.9 MHz in the FM Band (Channels 200 220) : C hannels reserved for noncommercial educational (NCE) radio broadcasting. Scarcity: Broadcasting is regulated, in part, because of the scarcity of spectrum available for broadcast stations. For most of broadcasting history, there were not enough frequencies (or channels) for every applicant for a broadcast station. Because of improvements in technology, cable networks, digital broadcasting, satellite radio, and the internet, some argue that scarcity is no longer a major issue. 41 Blakely xii. 42 Erwin G. Krasnow, Lawrence D. Longley, and Herbert A. Terry, The Politics of Broadcast Regulation, 3rd ed. (New York: St. Martins P, 1982) 1518. Citing Taylor Branch, Were All Working for the Penn Central, Washington Monthly, (November 1970) 8.
30 Set aside channels : C hannels set aside for the purpose of a specific type of broadcasting. Early nonprofit radio broadcasters requested that special channels be set aside for nonprofit broadcasting, such as educational, religious, labor, social, etc. In 1945, the FCC set aside the reserved band of 87.9 to 91.9 FM for NCE radio. Sustaining t ime : When broadcaster s provided air time at no cost to an individual or group that wished to broadcast a message o r a program, the unsponsored air time was known as sustaining time. Translator: L ow power, repeating transmitters that rebroadcast a stations signal to areas not reached by its main transmitter. Implications This study explores how traditional arguments regarding the role of religion in American culture can be discerned in the history of religious radio. In particular, the development of noncommercial educational policy for radio at the FCC reflects the ongoing American struggle to define the proper place of religion in the public sphere of American life and the role of government policy makers in relation to religion. The balancing of First Amendment protections for religious expression; for the public interest in broadcasting; for the rights of broadcasters; and for the rights of applicants for licensing; are found at the heart of this story. The study will examine the important role played by the Moody Bible Institute in the longterm struggle by religious broadcasters t o gain access to licensing in the noncommercial educational FM radio band. Most religious broadcasters did not have the resources to adequately fund a radio station and to fight legal battles over broadcast policy with the Federal Communications Commission. In the fight to gain frequencies for the Moody Bible Institute, Moody helped all religious broadcasters who desired a frequency in the NCE FM reserved band. Moody adopted a cautious, respectful stance in its relationship to the FCC (and FRC) in or der to avoid creating controversy. Moody was determined to work within the system in order to achieve change rather than attempting to break the system through defiance. Some religious
31 broadcasters were undone and lost licenses because of negative press and perceptions brought on by the ir own confrontational behavior. Because of early FRC characterizations of religious and nonprofit broadcasters as being purveyors of propaganda, MBI appeared to be an outsider in the battle to gain and keep a broadcast li cense. Commercial stations were the insiders in the licensing process and received the greatest access to licensing. Later the FCC treated secular applicants for NCE licensing in the FM Reserved Band as insiders while religious groups were again treated as outsiders. MBIs successful fight to keep its first license and its later success in gaining additional licenses in the NCE Reserved FM band (while most other religious broadcaster were unsuccessful) reflects that its apparent status as an outsider did not tell the whole story. The Institute is rooted in the American capitalist ethic. The Institutes businesslike approach to the licensing process may have given it some access to the insider track held by commercial broadcasters. Its wealth gave it th e ability to purchase quality equipment and to maintain and operate its stations as well as any commercial entity. Their emphasis on technical quality may have appealed to the engineering mindset at the FRC. In addition, the study explores the pivotal role played by John Ward Studebaker and the U.S. Office of Education (USOE) in the development of the policy which first regulated educational broadcasting. Though Studebaker is mentioned in some studies of early educational broadcasting, his role in the creation of the category of NCE licensing was not fully understood or explained His influence at the FCC is found in the minutes of the meetings at the FCC during important turning points in educational broadcasting history until 1948 when Dr. Studebaker stepped down from his role as Commissioner at the USOE. As a result, this study uncovers what Dr. Studebaker, the USOE staff, and the FCC Commissioners and staff intended educational broadcasting to be at its birth. Federal regulators were unc omfortable with the extreme messages
32 found in the world of nonprofit radio. By designating that NCE licensing was created for public school systems the FCC knew that the new stations would conform to a safe model that would be controlled by other governme ntal agencies. The FCC relegated nongovernmental nonprofits to outsider status. Their access to NCE licensing was very restricted until decisions at the FCC and the passage of the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act changed the concept of educational radio. The changes opened the door to legally organized nonprofit organizations. The FCC NCE decisions slowly broadened the definition of the term education making it possible for any nonprofit organization or institution to be eligible for an NCE radio license by stating in the application that they intended to broadcast educational programming. For NCE radio licensing, the FCC does not require an educational mission or the employment of educational specialists. The study also shows how administrative l aw and policy are created out of sight and out of mind for most Americans. The U.S. government was designed with a balanced plan of checks and balances that were intended to prevent abuses of power by individuals in government. However, the world of a dmi nistrative l aw does not have a comparable system of checks and balances for the staff and c ommissioners of the FCC. During the period of time covered by this study, one person with significant knowledge of the system could, in theory, alter the outcome of policy decisions, even those decided by the FCC Commissioners. Thus one person could potentially have a significant effect on American society and culture. FCC staff regulated the reach of some decisions by the c ommissioners at the FCC by not publishing the legal reasons for decisions, thus limiting the potential power of precedent. Finally, many historical and political studies argue that the rise of the religious right began in reaction to events of the 1960s, leading to the creation of groups like the Moral
33 Majority, the Christian Coalition, and others. However, the efforts of the Moody Bible Institute to affect, mold, and/or change broadcast policy began in the 1920s, decades earlier than generally understood. Moody also utilized other areas of mass communications including the printed word, film, mass marketing, and public relations, in addition to radio to spread the Institutes message. Moodys efforts led to hundreds of NCE licenses being awarded in the noncommercial educational FM band, an outcome that helped the religious right to strengthen its political position by promulgating a conservative religious message to the American audience. The large number of religious applicants for NCE licenses ultimately filled the available spectrum and ended the possibility of expansion by secular noncommercial radio broadcasters in the FM NCE band. Dwight Moody and business leaders of his time were concerned about the negative effects of modernity on society. The Institute was created as an orthodox, conservative Christian response to those concerns. Through its leadership and graduates, new movements arose in American culture, including the codifying of the conservative beliefs that became known as the Christian Fundamentals movement or Christian Fundamentalism. The social and cultural foundations put in place by MBI and its sister Bible Institutes and religious organizations helped create the infrastructure that supported the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition, and other similar organizatio ns that arose after the cultural chaos of the 1960s.
34 CHAPTER 2 PUBLIC EDUCATION, RELIGION, AND AMERICAN CULTURE America is unique, in part, because of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.1 While crafting state constitutions and the Federal Constitution, early lawmakers found that the uncommonly diverse collection of denominations and belief systems in the colonies stalled any attempts to impose a stateestablished religion. It was not possible to reach a consensus amongst the differing religious groups and lawmakers found it prudent to prevent any state establishment of religion and to protect the rights of all to practice their beliefs without interference from the state. This first amendment Through its protections the Federal Government is prevented from promoting religion, interfering in religious activities or restricting religious expression. Because of the Fourteenth Amendment, the protections provided by the Bill of Rights also apply to state and l ocal governments. This unusual Constitutional experiment in religious liberty proscribes a stateestablished religion through the disestablishment clause of the First Amendment. The free exercise clause prevents the government from restricting religious e xpression through discrimination or actions that might interfere in church or religious operations or activities. The Amendment removes religion from the public sphere of government actions and activities and places it in the private sphere of American so ciety. The Amendment codified the secularization that already existed in some parts of American colonial public life. 2 1 U.S. Constitution, Amendment 1. 2 The amendment became known as the first amendment after the first two proposed amendments were edited out in early drafts. It was actually third in the original order. See Dwight L. Teeter, Jr. and Don R. Le Duc, Law of Mass Communications: Freedom and Control of Print and Broadcast Media, 7th ed., (Westbur y, N.Y.: Foundation P, 1992) 10. charted a new course for religion that broke with millennium old assumptions inherited from Western Europe that one form of
35 Christianity must be established in the community and that the state must protect and support it against other religions.3 For Lawrence Cremin, progressive writing about education displayed religious millennial bursts of secular enthusiasm for particular educative institutions. He cites John Deweys belief that education could shape society with the teacher serving as the prophet of the The break with the past traditions of state established religions ushered in a new era of religious pluralism, to lerance, and a more secular public sphere. At the time of the development of nonprofit and NCE radio, F ederal administrators and regulators at the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the U.S. Off ice of Education (USOE) appear to have accepted the traditional convention that public education should be a secular activity That is why they usually denied that religious institutions and organizations were educational and eligible for NCE licensing. To understand their perspective, one has to look in to the history of public education, religion, American culture, and the seculariz ation of the modern world. As public education began to develop after the 1830s in America, two ideals came to th e fore. First, Americans believed that universal education was indispensable to republican government. Without an informed citizenry, citizens feared that the American form of government could not long survive. The second ideal held that longterm ref orm could be achieved through education, which was preferable to reforms achieved through politics, particularly in the form of laws and regulation. Both ideals flowered during the Progressive Era, 1889 to 1920, and came to be hallmarks of the Progressive movement in education. 3 John Witte, Jr., Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment: Essential Rights and Liberties (Boulder: Westview P, 2000) 16.
36 true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of God.4 Cremin argues that the faith once attached to religious beliefs changed into a secular conviction that education held the answers to all social problems. The political structure and programs of the New Deal and the Great Society came to express this progressive American ideal.5 According to Warren Nord, there are several reasons for the secularization of public education. For much of the past cen tury m ost students passed through the public education system, including higher education, in the United States without studying religious ideas or beliefs. The subject of religion is presented in public education as being part of history or as literature but not as a living subject. Nord contends that educators believe religion is irrelevant to virtually everything that is taken to be true and important. Noncommercial educational broadcasting was born in the regulatory structure of the New Deal in 1938. The Great Society gave birt h to Public Broadcasting in 1967, the second major regulatory expression of the progressive ideal in educational broadcasting. 6 Yet, significant percentages of Americans say they believe that God exists and that various rel igious beliefs are central in their lives. Religion is referenced on American money, in the Pledge of Allegiance, in political rhetoric, and in never ending discussions and arguments about the role of religion in modern life.7 4 Lawrence A. Cremin, American Education: The Metropolitan Experience, 1876 1980 (New York: Harper and Row, 1988.)155. 5 Cremin, American Education 154 155. 6 Warren A. Nord, Religion & American Education: Rethinking a National Dilemma (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1995) 1. 7 Nord 2. For example, s ome Americans believe that America is a Christian nation while
37 others argue that America was never a Christian nation .8 In response to the many discussions about American beliefs, Nord asks, If we ar e so religious, why does our educational system ignore religion? At the very least, Americas unique legal and regulatory structure s reflect the influence of the debate that is sometimes described as a culture war about religion in all its forms Americas never ending argument about religion is made possible by the First Amendment with its protections of speech and expression. 9 Nord believes that the secularization of Western culture may better explain the lack of religion in public education. The expression of religion is considered to be a private matter, part of the private sphere, in contrast to the more public role of religion in history. Modern life is compartmentalized and religion is relegated to the private sphere by custom and the First Amendment. Nord argues that religion is so removed and separated from modern life that most Several possible answers include the rulings by courts that limit or forbid the practice of religion in the public schools and universities. Also, r eligion is so controversial it is simply exiled from many aspects of life. In many social settings, it is considered to be inappropriate to discuss certain topics, including religion. The discussion of religion is avoided in public and private life by many Americans who prefer to keep their own beliefs thoughts and feelings private. The American melting pot brings people of disparate religious cultures or beliefs together and social harmony is supported by a tacit understanding that sometimes silence and tolerance are best. The diversi ty of belief is so great as to overwhelm any regulatory structure that seeks to systematize religion in the public sphere. 8 Robert T. Handy, A Christian America: Protestant Hopes and Historical Realities (New York: Oxford UP, 1971) 9 Nord 2.
38 people do not attempt to integrate religious beliefs throughout their lives. Americans are so secular they do not find the absence of religion from education particularly s triking.10 Thanks to the secularization of the academy, intellectuals and highly educated individuals are much less religious than average. Their teaching and writing reflect a secular philosophy that religion is irrelevant to the subject at hand. Acco rding to Nord, The intellectual orthodoxy of our timeis fully secular. 11 Modern life is secular to the point that public education is accepted as being secular and the lack of religion is not questioned by the intellectuals and elites that establish and design the curriculum.12 Yet, the very concept of public education in America grew out the Protestant Christian Reformed heritage. Reformers, led by Martin Luther and empowered by the advent of the printing press, argued that each person should read the Bible in his or her own language. They objected to the Catholic tradition that called for priests, bishops and the Pope to mediate the Bible, presenting the religious message in Latin. Their belief that each person should read the Bible required a litera te population. Martin Luther wrote that local city governments should provide schools for all citizens. 13 The echoes of the clash between the Catholic tradition and the Protestant Reformation are still present in the modern American culture of the public school. There has been little agreement in America regarding the proper role of religion in public education from the founding of the 10 Nord 3. 11 Nord 4. 12 Nord 4. 13 A citys best and greatest welfare, safety and strength consist sin its having many able, learned, wise, honorable and well educated citizens. See Martin Luther, To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany That They Establish and Maintain Christian Schools. Luthers Works, vol. 45, trans. A. Steinhaeuser (Philadelphia: Forge P, 1962) 347378.
39 country.14 Just as the founding fathers had to accommodate diverse belief systems through the First Amendment protections for religion, public educators have protected different faiths and denominations by removing religious references that might offend one group or give preference to another group. The efforts of educators to accommodate all beliefs thus led to a seculari zation process in the public schools that began long before Supreme Court rulings applied the First Amendment religion clauses to state and local government.15 Historically, the secularization of public education was driven by the same reli gious diversity that prevented the establishment of a state religion in America. The proponents of public education recognized that a narrow, sectarian approach to education would drive some students away and they sought ways to present public religion in a nonsectarian manner. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America about the unusual commitment to public education in America in the period before the Civil War and connected it to the Protestant faith. 16 14 James W. Fraser, Between Church and State: Religion and Public Education in a Multicultural America (New York: St. Martins Griffin, 2000) 2. 15 Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296 (1940) and Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947). See Witte Religion 1. See Fraser 2. 16 Cremin, American Education 153 The commitment to education only grew as American social structures were stretched to extremes by the rapid change of modernity. In the 1840s Horace Mann, a Unitarian, was criticized for his conviction that it was acceptable and nonsectarian for students in the common schools to read B ible ve rses in the
40 McGuffey R eaders17King James Version of the Bible to start the school day. Mann argued that students would not be harmed as long as teachers did not seek to interpret the readings. In contrast, Christians from the Calvinist tradition believed that students should not be allowed to read the Bible without help in understanding its meaning. Manns proposal seemed to say that one approach to religion was as good as the next. while learning to read. He also believed that teachers could read from the 18 The Roman Catholics also wanted religion in the schools but could not accept the use of the Protestant Bible and rejected the reading of the Bible without interpretation by a knowledgeable teacher. They found Manns ideas to be sectarian and examples of Protestant error.19 Catholics and Protestants found that a common school in a religiously pluralistic culture failed to serve all students. Arguments over the inclusion of Bible readings in the school day continued through the ninetee nth century. Prayer only added to the disagreement and many schools eliminated the practice of readings and prayer. Horace Manns version of a content neutral approach did not satisfy Catholic leaders and tended to foster dissatisfaction on both sides of the religious divide. Educators and religious leaders also disagreed as to which translation of the Bible was appropriate. Even today, many agree that the presence of religion in the public 17 The Reverend William McGuffey created the McGuffey which sold more than 120,000,000 copies between the 1820s and the 1920s. By the 1890s, the McGuffey Readers were less religious, reflecting the trend of secularization in the academy. The common school movement began in the 1830s. The schools were taxsupported and nonsectarian. Horace Mann was the most vocal proponent of t he common school. See Nord 6771. 18 R. Laurence Moore, Touchdown Jesus: The Mixing of Sacred and Secular in American History (Louisville: Westminster John Knox P, 2003) 2425. 19 Moore 25.
41 schools creates an impossible conundrum because the curriculum w ill favor one religion over another or it will be secular and anti religious.20 social and cultural upheavals that followed the Civil War. Most public education at t he time of the war grew out of the Protestant common school system. White Protestantism was in disarray since the war was mainly between the white Protestants of the North and the white Protestants of the South. The changes caused by industrialization cr eated further rifts in Protestant culture as class structures changed. Urbanization and immigration on a scale not seen before in history led the Protestant elite to develop curriculums designed to Americanize the students, particularly the children of immigrants, and to inculcate traditional Protestant American values. By the 1870s, the long established white male Protestant hegemony was threatened by a sense of profound change based in the increasing religious and cultural diversity. The issues faced by educators in the early part of the twentieth century grew out of the 21 Though Catholics forced some secularization in the schools, the Protestants were more concerned about the growth of parochial and private schools than the move toward s ecularization in the public schools in the years after the Civil War. The schools were seen as the appropriate place for the transmission of American democratic values to the children of immigrants. The Protestant leadership wanted to draw as many studen ts as possible into the public schools and By 1920, Protes tant fears over the loss of social status grew as immigration brought an increasingly diverse population to America. Education was seen as the only way to acculturate the mass of newly arrived immigrants. The traditional conflict between Catholic and Protestant increased as an enormous wave of Catholic immigrants came to American shores. 20 Fraser 55. 21 Fraser 107.
42 away from sectarian schools. The popular McGuffey readers were revised to downplay their Protestant, Calvinist roots and to emphasize middle class values, morality, and civil religion.22 The roots of public educ ation were so deeply imbedded in the history of Protestantism that there was little concern over the gradual secularization of the school curriculum. Protestants seemed to believe that there was a natural harmony between the purpose of public education and Protestant beliefs. 23 George W. Marsden summarized the reasoning; So long as the national heritage was predominantly homogeneous and Protestant, religious and secular views could be easily blended together without great conflict. The public schools, for instance, could teach generally Protestant viewpoints, mixed with American Enlightenment ideals.24 Robert Wiebe describes the end of the nineteenth century as a time of nationalization as the country came to the end of the frontier. Americans struggled to understand the new age without strong nat ional centers to provide authority. Community life was oriented around the local town or region, not toward Washington, D.C. Citizens tried to understand their lives from the traditional perspective, unable to cope with the change brought about by urbani zation. Newcomers to the city struggled to find jobs, a place to live, and meaning for their new lives while the longer term residents felt overwhelmed and resentful of the interlopers. Cities spread However, by the 1920s this Protestant stance became awkward. Mainline Protestants feared that the forces of modernity would alter the culture that they viewed as being traditionally Protestant and American. 22 Geor ge M. Marsden, Religion and American Culture, 2nd ed. (Fort Worth: Harcourt, 2001) 131132. citing John H. Westerhoff, III, McGuffey and His Readers: Piety, Morality, and Education in Nineteenth Century America (Nashville: Abingdon, 1978) 19. 23 Marsden, Religion and American Culture 132. citing Robert W. Lynn, Protestant Strategies in Education (New York: Association P, 1964) 57. 24 Marsden, Religion and American Culture 178.
43 in haphazard fashion drawing in smaller communities as they grew, bringing the urban age to some who wished to stay rural. The civic spirit and pride, present in smaller communities had no time to develop in the rapid change of the new culture. Enormous waves of immigrants brought foreign customs, language s, and religions that further changed American culture. To cope with the influx of change, the new middle class promoted regularity, system, continuity over the old values of individualism and casual cooperation of the towns. Wiebe argues that the ne w culture was distended, adrift, and searching for order. Impersonal professionalism replaced the personal connections of the past. And he wonders how one finds meaning and value in life in rapidly changing times.25 Wiebe suggests that the rise of larg e companies controlled by distant owners led to indifference for the rights of employees. Society was disorganized and generated ethical evasions. The fiction of the day idealized the past. A segmented morality created compartments in a mans life and allowed each part to be judged by a different standard. One could be warm and gracious at home and with friends while displaying a ruthless approach to work relationships. 26 Americans responded to this time of cultural crisis by valuing the obvious according to Wiebe A quantitative ethic allowed issues to be defined more literally. Large numbers were equated with success. Americas quality was based on quantitative analysis. Statistics proved that America was the greatest nation based on produ ction, immigration, growth, development. Wealth became the most important determinant of a mans value, not his character. The 25 Robert H. Wiebe, The Search for Order 18771920. (New York : Hill and Wang, 1967) 1114. 26 Wiebe 3840. The use of the term man reflects the period under discussion and the predominance of the male gender in the professional world.
44 businessman proved his value and success through building large mansions and acquiring material goods in quantity. Social standing could be bought or improved through philanthropy and the wealthy put their cash in tangible, obvious philanthropic assets like churches, libraries, universities, and orchestras.27Quantity of results, not quality of belief, impressed Strong, as it must have also impressed Dwight L. M oody, the extraordinarily successful revivalist. Late in the century huge tabernacles rose in city after city across the country to house the large, passive audiences this efficient agent of salvation fitted into his years of clockwork preaching. Religion supported the use of quantitative values to evaluat e the success of a mans faith and to measure the success of the church. Fo rmulas were developed to evaluate a mans wealth as proof of Gods grace. Wiebe cites as an example Josiah Strong, who used records of church attendance, the numbers of sinners, the donations, and other statistics to analyze the success of his church. Wiebe explains: 28 In res ponse to the new problems of rapid change in urban, industrial, impersonal, fragmented America at the beginning of the new century, a new professional middle class began to seek answers to the troubling problems of the new age. Wiebe describes the new mid dle class as being made up of two, broad categories One was inspired by strong professional aspirations in fields such as medicine, law, economics, administration, social work, and architecture. Education soon followed their lead. The second middle class group included specialists in business, labor, and agriculture. These groups were aware that they were different 27 Wiebe 4041. 28 Wiebe 42.
45 from other Americans and felt most comfortable within their own professional groups. Trade unions, professional organizations, and other groups were popular.29Until 1900, schools were independent and the quality varied from town to town. Teachers were not required to have special credentials and were hel d in low esteem. Because of industrial growth and immigration, schools were pressured to provide needed skills for new occupations and to prepare immigrant children to be successful in their new country. Compulsory education became the norm in much of the country by 1900. In the first part of the twentieth century, the high school curriculum was renovated to meet the needs of the rapidly growing modern industrial American society. From 1890 to 1920, the numbers of teachers and students increased by more than 500 percent. Wiebe argues that education was the area that most needed to be professionalized. 30 As the professional middle class grew in numbers and as their professional organization increased, their internal cohesion caused further social division. The increasing levels of education and acceptance of the bureaucratic model fur ther widened the gulf between urban centers and small town America. The professionalization of the middle class helped to formalize differences that had been developing for years. Professional educators were developing a modern educational system that wa s not available in rural areas, particularly in the South. The new class lectured to the country folk but seldom listened in return. The lives each lived were separate. Rural Americans who feared the new values and problems of the city also felt threa tened by the new professional class and the sinful city values that it represented. 31 29 Wiebe 111112. 30 Wie be 117119. 31 Wiebe 130.
46 Higher education also changed in the decades after the Civil War as the religious heritage of most colleges and universities faded into the past. Schools began to relax required attendance at chapel by 1900 and the leadership of colleges and universities was increasingly drawn from the new professional class rather than the clergy. By WWI, the religious practices formerly required in higher education were gone or c onsidered to be optional. Rather than searching for fixed truths that were based in the Bible, the new intellectual order studied the social customs and cultural forces that produced various beliefs. Social Scientists led by Auguste Comte looked forwar d to a secular age and declared that the theological age of society existed only in the past. They believed, says Marsden, that the government, informed by social science, should employ the human mind to control social developments for the good.32 John Dewey represented the new directions in American academic thought as a secular pr agmatist. Though raised in the Christian faith, he later professed views that echoed August Comte. He believed in human progress through scientific methods. Georg e Marsden argues that their reformist views assumed moral values and beliefs and that many social scientists were not completely secular in their personal beliefs. 33 Marsden argues that Dewey was the representative American secular thinker of the first half of the twentieth century.34 Henry Steel Commager described Dewey as the guide, the mentor, and the conscience of the American people.35 Dewey believed that education should create an environment that allowed for the full development of each individual. It was less important to master a body of knowledge than to 32 Marsden, Religion and American Culture 133. 33 Marsden, Religion and American Culture 134. 34 Marsden, Religion and American Culture 210. 35 Marsden, Religion and American Culture 210.
47 internalize democratic values that developed character. According to Marsden, Dewey reflected the development followed by the leaders in American public philosophy at the time. Though raised in an evangelical, Christian environment, and active in the church as a young man, Dewey later left the church. His life reflected the cultural shift from a faith based in a traditional religious belief system to a secular faith in a scientifically based s ystem that promised to yield the highest moral ideals. He, and others with similar ideals, hoped to create a new, modern civilization built of people from all traditional belief systems by transforming society through education.36creed for secular humanism. Today, Christian funda mentalists and conservatives point to Dewey as the philosopher most responsible for the secularization of the public schools, citing his support for the creation of a document known as A Humanist Manifesto. Though he did not write or edit the Manifesto, he was the most famous individual to sign the Manifesto. Critics argue that the Manifesto was created as a humanist doctrine and it has been attacked by numerous fundamentalists as being a 37life by modernity, citing concerns over the loss of traditional values. They focus their fear and concerns on progressive education and the public schools, blaming John Dewey and his Fundamentalists have feared the changes brought to American 36 Marsden, Religion and American Culture 211 212. 37 Tim LaHaye, The Battle for the Mind (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980). Marlin Maddoux, Humanism Exposed (Lafayette, La.: Cornerstone Pub., 1983). Marlin Maddoux, America Betrayed (Lafayette, La.: Vi tal Issues P, 1984). The Manifesto is often cited by televangelists Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and others. According to Warren Nord, humanism has different meanings. The first Humanist Manifesto (1933) declares that a hum anist assumes a scientific view of the world and declares that religion should be understood as those actions, purposes, and experiences which are humanly significant. The Secular Humanist Declaration of 1981 states that Secular Humanists favor free in tellectual inquiry; support the separation of church and state; defend the ideal of political freedom; believe that morality is grounded in critical thinking rather than religion; support nonindoctrinative moral education in the schools; are religious skeptics; are concerned about anti intellectualism in our culture; assert that science provides us with the only reliable way of learning about the world; believe that the current attack on the teaching of evolution must be combated; and assert the value of ed ucation in producing a strong and humane society. See Nord 173.
48 followers, arguing that a conspiracy is at work, driving religion out of the schools. Dewey is an obvious target, having famously stated his belief that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.38 They also attack the National Education Association (NEA) for insisting the Founding Fathers designed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to guarantee a secular humanistic state.39of the urban versus the rural. Christian conservatives believe the secular nature of the public schools indoctrinates the children of modern culture into a belief system that negates their traditional Christian beliefs and values. The notorious Scopes Trial of 1925, a battle over the teaching of evolution in the public schools of Tennessee, is describ ed by Martin Marty as an event of nationalism, civic morality, and religious power. More than an argument over the issues surrounding evolution and biological science, Marty depicts the trial as a fundamentalist stand against modernism, a clash 40 The cultural change brought by industrialization, urbanization, and immigration threatened the traditional beliefs and lifestyle of conservative Christians and they responded by attacking visible symbols of the modern world view, including evolution. James Fraser describes fundamentalism as being antimodernist but not anti intellectual, while viewing man as existing in a fallen state unable to redeem himself. Fundamentalism was and is a fighting faith, hostile toward change and militant about sin.41 38 John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed, The School Journal, vol. LIV: 3 (January 16, 1897) 7780. 39 James Davison Hunter, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America: Making Sense of the Battles over the Family, Art, Education, Law, and Politics (New York: Basic Books, 1991) 113. citing Mary Peek, What Every Teacher Should Know about the New Right (Washington, D.C.: National Education Association Task Force on Academic Freedom, n.d.) 7. 40 Martin E. Marty, Modern American Religion: The Noise of Conflict, 19191941. vol. 2 (Chicago: U Chicago P, 1991) 190. 41 Fraser 120.
49 T he media coverage of the Scopes Trial led by H. L. Menckens derisive, sardonic depiction of the rural and the religious as knuckle dragging Neanderthals, painted a negative image of all Christians with the same broad brus h. Mainstream media historically depicted conservative and moderate Christians in a narrow way, overlooking the unique aspects of each denomination and belief system. The media also focused its attention on the extremists which negatively colored the impressions of the audience. William Jennings Bryan, arguing against evolution, did not help the conservative religious cause by failing to argue his case effectively. He was unable to defend his assertions and failed to explain fundamental points of his fa ith. Through his blustering, Bryan was easy to caricature as he fell into a caustic rant against the cultured crowd describing Darwinism as tommyrot. The disdain for intellectuals was evident at the trial.42 Bryans sudden death shortly after the S copes Trial did nothing to slow Menckens mudslinging attacks. He wrote an anti eulogy, heaping scorn on the rural backwardness that Bryan represented, describing Bryan as having descended too deeply into the mud, to be taken seriously hereafter by f ully literate men, even of the kind who write school books [sic]. Mencken saw fundamentalism everywhere, contending, Heave an egg out of a Pullman window and you will hit a fundamentalist almost anywhere in the United States today. By painting the ima ge of fundamentalism very broadly, Mencken expanded the common understanding of the term to reflect almost every aspect of American rural or smalltown Protestantism. 43 42 Marty, Modern American Religion 190191. 43 George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and Ameri can Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism: 18701925 (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1980) 188. Mencken was unaware or didnt care that fundamentalism began as an urban movement in the northeast
50 led by religious leaders who created the World Christian Fundamentals Association following in the tradition of Dwight L. Moody. Fundamentalism had deep roots in the Princeton Seminary.44 The rhetoric on both sides of the story drove the wedges between the conservatives and the modernists deeper, and the world of Christian fundamentalism was transformed. Public awareness of fundamentalism peaked in the summer of 1925 and it appeared that fundamentalisms importance faded quickly. After the Scopes Trial, the more conservative fundamentalists recognized that they would not be able to control the mainstream culture, and they chose to become separatist, creating a society in which their beliefs could be practiced and kept pure. 45 Though the move ment adopted a lower profile and fell off the media radar, the leadership developed a new approach, creating schools, institutes, summer camps, and a separate life from the mainstream.46 T he general cynicism amongst elites toward religion and the rural population in the 1920s was fed by images in popular culture. H. L. Mencken wasnt the only writer with a negative view of small town conservative Christians. Sinclair Lewis, in his book Main Street told a story of the dreary life found in small town Ameri ca. Many urban Americans, having left the small town for the big city, experienced the story or understood the rapid changes brought by urbanization in modern life. 47 44 Joel A. Carpenter, Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1997) 67. 45 Marsden, Religion and American Culture 179. 46 Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture 184 185. 47 William Martin, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America, (New York: Broadway Books, 1996) 1317. Lewis struck again at fundamentalism in his novel Elmer Gantry published in 1927. Based loosely on the life of the evangelist John Roach Strat t on, Gantry was
51 depicted as a not toobright, hypocritical, fundamentalist, charlatan. Lewis viewed fundamentalists as being anti intellectual and he sought to expose what he saw as hypocrisy.48 In the Scopes t rial of 1925, the clash of the new modern urban America versus t he traditional, rural, Protestant America is visible With the rise of the industrial revolution, American society underwent rapid change from an agrarian Protestant culture of small towns run by independent businessmen to a more secular, urban, professional and bureaucratic, society. The old values were pushed aside by a new, professional middle class that focused on efficient bureaucratic models to handle the social issues of the twentieth century. The new value system conflicted with the old, causing splits in culture that are present to this day. In effect, the old values of small town nineteenth century America are still present and in conflict with the mainstream values of modern society. Press coverage of fundamentalist extremists only added to the negative perception of fundamentalists as being rubes. Anti evolution lobbies; self proclaimed Godappointed successors to Bryan including Paul W. Rood; the flying fundamentalists led by Gerald Wi nrod; the flat landers led by Wilbur Glenn Voliva; and the head of the Supreme Kingdom spread bizarre literature that turned off all but the most extreme fundamentalists. These activities and antics only added fuel to the anti fundamentalist fire. 49 After the Scopes Trial, moderate fundamentalists found their mission misunderstood and ridiculed in the popular press. Protestant conservatives were embarrassed by the negative publicity and moved away from public support for the fundamentalist cause. Fundamentalism disappeared from the mainstream. Many in the mainstream culture thought it simply faded 48 Marsden, Fundamentalism and Ame rican Culture 189. 49 David Herbert Donald, foreword, The Search for Order: 18771920, by Robert H. Wiebe (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967) vii viii.
52 away, in a quiet death. However, instead of dying, it began to develop in new areas. The leadership cultivated a set of connections through local congre gations, Bible schools, new seminaries, colleges and mission organizations. Fundamentalists utilized the radio (and print media) to further their message by starting new stations and buying air time on independent radio networks. Instead of passing away, fundamentalism continued to grow and to develop, creating a powerful network that passed on their beliefs through education and mass communication. In denominations where they could not exclude the modernists they worked to further their conservative cause. Their numbers also grew in denominations that were not traditionally fundamentalist, as Marsden explains, and the most extreme fundamentalists separated into their own denominations or independent churches.50 The officials at the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), the F ederal Communications Commission (F CC), and at the United States Office of Education ( USOE ) were educated in a secular educational system and lived in a secular world profoundly shaped by modernity. Many Until the 1930s, many mainline Protestants still viewed the progressive currents as reflections of a Christian heritage. At the beginning of the New Deal, however, many public leaders were openly secular and the Roosevelt administration reflected a secular, bureaucratic approach to the business of government. Moving away from the moral tone of the progressive movement, the New Deal reflected a technocratic approach that valued efficiency above all else. Though many leaders during the New Deal era were raised in a more overtly relig ious culture, the new style of government they created carried American culture a long step toward the secularization of the public sphere. 50 Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture 195.
53 came from the main line Protestant culture, as did most elites in American professional life prior t o WWII and reflected a cultural acceptance of the private role of religion in modern life. Their secular, urban world view was reinforced by negative images of conservative religion found in the mainstream press. These cultural influences may have led the FRC to view nonprofit stations and religious nonprofits in particular as being propaganda stations and not serving the public interest. The Great Lakes Statement which established an anti religion regulatory stance was issued by the FRC in 1929. It reflects the cultural beliefs and concerns about the role of religion in modern American life that were found in the mainstream culture at that time.
54 CHAPTER 3 NOT FOR PROFIT BROADCASTING: THE EARLY YEARS Early Educational Radio The role of radio in education was discussed with great interest and passion in the early years of radio. Educators earnestly discussed the definition of educational radio and its function as a teacher. Though some educators viewed radio as a new way to deliver instruction and culture to students and the general population, it was also viewed as a potential competitor by other educators. It was described as a teacher, an assistant to the teacher, a social/cultural force, and as intimidating to the average person.1educations sake. The terms education or university of the air w ere perceived as a turn off to the listener who might be more interested in passing the time with a bit of entertainment. There was concern that listeners would rebel at the idea of education just for 2listeners interest. Though the traditional view of education still held in broadcasting circles, some broadcasters thought the new medium of radio called for a totally new approach to instruction. Educational programs needed to be designed for the radio in order to hold the 3E arly Radio Regulation T he first law that provided for control of radio was the Radio Act of 1912 and required radio users to be licensed by the Secretary of Commerce.4 1 B. H. Darrow Radio T railblazing: A Brief History of the Ohio School of the Air and its Implications for Educational Broadcasting ( Columbus, OH: College Book Co., 1940) title page. 2 Can a Mike Teach? The New York Times 3 April 1938: X10. 3 Can a Mike Teach? The New York Times 3 April 1938: X10 See James M. Gray, Is radio of God or the Devil? We Think It Is of God, Moody Bible Institute Monthly (March 1926) 309. 4 Radio Act of 1912, 37 Stat. 302 (1912). See also Max D. Paglin, A Legisla tive History of the Communications Act of 1934 ( New York: Oxford UP 1989) 8. The Radio Act of 1912 did not deal with any type of broadcasting since radio communications at the time were all point to point, intermittent communication. Though nonprofit stations received no special consideration in the Radio Act of 1912, the secular educational and religious educational
55 broadcasters were represented in the first stations to be licensed, having been among the very first experimenters in radio.5 The major problem in the early years of radio was a lack of control over the use of the spectrum space. Broadcasters crowded onto the air waves, operating as they pleased, changing fr equencies and interfering with other stations signals. Under the 1912 Act, Secretary of C ommerce Herbert Hoover did not have the authority to limit a stations access to a specific power or frequency. 6 Herbert Hoover organized four National Radio Conferences from 1922 to 1925 to make suggestions for the assignment of frequencies, broadcast times, and power for individual stations. As a result, there was much confusion on the airwav es. 7 During the conferences, Hoover stressed the importance of radio as an educational medium and the necessity of providing for stations whose primary goal was educational.8 Educational broadcasters found commercial stations were affecting their audiences through direct interference on the spectrum. Because of the interference, e ducational broadcasting did not liv e up to its great expectations and its proponents were frustrated by the lack of support from their legislators.9 5 George H. Gibson, Public Broadcasting: The Role of the Federal Government, 19121976 (New York: Praeger, 1977) 23. 6 Hoover v. Intercity Radio Co., 52 App. D.C. 339, 286 F. 1003. See also United States v. Zenith Radio Corp., 12 F. 2d 614. See a lso 35 Ops Atty. Gen. 126. See also Federal Communications Commission, Educational Radio, Information Bulletin 21E (Washington, D.C. 1975) 3. 7 Federal Communications Commission, Educational Radio, Information Bulletin 21E (Washington, D .C ., 1975) 3. 8 C. M. Jansky, Contributions of Herbert Hoover to Broadcasting, Journal of Broadcasting 1 (1957) 242 9 Gibson 6.
56 A significant number of the early stations were found at secular and religious educational institutions. Many of the earliest experimental stations on record were at educational institutions where the science departments developed early broadcasting technology as other academic departments explored the educational potential of broadcasting.10 Though som e schools focused on curriculum based programming content, a number of stations chose a less formal approach to the educational aspects of programming. Many educational stations chose to present public affairs and informational programming in contrast to commercial licensees.11 The first broadcasts were limited but some educators saw in radio the potential to teach beyond the classroom. The expansion of education to the radio listener was viewed from the traditional educational viewpoint in which teaching methods were formal and primarily instructional in nature. These early ideas of educational radio constitute the first example s of traditional education through distance learning utilizing electronic media Several educational institutions had radio sta tions on the air transmitting regularly scheduled messages as early as 1914.12 These early education stations were not issued educational licenses since a separate licensing category for education did not exist until 1938.13 During the 1920s the technology of radio outgrew the existing regulatory structure at the Department of Commerce. The Radio Law of 1912 gave the Department no power to withhold radio licenses or to regulate the stations power or hours of transmission. Since the technology 10 F. Leslie Smith John W. Wright and David H. Os troff Perspectives on Radio and Television: Telecommunication in the United States 4th ed. ( Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum 1998) 583. 11 John Witherspoon and Roselle Kovitz The H istory of Public Broadcasting ( Washington, D.C. : Current, 1987) 61. 12 J. Severin Werner, Commercial vs. Noncommercial R adio During Broadcastings Early Years, 22 Journal of Broadcasting, (Fall 1978) 496502. 13 Federal Register, III, 312.
57 of radio transmission was still relatively primitive, the available spectrum space was not large enough to allow room for all the stations broadcasting by 1927, which created massive interference problems. The frustrating situation led the radio industry t o request Congress to provide a regulatory structure that would solve the interference issues and provide a more level playing field for all broadcasters.14 It was most unusual for an industry to ask the government for a regulatory structure. It was much more typical of industry at that time to fight against government imposed regulations.15Early Religious Broadcasts The commonly accepted first broadcast of a religious service occurred on radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh on January 2, 1921. The vespers service was held on the first Sunday of the New Year at Calvary Episcopal Church led by the Rev. Lewis B. Whittemore. The regular minister of the church took the night off because there were concerns that radio was more about public relations and hype than the business of the church. Whittemore believed that KDKA management wanted to be known as broadcasting the very first radio church service. KDKA was owned by Westinghouse, a progressive corporation that had many firsts to its name, including t he employment of the first press agent by George Westinghouse. Publicity was part of the Westinghouse tradition by 1921.16 An earlier less well known broadcast of a religious ceremony occurred on August 24, 1919, and may have been the very first broa dcast of a religious service. The U.S. Signal Corps 14 Federal Radio Commission, 1927 Annual Report Reprint Edition ( New York: Arno P and the New York Times 1971) 1. 15 Slotten 3. 16 Clemence Otto Gangler, An Historical Study of Religious Radio Station WMBI AM, Chicago 19261966, thesis Illinois State U 1967, 12.
58 radio service broadcast the event from Trinity Church in Washington, D.C.17 In addition, the Canadian inventor Reginald Aubrey Fessenden is credited by many historians as presenting the first radio broad cast of music and voice on December 24, 1906. For that occasion he selected religious music and religious texts for the Christmas season. His choice of programming included O Holy Night by Charles Gounod and a reading for the Christmas Season from the Book of Luke. He repeated the broadcast on New Years Eve.18E arly Religious Broadcasters Martin Neeb writes that religious stations were part of the explosive growth of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s. The first station licensed by the Department of Commerce to a religious organization came within months of the first license awarded to any radio station. KQW was licensed to the First Baptist Church in San Jose, California on December 9, 1921. KQW began as a religious station but was soon sold to Pacific Agriculture Foundation, Ltd. and became a commercial station. WDM was licensed soon after on December 22, 1921 to the Church of the Covenant in Washington, D.C. and broadcast until July 1925. The next station licensed to a religious group was KJ S of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA). KTW of the First Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington was licensed on April 22, 1922. St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota experimented with radio in the physics department in 1919 and gained a license for WCAL on May 6, 1922.19 17 Gleason L. Archer, History of Radio to 1926 ( New York: The American Historical Society 1938) 211. Archer cites private records at RCA for this information. 18 Helen Fessenden, Builder of Tomorrows ( New York: Coward McCann 1940) 153 154. Recent scholarship suggests that this story may not be true. See James ONeal, Fessenden: Worlds First Broadcaster? Radio World Newspaper, RWOnline. 25 October 2006.
59 According to Neeb, the religious noncommercial stations in the early years of radio history created the model for educational broadcasting because they were operated not for profit but to provide a message that affected the lives of their listeners.20 Though many secular educational broadcasters and historians might disagree with that claim, Neeb underscores that early religious broadcasters played an important role in the development of the nonprofit model of broadcasting (along with other nonprofits).21 Some early religious broadcasters viewed themselves as educational broadcasters providing a public education service. For example, WOAN in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee was licensed in 1923 to James David Vaughan, a former publ ic school teacher and principal. Vaughan operated the station as a nonprofit station because he viewed the purpose of the station as a public educational service. At the time he was also operating Vaughan Phonograph Records, the monthly magazine Vaughan s Family Visitor the Vaughan Gospel Quartet, and the Vaughan Normal School of Music which was later renamed The Vaughan Conservatory of Music and Bible Institute. He viewed the purpose of the school as being educational and evangelical and used the stati on to promote his music school and his published music. The programming of the station emphasized southern gospel music. 22 As shall be shown, a number of other religious institutions and organizations argued before the FRC and FCC that they were educational in nature, including the Moody Bible Institute. 20 Neeb 1 5. 21 Neeb 1 5. 22 Bob Lochte, Christian Radio: The Growth of a Mainstream Broadcasting Force (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2006) 19.
60 The Commercial Radio Model Though the issue of paying for programming was not settled in the early 1920s, early experiments in toll broadcasting at WEAF in New York City established that airtime could be sold for a profit. The WEAF success paved the way for the commercial model of broadcasting to be accepted by the industry. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover helped establish the commercial hierarchy in 1923 by establishing a thr eetiered approach to licensing. The top tier consisted of clear channel stations that had maximum power and reach. The next tier held the midsized regional stations and the last tier held the local stations that served small geographic areas while being restricted to broadcast during daytime hours. WEAF (owned by AT&T) argued persuasively that educational stations represented special interest programming that was worth only secondary status. The management of WEAF contended that it deserved a clear channel because it served the general public. WEAF prevailed and won a clear channel while Hoover relegated most educational and other nonprofit stations to local status, the third tier, which severely restricted their power and broadcast hours. Hoovers de cision placed nonprofit broadcasters at a disadvantage that persisted by establishing a precedent that permanently positioned commercial interests ahead of the nonprofits in American broadcasting.23 Regulation favored the interests of commercial broadcas ters over the nonprofit broadcasters. Religious broadcasters and other nonprofit broadcasters were not organized and tended to deal with issues as they arose on a piecemeal basis. 24 23 Ralph Engelman, Public R adio and Television in America: A Political History ( Thousand Oaks: SAGE 1996) 20. 24 Hangen 2223. Their agenda was deeply split by the struggle between liberal modernists and the conservative Christians (evangelical and
61 fundamentalist) for dominance in protestant America.25 Each side had a message that was further split by struggles within the right and within the left.26The 1927 Radio Act and the FRC The 1927 Radio Act is described by Ralph Engelman as being a piece of emergency legislation with long term consequences for noncommercial broadcasters.27 C ongress passed the Radio Act of 1927 creating the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) to regulate the whole field of radio communication as it existed at that time.28 The Federal Radio Commission was a grossly under funded organization with an original authorization of just one year. T he Act grew out of the radio broadcasting industrys plea to Congress for help with the chaos of the airwaves. By 1927 the ether was l ike the Wild West with broadcast stations jumping frequencies, operating at illegally high power using equipment that created interference due to technical issues and poor maintenance. The technology of the day could not support the number of stations att empting to broadcast to the public as there were just too many stations fighting over too few frequencies. 29 25 Hangen 2223. 26 George M. Marsde n Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of the Twentieth Century Evangelicalism, 18701925. ( New York: Oxford UP 1980) 200203. 27 Engelman 21. 28 FRC, 1927 Annual Report 1. 29 Radio Act of 1927, Pub. L. 69632 (1927). Congress thought that the FR C would straighten out the interference problems in its first year and then have little else to do since the day to day regulation would revert back to the Department of Commerce after twelve months. However,
62 the regulatory issues proved to be complex and by 1929, the FRC was made permanent.30 T he progressive concept of the public interest rather than private property rights shaped the regulatory structure put in place by Congress through the Radio Act. Politicians feared that private control of the radio spectrum might allow powerful organizations and individua ls to shape public opinion. From this concern grew the idea that the spectrum should belong to the American public and not to the broadcaster The regulatory model created by the 1927 Act came to be the model for all future communications regulation. The Act held no special protections or considerations for nonprofit broadcasting. 31 The new Radio Commission found itself in an unprecedented situation attempting to regulate a new technology with very little financial help from Congress. No financial provisions were made for the FRC in the new law. The fledgling agency had to rely on Department of Commerce funding and borrowed lawyers from other government agencies. The law was untested and the new Commission was forced by the urgent public concern caused by interference issues to devote much of its early work to what it called the broadcast situation. 32 The new Radio Act would not allow the FRC to censor programming and the Commission had to develop a plan that would create a more dependable broadcasting service to the public while not exercising arbitrary authority that might violate the broadcasters constitutional rights.33 A lmost from the start of broadcasting, some engineers and businessmen wanted the 30 F. Leslie Smith, Milan D. Meeske, and John W. Wright, II, Electronic Media and Government: The Regulation of Wireless and wired Mass Communication in the United States (White Plains, N.Y.: Longman, 1995) 3739. 31 Hugh R. Slott en, Radio and Telev ision Regulation: Broadcast Technology in the United States, 1920 1960 ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP 2000) 6. See also Susan J. Douglas, Inventing American Broadcasting, 19881922 ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U P, 1989) 217219. 32 FRC, 1927 Annual Report 1. 33 FRC, 1927 Annual Report 1.
63 government to take a technocratic approach to the regulation of radio, arguing that the primary radio issue was interference and that issue was technical in nature. This technocratic approach to regulation appear ed to ease the co ncerns surrounding censorship of programming and yet according to Hugh Slotten in his regulatory history of technology, it had significant economic and social dimensions. By utilizing a technical approach to the problems created by an overcrowded radio spectrum the process seemed objective, and appeared to serv e a neutral public interest.34 Instead of using a wide range of criteria to evaluat e each station by including the issues related to programming, staffing, and financing, the criteria were reduced to technical questions that could be objectively evaluated using quantitative systems. Those stations with the most upto date, stable transmitting equipment got their licenses renewed; those with poor, unstable equipment did not get their licens e renewed and so could no longer broadcast. This system was acknowledged as being fair and appropriate by those who accepted a technocratic view of the world B ut most not for profit broadcasters had little income. They did not have advertising revenue and over the air solicitation was not yet common. With limited financial resources they could not afford the best technology. So the FRCs technical approach worked against the not for profit licensees. Their stations tended to have more issues with tec hnical quality and often operated on air for a few hours each week due to financial limitations not faced by commercial broadcasters. Thus, the various types of nonprofit broadcasters like the educational, the religious, the social agency, the labor union, and others operated at a disadvantage when compared by the FRC to commercial broadcasters. 35 34 Slotten 8 11. 35 Slotten 8 19.
64 The Commission developed a four step plan t o address the issues of spectrum scarcity. First, the Commission planned to hold a series of public hearings in order to determine the best scientific opinion regarding the future regulation of the industry. Second, t he Commission had to deal with the internal organization of the FRC Third, they sought to protect the broadcasters until a new frequenc y alloc ation plan could be implemented. Fi nally the Commission sought to develop a completely new plan for the allocation of frequencies, power, and hours of operation for all of the existing 732 broadcasting stations.36B roadening the broadcasting band, limitations of power, reducing frequency separation, simultaneous broadcasting with the same frequency, chain broadcasting, division of time, consolidation of broadcasting service, limiting the members of broadcasting stations, and general discussion. During its first meeting, the commission arranged for public hearings to occur from March 29 to April 1 1927. A number of prominent persons spoke at the hearings discussing a range of topics including: 37 The Association of College and University Broadcasting Stations (ACUBS) lobbied Congress and the FRC to set aside special channels for the use of land grant universities, but T he list of speakers included representatives for the major broadcasting organizations and institutions of the time. Henry Coleman Crowell represent ing the Moody Bible Institute (MBI) was one of presenters. His comments were notable because they framed the Moody Bible Institute as an educational organization that broadcast religious programming, which, according to Crowell was also educational. Crowell asked for radio frequencies to be set aside for nonprofit broadcasters. As shall be shown, MBI played a significant role in the efforts of relig ious organizations to attain a noncommercial educational license at the FCC. 36 FRC, 1927 Annual Report 3. 37 FRC, 1927 Annual Report 3.
65 little was done to help the nonprofit radio station. The FRC through its General Order No. 40 of 1928 laid out a comprehensive allocation plan for use of the radio spectrum that relegated the nonprofit stations to the lowest status. Forty of the 90 avail able channels were assigned to 50,000watt stations which had exclusive national use of clear channels. The other 50 channels served the remaining 600 stations that broadcast with low power in different regions on the same frequency or shared airtime on i ndividual stations in the same locale. The FRC also instituted a process by which the frequency assignments of existing broadcasters could be challenged, initiating a period of cutthroat competition.38 The FRC determined that religion was one of seve n categories of public interest programming that should be encouraged and fostered by broadcasters. 39 They also stated that the airwaves were public property, thus the public interest was of greater concern than the interests of the broadcaster. [I]t is better that there should be a few less broadcasters than that the listening public should suffer from undue interference. The FRCs decisions quickly led a number of technically marginal broadcasters to relinquish their licenses when it became apparent t hat they could not compete against their better funded commercial competitors.40 38 Engelman 22. 39 Murray Edelman. The Licensing of Radio Services in the United States, 1927 to 1947. A Study in Administrative Formulation of Policy Illinois Studies in the Social Sciences 31: 4 (Urbana: U of Illinois P 1950) 77. 40 F RC, Annual Report 1928, 1516. As the commercial stations and networks were strengthened by the Radio Act of 1927 and General Order No. 40, nonprofit broadcasting was sinking. A number of nonprofit broadca sters folded in the first few years after the creation of the FRC. Most of the educational licenses issued by the
66 end of the 1920s had ceased to exist by the 1930s. Of the 94 nonprofit radio stations operated by educational institutions in 1927 only 49 were left in 1931. By 1945, only 29 educational stations remained on the air.41 The FRC utilized a multipronged process to pressure nonprofits off the air. Stations were assigned licenses for periods of only three months at first. The nonprofits were reassigned to frequencies that were not as in demand, and they had to share time with at least one other station. With each shift in frequency, the station had to find a way to purchase new equipment. Some stations were shifted to several different frequencies in a matter of months causing a number of stations to cease broadcasting. 42 The nonprofits that managed to survive were those that could afford legal representation (like MBI) and could afford to travel to Washington to lobby the FRC and to present their cases in hearings.43FRC Statement Relative to Public Interest, Convenience, or Necessity Later, the FRC increased the license terms to six mon ths, then to a year, with the ultimate length of three years being the goal. In August 1928, the FRC issued a statement to show how the FRC interpreted the public interest standard a nd how it would apply the standard to cases heard before the FRC. The Commission said the character of the licensee or applicant for a license would be considered to determin e if the individual would operate a station in the public interest. The Commission 41 Engelman 37. 42 For example, WCFL was fi rst assigned to 610 in July of 1926. In May of 1927, WCFL was shifted to the 620 frequency and shared hours with WLTS. In September 1928, the FRC assigned more stations to frequency 620 and reduced WCFLs power to 1,000 watts. General Order 40 reassigned WCFL to the 970 frequency with radio station KJR. 43 Engelman 24.
67 intended to examine the individuals financial responsibility and his past record.44 The Commission warned that broadcasting private issues that might not be of interest to the listener would be violating the public interest standard. The needs and i nterests of the audience should be put before the needs and interests of the licensees.45The Great Lakes Statement and Propaganda Stations The Commission explained that the comparative nature of the public interest standard led to the conclusion that the stations that gave the least to the public would be sacrificed for the stations that gave the most. The FRC emphasi zed the rights of the listening public to receive a quality radio service while explaining that the personal interests of the broadcaster had to come second. In 1929, the FRC issued the Great Lakes Statement and restat ed the 1928 public interest standard The Commissioners reiterated that broadcast stations are licensed to serve the public and not for the purpose of furthering the private or selfish interests of individuals or groups of individuals. The FRC expanded the 1928 standard by adding that the broadcast service cannot discriminate among its listeners, In this respect it is a public utility by virtue of the laws of nature.46 44Statement made by the commission on August 23, 1928, relative to public interest, convenience, or necessity, Appendix F (6), Federal Radio Commission, Annual Report of the Federal Radio Commission for the Fiscal Year 1928, r eprint ed., ( New York: Arno P and the New York Times 1971) 166170. 45 Erwin G. Krasnow and Jack N. Goodman, The Public Interest Standard: The Search for the Holy Grail http ://law.indiana. edu/fclj/pubs/v50/no3/krasnow.htm July 5, 2005. 46 FRC, Annual Report 1929, 3235. The FRC advised that each station should seek to provide programming that meets the interests of all substantial groups among the listening public. They argued that spectrum scarcity led the commission to support stations that provide programming of a general character to best serve the public because there is no room for the operation of broadcasting
68 stations exclusively by or in the private interests of individuals or groups.47 The FRC intended to license general public service stations and not propa ganda stations (which the commission defined as those that would present a limited range of thoughts, whether religious, social, political, or economic ) because they believed the ideas could reach the public through the exi sting public service stations. T he FRC said the term propaganda referred more to narrowly focused messages that promoted special interests and was not intended in the derogatory sense. 48 The FRC added that it was unfortunate that some propaganda stations were licensed by the Department of Commerce before the FRC came into existence. The Commission announced that it would use commonsense when dealing with stations that it found to be broadcasting propaganda by using comparative hearings, reassignment to less desirable frequencies and fewer hours on air.49The Commission placed religious stations like WLWL and WCBD in the propaganda category as well as WCFL, the Chicago labor movements station. As shall be shown, WMBI of the Moody Bible Institute was indirectly involved i n this discussion since it shared time with In the1929 Annual Report the FRC reaffirmed the rationale that Herbert Hoover first promulgated in 1923 in connection with radio station WEAF. Hoover assumed that commercial stations would seek to offer programming that would appeal to the general public because this type of station would have the maximum appeal and thus, the greatest profits. The FRC announced that stations serving the general public with general purpose stations would be favored over stations that presented a message with a narrower focus. 47 FRC, Annual Report 1929, 3235. 48 FRC, Annual Report 1929, 32. 49 FRC, Annual Report 1929, 3235.
69 WCBD, owned by the Reverend Glen n Wilbur Voliva head of the Christian Catholic (Apostolic) Church in Zion, Illinois. The Institute chose to assertively fight all attempts to categorize their station as presenti ng any form of propaganda. T he MBI administration was concerned that the FRC regarded all religious broadcasts as form of propaganda. WCBD was the third station directly involved in the hearings and decision. The FRCs statements surroundi ng the propaganda issue seem to paint all nonprofits as potential propagandists. There is no room in the broadcast band for every school of thought, religious, political, social, and economic, each to have its separate broadcasting stations, its mouthpiece in the ether. 50The FRC restated this holding in a decision involving the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) station, WCFL. 51Since there is only a limited number of available frequencies for broadcasting, this commission was of the opinion, and so found, that there is no place for a station catering to any group, but that all stations should cater to the general public and serve public interest as against group or class interest. 52 50 FRC, Annual Report 1929, 34. 51 It was the opinion of this commission, and it so found, that there are numerous groups of the general public that might similarly demand the exclusive use of a frequency for their benefit. There are nearly five million Masons in the United States and about as many Odd Fellows. Their fraternal interests might be urged as a reason for having specific frequencies set aside for them, if it could be demanded of this commission that it set aside a frequency for every large group of citizens having common intere sts. This classification could be carried on until more classes th an frequencies would be found. It is the opinion of this commission, and it is so found, that there are not enough frequencies within the broadcast band to give to each of the various groups of persons in the United States a channel on which to operate a broadcasting station. It must follow as a natural consequence that if one large group is entitled to such a privilege, others are entitled to the same privilege. -Federal Radio Commission Chicago Federation of Labor v. Federal Radio Commission, No. 4972, Third Annual Report of the Federal Radio Commission to the Congress of the United States ( Washington, D.C. : United States Government Printing Office 1 October 1928 to 1 November 1929) 36. 52 F RC, Annual Report 1929, 36.
70 WCFL was founded by Edward N. Nockels, secretary of the Chicago Federal of Labor, in 1926. He intended for the station to be funded by listener donations and by the income generated by the WCFL Radio Magazine Under General Order No. 40, WCFL, like all the other nonprofits, had to share its frequency with another station, e liminating its evening air time.53 In response, Nockels asked, Was it in the public interest, convenience and necessity that all of the 90 channels for radio broadcasting be given to capitaland not even one channel to the millions that toil?54 Stations owned by organized labor may have represented propaganda to the FRC and other political leaders of the Protestant elite because labor was seen as being more Catholic and becau se of concerns over labors influence on labor costs. Organized Labor Unions drew a negative response from Protestant business men, who tended to live in more rural, small towns. They were uncomfortable with the rapid change of the modern world of urbani zation and industry. Many Catholic immigrants lived in the cities and were represented by organized labor. Also, the Jewish community was prominent in the labor movement. Some Protestants feared that Catholic and Jewish groups threatened the Protestant hegemony. Also, the 1920s were the time of the great labor strikes that alienated the average Protestant businessman, revealing a number of splits in American culture. Ultimately, WCFL lost its battle to gain a clear channel 50,000 watt station. 55 53 McChesney Telecommunications 66. 54 Robert W. McChesney, Labor and the marketplace of ideas: WCFL and the battle for labor radio broadcasting, 19281934. Journalism Monographs 134 ( 1992) 16. 55 Martin E. Marty, Modern American Religion: The Noise of Conflict, 19191941, vol 2 (C hicago: U of Chicago P 1991) 221223.
71 Role of Government in Early Educational Radio On May 21, 1929, Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur created a committee of fifteen persons to study the issue of radio in connection with public education. The members included the U.S. Commissioner of Education, two FRC members, the vice president of the National Broadcasting Company, the president of the Columbia Broadcasting System, a representative of the Western Electric Company, and six educators. Secretary Wilbur said We now face the question of what we shall do with radio in connection with public education. That in cludes not only school room teaching but adult education, and what we shall do with the latter in developing a better citizenship. According to Robert Blakely, This broad concept of public education governed all later developments in educational radio.56 The group recommended that Wilbur create and appoint the Advisory Committee on Education by Radio (ACER) ACER was funded by the Payne Fund, the J.C. Penney Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Other advisory groups were created at thi s time including the National Advisory Council on Radio in Education (NACRE) and the National Committee on Education by Radio (NCER). NACRE was supported by the Carnegie Corporation, the American Association of Adult Education and NBC. NCER was supported by the Payne Fund and the NEA. These two groups did not work together amicably and their conflict undermined efforts to present unified front from educators in support of nonprofit or educational radio.57 Secretary Wilburs actions laid the groundwork for an ongoing involvement by the 56 Robert J. Blakely, To Serve the Public Interest: Educational Broadcasting in the United States (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse UP 1979) 56. See also Louise M. Benjamin, Freedom of the Air and the Public Interest: First Amendmen t Rights in Broadcasting to 1935 ( Carbondale: Southern Illinois U P, 2001) 205206. 57 Eugene E. Leach, Tuning Out Education: The Cooperation Doctrine in Radio, Current Newspaper
72 Department of the Interior and later, the Department of Commerce in the development of educational radio (and later television) that linked the United States Office of Educati on, the FRC and FCC, educators, governmental agencies, and to a lesser degree, commercial broadcasters. As shall be shown, this linkage led to the creation of noncommercial educational licensing and set aside channels. Senator Simeon D. Fess Bill In January of 1931 Ohio Senator Simeon D. Fess introduced a bill in the Senate which pr ovided for the reservation of fifteen percent of all broadcasting facilities to be reserved or assigned for educational purposes.58 He reintroduced the bill in 1932 and 1933 but it was never reported out of committee.59 The text of the bill was written by Joy Elmer Morgan, c hair of the N CER. Morgan would have preferred to establish a noncommercial network modeled after the BBC but felt the Fess bill was necessary as an em ergency measure to support educational broadcasting in the short run. The commercial broadcasters led by their trade and lobbying organization, the National Association of Broadcasters ( NAB), did not support th e bill and actively worked to undercut the e fforts of educational broadcasters to have special frequencies set aside for noncommercial educational use. They were described by Tracy Tyler, a full time staff member of the NCER as doing all that they can to wreck the educational stations. Commercial trade publications described the educators in derogatory terms and the concerns of the educational broadcasters were never taken seriously by commercial broadcasters. The NAB worried that educators would gain frequencies as the expense of the existing s tations.60 58 McChesney, Telecommunications 129. 59 Blakely 5859. 60 McChesney, Telecommunications 4649.
73 1934 Communications Act Congress based the Communications Act of 1934 on the 1927 Radio Act while expanding the authority of the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to cover wireless and wire communication, both interstate and foreign.61 Congress increased the number of Commissioners to five to handle the expanded duties of the agency. The new Act preserved the philosophical underpinnings of broadcast regulation found in the 1927 Act which included a definition of the features of radio broadcasting.62 In response to requests for set aside chann els for nonprofit broadcasting from the Paulist Fathers and organized labor (the Harney Lobby) in the form of the Wagner Hatfield amendment, Congress issued a mandate in Section 307(c) of the Communications Act of 1934 to research the issue of reserved channels for nonprofit organizations. 63 61 F. Leslie Smith, Mila n D. Meeske, and John W. Wright, II, Electronic Media and Government: The Regulation of Wireless and wired Mass Communication in the United States (White Plains, N.Y.: Longman, 1995) 4142. 62 1. The radio waves belong to all the people. 2. Licensees must serve the public. 3. All of the public should receive benefits. 4. Not all applicants are eligible to receive a license. 5. Broadcasting has distinct features. 6. Broadcast expression is protected by the First Amendment. 7. The government maintains discretionary regulatory authority. 8. Government authority is not absolute. See Smith, et al, Electronic Media 42 43. 63 The Wagner Hatfield Amendment to the Co mmunications Act of 1934, supported by the Harney Lobby, asked that twentyfive percent of all channels be set aside for nonprofit radio. The Amendment led to the creation of Section 307(c) of the Act. See Robert W. McChesney, Media and Democracy: Th e Emergence of Commercial Broadcasting in the United States, 19271035. Reprint from OAH Magazine of History 6 (Spring 1992) Organization of American Historians.
74 The Commission shall study the proposal that Congress by statute allocate fixed percentages of radio broadcasting facilities to particular types or kinds of nonprofit radio programs, or to persons identified with particular types or kinds of nonprofit activities, a nd shall report to Congress, not later than February 1, 1935, its recommendations together with the reasons for the same.64 The FCC argued that the interests of the nonprofit organizations would be better served by the use of existing facilities, the commercial stations. FCC staff believed that the plan would give the nonprofits access to excellent equipment, facilities, and established audiences. The FCC introduced and encouraged the concept of cooperation between the commercial broadcasters and To fulfill to mandate of Section 307(c) the FCC held lengthy hearings that involved one hundred and thirtyfive witnesses, fourteen thousand pages of testimony, and several thousand pages of exhibits. The educational/ nonprofit arguments were not uniform since there was a great diversity of opinion surrounding the entire topic of educational and nonprofit broadcasting. For example, the NCER and NACRE disagreed over fundamental issues related to the request for set aside channels for nonprofit radio. Commercial interests, howev er, were united behind the argument that broadcasting should be commercial and they were well represented by their trade association, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Commercial broadcasters specifically scheduled educational programming to demonstrate that reservations of frequencies for noncommercial use were unnecessary. As a result, the FCC reported to Congress that no reservations of channels for nonprofit licensees were needed. Additionally, the nonprofits were split into a number o f educational, religious, and social organizations with differing agendas. As soon as the FCC made its report to Congress, the educational programs scheduled on commercial stations began to disappear. 64 Federal Communications Co mmission, Report of the Federal Communications Commission to Congress Pursuant to Section 307 (c) of the Communications Act of 1934, Docket No. 2537, 1 Record Group 173, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
75 noncommercial interests with the idea that the Commission would direct and supervise the cooperation through the efforts of the Federal Radio Education Committee (FREC) led by Office of Education Commissioner, John Ward Studebaker. Some forty representatives of educational organizations were participants in the FREC meetings. On the other hand, religious organizations, labor organizations, and other social groups were not invited. As shall be shown, the government, following the philosophy of the Office of Education, intended for these efforts to develop nonprofit radio to be focused more in the direction of public education. As religious, e ducational and other nonprof it groups and institutions f ought to have channels set aside for educational, religious, labor, and social organizations in the 1934 Communications Act, some were fighting simply to survive the harsh regulatory environment T hey hoped to obtain channels f or nonprofit organizations since the regulatory mindset and commercial interests were pushing nonprofits either off the radio dial or to the fringes of the spectrum An ad hoc committee organized by the Paulist Fathers and organized labor were behind the introduction of the Wagner Hatfield amendment in the Senate. One leader, Father Harney of the Harney Lobby, was fighting for the survival of radio station WLWL The story of WLWL reflects the impossible pressures placed on most nonprofit stations of the time. WLWL and Father John Harney The Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle (the Paulist Fathers) owned WLWL, a Catholic station in New York City. As the first Catholic radio station in the country, the Paulist order intended for the station to present a broad range of programming, including some religious programming designed for a working class audience. Their plans were ambitious and they believed that they could use the station as a significant vehicle for their work. WLWL began broadcasting on September 24, 1925, on the 1040 frequency operating at 5,000 watts of power. At the time, it was one of the most powerful radio stations in the country and it soon encountered
76 a number of obstacles put in place by the government.65 First, the Department of Commerce ordered WLWL to share its 1040 frequency with another station in October 1926. The Very Reverend John B. Harney, superior general of the Paulist Fathers, was ups et because he believed that the government had combined a high quality station such as WLWL with a low quality station at a Bronx amusement park on the same frequency. He felt the action discriminated against the Catholic station. WLWL was moved to t wo new frequencies over the next nine months sharing the 810 frequency with WMCA. In December of 1927, the FRC notified WLWL that it would be broadcasting only two hours per day while WMCA would broadcast the remaining hours. Father Harney noted bitterly that WMCAs market value rose to $4 million dollars by 1934 while WLWL was worth only the value of its used transmitter and studio equipment due to the FRC decision. The problems that it faced were typical of many nonprofits at the time. 66 Like many nonprofit broadcasters, the reduction in broadcast hours limited the stations General Order 40 called for the Paulists to be shifted to the 1100 frequency in fa ll 1928 where WLWL shared time with radio station WPG, owned by Atlantic City, New Jersey, later sold to CBS. WLWL ultimately broadcast about two hours a day on that frequency. At that time, the Paulists were facing financial concerns since each new freq uency shift ruling by the FRC required the purchase of new transmission equipment. The FRC also forced the relocation of WLWLs transmission facility to New Jersey in order to keep the power output of the station at 5,000 watts. In the midst of all the frequency shifting, the Paulists filed a number of appeals with the FRC in order to increase their broadcasting hours. 65 McChesney Telecommunications 7273. 66 McChesney Telecommunications 74.
77 outreach, and the Paulist Fathers were in a no win situation. At times their broadcasts missed the target audience due to FRC imposed air time limitations. The loss in audience reduced their fund raising abilities leaving them vulnerable to a takeover by commercial stations. Father Harney was especially irritated by the FRCs policy of supporting general interest for profit commercial broadcasters over nonprofit special interest stations. He wondered why the FRC saw the commercial interests who were working for a profit as being general interest broadcasters when the interests they were working for were actually their own. He did not understand how the FRC could accept that commercial broadcasters operated in the public interest. The Paulist Fathers saw their role as seeking to work for the public welfare, providing a high quality station with diverse programming.67Commercial Networks and R eligious Broadcasters Like many nonprofit stations, commercial broadcasters sought to buy WLWL. Father Harney passed on the first offers, but when it was apparent that the Paulists were not going to g ain their own frequency and the FCC was not going to provide set aside channels for nonprofit broadcasters, WLWL was sold in June, 1937. The 1927 Radio Act and the rise of radio networks limited the access of conservative religious broadcasters to the airwaves. In 1926, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) was established as the first radio network. NBC decided to include religious programming in their schedule by donating public service time to Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant broadcasters.68 67 McChesney Telecommunications 75. 68 George H. Hill, Airwaves to the Soul: The Influence and Growth of Religious Broadcasting in America ( Saratoga: R&E Pub ., 1983) 2. See also Hangen 23. NBC chose to work through the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America as its Protestant representative. The Federal Council of Churches represented twenty five liberal mainline Protestant denominat ions led by Charles S. Macfarland. He served as chair of the
78 Federal Councils National Religious Radio Committee and of the religious activities of NBC itself.69 Under the direction of the committee, several programs were produced including the National Radio Pulpit, Catholic Hour, and Message of Israel. Religious conservatives were dismayed to see that the committee promoted the liberal, mainline viewpoint with little time for the conservative religious perspective.70 Between the regulatory hurdles imposed by the FRC on nonprofit broadcasters and the exclusive relationship between NBC and the Federal Council of Churches of Christ, fundamentalist speakers found it difficult to gain access to a national radio audience.71 As new networks developed including CBS in 1927, Mutual in 1934, and ABC in 1945, additional airtime was available for purchase by religious broadcasters allowing some to be heard nationally. Conservatives were not happy to be relegated to secondary status by the Federal Council of Churches. They fear ed their access to the airwaves could be lost completely and they resented having to pay for much of their airtime. Despite these problems, independent stations and local stations still offered an outlet for conservative religious viewpoints. Religious broadcasters either paid for time on these stations or in some cases received donated time. 72 69Hangen 23. 70 Ward 1617. See also Hangen 2324. 71 Quentin J. Schultze, American E vangelicals and the Mass Media ( Grand Rapids: Academie Books 1990) 8183. See also Hangen 24. 72 Hangen 25. In 1928, the Federal Council moved to control all sustaining time granted by NBC and created a list of fundamental principles of religiou s broadcasting with an eye to removing sectarian considerations and all
79 divisiveness.73 The Council added that they were pursuing an inquiry as to the local services conducted from the various centers of the country at the present time. This statement struck anger and fear in the heart of conservative religious broadcasters. They believ ed that the modernists were attempting to block their access to all airwaves. However, Tona Hangen argues that conservative broadcasters were more successful (despite their fears) due to the popularity of their message.74 The attempt by the Federal Counci l to speak for all Protestants was rejected by the conservatives who believed that the Council was attempting to monopolize all broadcasting. The Federal Council indicated that controversial religious messages might cause religion to be pushed off the air completely. Their fear was legitimized by FRC and FCC decisions that created restrictive regulatory policy in direct response to concerns about the power of religious, political, and social messages broadcast on early stations owned by religious, politic al, social, and labor groups. The notoriety of early religious broadcasters in the 1920s, including Aimee 73 1. The National Broadcasting Company will serve only the central [sic] of national agencies of great religious faiths, as for example the Roman Catholics, the Protestants and the Hebrews, as distinguished from individual churches or small group movements where the national membership is comparatively small. 2. The religious message broadcast should be nonsectarian and nondenominational in appeal. 3. The religious broadcast message should be of the widest appeal presenting the broad claims of religion, which not only ai d in building up the personal and social life of the individual but also aid in popularizing religion and the Church. 4. The religious message broadcast should interpret religion at its highest and best so that as an educational factor it will bring the individual listener to realize his responsibility to the organizational Church. 5. The national religious messages should only be broadcast by the recognized outstanding leaders of the several faiths. As cited in Hangen 25 26. 74 Hangen 26.
80 Semple McPherson Reverend Robert Shuler, John Roach Straton, Gerald L. K. Smith, and Wilbur Glenn Voliva sparked their concern.75 Part of the knee j erk rejection of all evangelical and fundamentalist messages on radio continued into the 1930s and 1940s as a new group of controversial religious broadcasters including Carl McIntire, Father Charles Coughlin, and Gerald Winrod came to the fore.76Controversial Radio Ministries Such spe akers like Coughlin drew negative attention to all conservative broadcasters, and helped to reinforce negative public perceptions of all fundamentalists. The negative attention drawn by extremists on the far right may have prevented conservative broadcast ers gaining access to licensing, particularly in the NCE band. Wilbur Glenn Voliva was head of the Christian Catholic (Apostolic) Church (CCAC) and the utopian religious town of Zion, Illinois. He became the head of the ch urch and town in 1905 by taking the reins of leadership from Reverend John Alexander Dowie, the founder of the church and the town of Zion. Voliva rejected modernism and held a number of unusual beliefs. He believed that the earth was flat and that the C CAC was the church of the only true fundamentalists.77 He sought to strain the gnat of evolution and swallow the camel of modern astronomy.78 75 Marty Modern 273 281. See also Hangen 27. 76 Marty Modern 273 281. 77 The idea of a sun, millions of miles in diameter and ninetyone million miles away is plain silly. The sun is only thirty two miles across, and no more than three thousand miles from earth. It stands to reason, it must be so. God made the sun to light the earth, and therefore must have placed it close to the task it was designed to do. What would you think of a man who built a house in Zion, Illinois, and put the lamp to light it clear in the next state? Wilbur Glenn Voliva as recounted by Alan Spraggett. www2.pgohg.org:8080/Carbutt/Demo.html 10 October 2006: 4. He was perhaps best known for his well publicized offer of $5,000 to anyone who 78 Paul N. Tobin, The Rejection of Pascals Wager: a Skeptics Guide to Christianity, The Physical Sciences, www.geocities.com/paulntobin/astronomy.html?200626 10 October 2006: 2
81 could prove that the earth was round.79 In Zion, he enforced laws against lipstick, short skirts, low necks, bare arms, dancing, cinemas, pool, cards, tobacco, profanity, chewing gum, pork, and oysters. Children in Zion declared that the call sign WCBD stood for Wilbur Can Beat the D evil.80 Father Charles Coughlin was a Roman Catholic priest based in Royal Oak, Michigan. His broadcasting career began in 1926 when he spoke on behalf of Roman Catholicism on radio station WJR in Detroit. 81 His radio program developed into a very c ontroversial radio ministry that focused on religion, economics and political commentary. His requests for financial support from the audience led to an avalanche of mail that brought in more than a half million dollars per year. As his popularity grew, he became more contentious and controversial as he attacked unregulated capitalism and politicians like President Herbert Hoover. In 1931, CBS removed his broadcasts from the networks airwaves. He continued by broadcasting on independent stations reac hing an audience of 45 million listeners was reputed to receive more mail than any other person in the world. Because of his speaking skills and popularity, he was credited as being the one person most responsible for the election of Franklin D. Roosevel t to the presidency.82 Father Coughlins broadcasts became more controversial during the depression years and he attacked President Roosevelt, the New Deal, and the private banking system.83 79 Jay Earle Miller, $5,000 for Proving, Modern Mechanics, October 1931: 70. 80 Clifford J. Doerksen, American Babel: Rogue Radio Broadcasters of the Jazz Age (Philadelphia: U Pennsylvania P, 2006) 105. 81 J. Gordon Melton, Phillip Charles Lucas, and Jon R Stone, Prime Time Religion: An Encyclopedia of Religious Broadcasting, ( Phoenix: Oryx P 1997) 66. 82 Martin 19. He supported the Nazis and displayed a pronounced anti Semitic a ttitude. 83 Melton, Lucas, and Stone 6667
82 Educational broadcasting organizations were dismayed by Father Coughlins message as he shifted to the far right over the 1930s. Concern changed to scorn at the annual Institute for Education by Radio (IER)84 at Ohio State University leading other religious conservatives to visit the IER in order to soften Coughlins damage to their cause and to present their perspectives on the issue.85 In July of 1939, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) included a stipulation that cautioned agai nst derogatory statements and offensive material on the air in response to Father Coughlin and other controversial religious broadcasters. The NAB sought to avoid attacks on religion or race while fostering tolerance for differences in religious belief.86 Gerald Winrod was a Christian Fundamentalist who began his radio career in Kansas. He helped form the Defenders of the Christian Faith and the Defender magazine in which he shared his extremist views. Winrod railed against alcohol, evoluti on, biblical criticism, the Social Gospel As Coughlins popularity began to wane he found it hard to purchase air time for his independent network and his bishop finally told him that he had to choose between being a priest and being a broadcaster. In 1942, Father Coughlins career in radio ended. 87 84 The Institute for Education by Radio (IER) was sponsored by the Payne Fund, the State Department of Education of Ohio, and Ohio State University. The Institute began in 1930 and met annually. Its purpose was to study and discuss the problems of educa tion by radio. See Josephine H. MacLatchy, Education on the Air: First Yearbook of the Institute for Education by Radio (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State UP, 1930). 85 Ward 6162. 86 Hangen 30. 87 The Social Gospel grew out of liberal Protestant Christian roots; a progressive movement that sought to alleviate the social problems associated with industrialization and urbanization. See Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (N ew Haven and London: Yale UP, 1972) 639. and religious modernists. While looking for the fulfillment of prophecy in current events he freely criticized most political leaders. His anti Semitic tendencies were
83 displayed in his preaching about the international banking fraternity and he labeled the New Deal as being communist. In his view, Hitler was the answer to Jewish occultism, communism and finance and he publicly supported the Nazi organization. He was seen as being Americas leading Christi an bigot.88 Gerald L. K. Smith came out of the Disciples of Christ in Wisconsin. He was not a fundamentalist but may have been influenced by the men who supported him, promoting their beliefs, rather than his own. Smith left his ministry to work fo r Huey Long, Louisianas governor and senator. After Longs assassination in 1935, Smith promoted anti Semitic and pro fascist messages in his speeches and radio broadcasts. He was depicted in the mainstream press as being on the Lunatic Fringe. In the late 1930s he broadcast over Father Coughlins ad hoc network of independent stations, claiming that he represented hundreds of business leaders who were against the New Deal. By 1939, he was broadcasting in Detroit on WJR, a station noted for its anti Roosevelt stance. He attacked communism, supported private enterprise, lower taxes, fewer regulations, and the American work ethic. He became more anti Semitic and anti communist over time. He supported Senator Joseph McCarthy while finding fault with each president. 89 For Carl McIntire, political and social issues were not at the forefront. His primary concern was the fundamentalist faith. In his zeal for perfection, he sought a pure fundamentalist doctrine and found that few could meet his standards. He used the radio to establish a national fundamentalist organization that would be strictly separatist, pro gospel and anti modernist. McIntire founded of the American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC). As their president, 88 Martin 1920. See also Marty Modern 221 223. 89 Martin 2021. See also Marty Modern 267 272.
84 he demanded equal a ir time from the national networks to that given to the Federal Council of Churches of Christ (FCCC).90 He also attacked any group or organization that he viewed as being less pure than himself. As a man prone to argument and judging, McIntire was viewed by most fundamentalists as being a negative force. The moderates responded to him by creating the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE.) They were determined to shun all forms of bigotry, intolerance, misrepresentation, hate, jealousy, false judgme nt, and hypocrisy.91 In the 1940s, the NAE supported evangelical broadcasting by building bridges to the liberal branches of religious and educational broadcasting. Three repr esentatives (including a WMBI representative) attended the IER at Ohio State University to add input to a proposal by the institutes Religious Work Study Group. The group recommended that religious broadcasters avoid negative messages with rancorous and/ or biased overtones w hile seeking to present constructive and inclusive messages. In addition, the group proposed that religious broadcasters should receive free, sustaining air time so that they would not need to seek donations over the airwaves. This m ore libe ral stance seemed unfair to the more conservative evangelists at the meeting, since they had little access by way of sustaining time unless they owned their own station, which was still rare for the nonprofits. The Moody Bible Institute was a major player in the creation of the NAE. 92 Once again, the evangelicals felt they were being pushed from the airwaves by the modernists.93 90 Robert Joseph Mulholland, Carl McIntire: The Early Radio Years (1932 1955) diss ., bowling green State U 1984, 99104. 91 Martin 23 23. See Hangen 118119. 92 Ward 61. See Hangen 118119. After some discussion, the 93 Hangen 118119.
85 recommendations were altered to say that sustaining time should be used for religious broadcasts when possible.94 William Ward Ayer, a prominent evangelist and the firs t president of the newly organized National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) called for religious broadcasters to demonstrate more sincerity and honesty and to avoid being crackpots, racketeers, flybynights, ranters and sensationalists. He supported the recognized evangelical broadcasters and fought against being muzzled by the secular radio industry and the mainline liberal Protestants broadcasters. 95 The National Religious Broadcasters was founded to provide a strong coalition for conservative reli gious broadcasters who felt blocked by the mainline liberal religious broadcasters from the most favorable airtime on networks.96 The early forties were a time of struggle and change for religious broadcasters. The Mutual Network, the only network to sell airtime to religious broadcasters, decided to move its religious broadcasts to air on Sundays before noon. This pushed some very popular programs like the Lutheran Hour and the Voice of Prophecy to earlier times. Mutual also ended its policy of allowing religious broadcasters to solicit funds on the air. Several religious programs left Mutual to establish independent, ad hoc netw orks of stations. The Mutual decisions made it even more difficult for conservatives to get access to national airtime. 97 94 Ward 6869. 95 Hangen 112113. 96 Schultze Christianity 120121. 97Schultze Christianity 120. As evangelicals and fundamentalists were pushed off the national networks, they purchased more time on independent stations, causing concern for the liberals. They believed that religious broadcasters
86 beyond their control were presenting a distorted religious message while making a lot of money. 98 The liberal groups came together in several organizations including the Protesta nt Radio Conference, created in 1945 as a cooperative religious broadcasting organization; the Joint Religious Radio Commission; and the National Council of Churches of Christ. These organizations troubled the evangelical broadcasters because they believe d the liberal arm of religious broadcasting was still trying to control all religious radio and to push conservatives off the air where possible. In response to these organizations and to the Mutual Networks changes, the evangelical broadcasters created the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) in order to protect their interests. 99 This group organized at the IER in Columbus, Ohio in 1944 with a group of 150 evangelical Protestant broadcasters.100 The new chairman, William Ward Ayer, led the group to adopt a code of ethics for radio evangelism which addressed on air appeals for money by calling for financial accountability and a stipulation that funds should be solicited only for legitimate religious purposes.101 By 1947, the NRB became a branch of the NAE and worked to influence the radio industry and to protect the rights of all legitimate religious broadcasters. 102 98 Hangen 120. 99 Hangen 122123. 100 Ward 68. 101 Ward 67. 102 Hangen 124. Despite these successful ventures, many on the right were still concerned that the Federal Council was preventing access to the airwaves for conservative broadcasters. The Council was viewed as having left the faith by denying the inerrancy of the Bible as well as the doctrine of salvation by
87 grace through faith in Christ. They saw the move to doctrinal liberalism and the social gospe l as representing the true enemy which was modernism. By the end of the decade, audience funded evangelical radio broadcasting was an established institution in American radio. The advent of television drew advertising dollars away from radio which led stations and networks to relax their restrictions on paid religious broadcasts making it easier for all religious broadcasters to gain access to the airwaves.103 103 Schultze Christianity 161162.
88 CHAPTER 4 JOHN WARD STUDEBAKERS CONTRIBUTIONS TO NCE BROADCASTING In the history of NC E broadcasting, many individuals were influential in the struggle to define, develop, and establish educational broadcasting as an entity deserving Federal Communications Commission protection from commercial competition Though their efforts were needed to show that a high level of interest in educational broadcasting existed, the overall lobbying efforts by noncommercial groups were unfocused because the groups held a diversity of opinions. Their lack of focus delayed the FCCs decision to create a special category of licensing for educational broadcasters.1 According to FCC documents and memos supporting the 1938 decision to create NCE licensing, John Ward Studebaker, U.S. Commissioner of Education from 1934 to 1948, was the point man who marshaled res ources and support, both financial and political, to convince the FCC that noncommercial broadcasting was worthy of support for secular educational purposes .2 The purpose of this chapter is to tell the story of Studebakers role in the history of educational broadcasting and to examine the unique series of events that led to the creation of educational broadcasting, then to public broadcasting. His influence as a spokesman for public education by radio and later television is evid ent in the FCC's decisions regarding noncommercial educational broadcasting in the early years of NCE broadcasting. Though 1 George Gibson, Public Broadcasting: The Role of the Federal Government, 191276, ( New York: Praeger, 1977) 2833. 2 Paul Clifford Pickett, Contributions of John Ward Studebaker to American Education, diss., U of Iowa, 1967, 173182. See also Morris Lewis Brown, Sr., The History of Adult Education in the United States Office of Education, March 2, 1867 April 22, 1953, diss., George Washington U 1983, 165175.
89 Studebaker is frequently mentioned in public and educational broadcasting histor ies, his influence and importance in the story have not been fully explored.3 Studebaker was born June 10, 1887, in McGregor, Iowa. He graduated from Leander Clark College, in Toledo, Iowa, in 1910. He received an A.M. degree from Columbia University in 1917 and an honorary LL.D. from Drake Unive rsity in 1934. In addition, he later received honorary degrees from Muhlenberg College in 1938, the University of Maryland in 1945, and Boston College in 1948. 4 He was the principal of junior high and elementary schools in Iowa and moved into the assist ant superintendents position in Des Moines in 1914. In 1920, he became superintendent of the Des Moines school system, where he remained until becoming U.S. Commissioner of Education in 1934. While in Des Moines as superintendent, he promoted vocational education and was regarded as one of Americas progressive school superintendents.5 3 Unheralded, unexpected, and unprecedented was the FCC action of January 26, 1938. On that day, the commission adopted a set of rules governing a new class of stations called noncommercial education al. See George Gibson Public Broadcasting: The Role of the Federal Government, 191276 ( New York: Praeger, 1977) 49. See also Robert W. McChesney Telecommunications, Mass Media and Democracy: The battle for the control of U.S. Broadcasting, 19281935 (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993). McChesney gives little space to the role that Studebaker played in the fight to gain special broadcast licensing for educators. See also, Robert J. Blakely To Serve the Public Interest: Educational Broadcasting in the Unit ed States ( Syracuse: Syracuse UP 1980). Blakely gives credit to Studebaker for his role in fighting for reserved channels but doesnt connect the events of 26 January 1938, when the FCC created the NCE reserved channels, directly to Studebaker. The FCC documents related to the creation of NCE reserved licensing and channels directly credit Studebaker as being the one person who kept the issue of NCE licensing before the FCC (and the public.) 4 Pickett 10. Brown 137. 5 Convention Daily, Vocational Association as cited in Harvey Ingham, e d., Studebaker Head of National Education, Des Moines Register, 11 Dec .1937. V ertical file, State Historical Society of Iowa. During Studebakers tenure as Commissioner of Education, the role of the
90 federal government in education expanded nationwide, increasing the role of the national government in local education.6 Studebaker was a proponent of progressive education, a broad national reform movement that sought to modernize education and promote ideas that were sometimes contradictory. According to Lawrence Cremin, progressive education began as part of a vast humanitarian effort to apply the promise of American life the ideal of government by, of, and for the people to the puzzling new urbanindustrial civilization that came into being during the latter half of the nineteenth century. 7 Cremin describes the beginnings of the progressive education movement during the 1870s and 1880s as being episodic and disconnected which led to a national reform movement in the 1890s, an element of the larger Progressive movement in American p olitics.8Early in the movement, the schools were involved in the health, vocation, and quality of family and community life; rational teaching techniques were drawn from research in the social sciences; and instruction was designed for the differ ent kinds and classes of students that were enrolled in the public schools. New administrative and management techniques were developed that were more systematic in organization as a new educational bureaucracy developed. Both By that time, the education movement was becoming pluralistic in scope, including several smaller movements that focused on child centered teaching, vocational education, and a scientific approach to education which reduced the role of religi on in education. 6 Ingham 7 Lawrence A. Cremin The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in America n Education, 18761957 ( New York: Vintage Books, 1961) viii. 8 Lawrence A. Cremin American Education: The Metropolitan Experience, 1876 1980 ( New York: Harper and Row, 1988) 212235.
91 administration and teaching became more professional.9 As the movement matured, emphasis was placed on civic education to develop educated citizens in order to support democracy and the rise of adult education programs like the Public Forum movements (of which Studebaker was a lead er)10 and the Cooperative Extension programs.11 Due to the success of the reformers, the educational progressive movement dominated American education until the mid1950s and some researchers argue that progressivism i n education and Studebakers influence is still present in the schools of today.12 Studebaker expanded the concept of public education to include adult education and continuing education, particularly to provide adult citizenship education, a goal that is still a prominent feature of education in American culture.13 The Studebaker legacy includes his role in the development of educational radio and television noncommercial educational (NCE) licensing, the national school lunch program, and the Servicemens Readjustment Act of 1944, also known a s the G.I. Bill.14 His staff at the USOE credited Studebaker as being the person most responsible for these major projects in American history.15 9 Cremin American Education 212 235. 10 Willis D. Moreland and Erwin H. Goldenstein, Pioneers in Adult Education (Chicago: Nelson Hall, 1985) 223239. 11 Ronald Hilton, Humanizing Adult Education Research: Five Stories from the 1930s (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse U P 1982) 24. 12 Cremin American E ducation 212 235. 13 Moreland and Goldenstein 223239. 14 Moreland and Goldenstein 223239. 15 Pickett 173182. A s the Des Moines School Superintendent, Studebaker embraced progressive ideals that came to
92 be known as the frontier position as described in The Educational Frontier (1933).16 Proponents of this approach believed that education prepare d individuals to function effectively during the cultural changes caused by rapid advancement of society and technology.17 They recommended that i ndividuals need the intellectual and practical tools that w ould make it possible t o integrate successfully into the new social order that was developing. The New Frontier educators believed that the key to such an education could be f ound in a massive adult education program reflecting John Deweys belief that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.18Studebaker developed a national reputation as a leading progressive educator for his use of Public Forum techniques for adult education in Des Moines, Iowa. Beginning in 1933, Studebaker presented a series of programs known as the Des Moines Public Forums to provide a vigorous and well conceived educational effort aimed primarily at the adult population. 19 Studebaker sought to provide a comprehensive, but informal arena in which adults (the general public) could learn about the American system of governance and to become well informed citizens.20 16 William H. Kilpatrick, ed. The Educational Frontier ( New York : Century, 1933 ). As cited in Cremin Transformation 224 234. 17 Kilpatrick, ed., The Educational Frontier As cited in Cremin Transformation 229 230. 18 Cremin Transformation 230. 19 Moreland and Goldenstein 223239. 20 Moreland and Goldenstein 223239. In the first year alone, twenty percent of the adult populat ion of Des Moines participated in Studebakers new plan for adult civic education. The program was well organized and promoted, thanks in part to a major Carnegie Foundation grant of $125,000 for a
93 five year period and he was able to offer the Forums to the public at no charge.21 After Studebaker stepped onto the national stage, he continued the Public Forums nationally, funded by the American Association for Adult Education utilizing $744,000 in Federal Emergency Relief Funds to reach one million partic ipants each year at the peak of the program.22 Studebaker expanded the programs to six hundred communities in thirty eight states after he became Commissioner of Education.23 Studebaker believed that adult civic education was necessary in order for citizens to be informed about the world around them, including political, economic and social issues. He held that adult civic literacy would improve American life, curing social problems through public discussion, improved decision making, and social cooperation. His focus on the effects of modernity on society is reflected in his concern about the loss of traditional communities, the rise of special interest groups, and the impact of complex bureaucracies. Through adult education and public forums he thought the increase of government power and propaganda could be dealt with through free and informed public discussion of major issues and questions. 24 Though the United States Office of Education was relatively small prior to World War II, Stud ebaker used his position to promote progressive school reform and practices in the United 21 Hilton 5 7. See also Leonard P. Oliver, The Art of Citizenship: Public Issue Forums (Kettering Foundation, 1983) 10. 22 Oliver 1 0. 23 Moreland and Goldenstein 223 239. 24 Oliver 10.
94 States.25 His belief in adult education, the cultural advancement of Americans, and the protection of American democracy all come to the forefront in his public speech es.26I conceive it as the task of liberal education to liberate the minds of individuals to function effectively in the democratic control of their social life, and to prepare them for and to induce continuous growth in personal self expre ssion and personal efficiency. He once stated: 27 Studebakers professional experience with educational radio began in the winter of 1934 when a coal shortage in Des Moines forced the local school system to shut down for three weeks. Without coal to heat the schools classes could not be held in subzero weather. To address the problem, Studebaker, then the Superintendent of the s chool s ystem, responded to the crisis by adopting a novel plan suggested by Lorrain E. Watters head of the music department for the school system. Watters proposed using the local radio station as a means to bring education to the children in their homes, an early form of distance learning. By broadcasting classes over the radio the teachers could stay in touch with their students and kee p them up to date by giving lectures and assigning homework questions. At the end of the day, students could check their work by reading the local e vening paper which agreed to publish the answers to problems and additional information and assignments 28 25 Cremin American Education 212 235. See also Pickett 6. 26 John W. Studebaker, Radio in the Service of Education, Educational Broadcasting 1936: Proceedings of the First National Conference on Educational Broadcasting, held in Washington, D.C., on December 10, 11, and 12, 1936, C. M. Marsh ed., ( Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1936) 33. 27 Sarnoff, David. Broadcasting in the American Democracy (Studebaker quote) Educational Broadcasting 1936: Proceedings of the First National Conference on Educational Broadcasting, held in Washington, D.C., on December 10, 11, and 12, 1936, C. M. Marsh, ed., (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1936) 147. 28 Pickett 2931.
95 Studebaker liked Watters idea and created the Des Moines Radio School of the Air He appointed Watters to head the committee in charge of the new radio school.29 Radio Station KSO in Des Moines agreed to broadcast fifteen minute lessons for all classes in the school system, from elementary classes through high school. The Des Moines Register participated by printing the daily class schedule, assignments, lesson outlines, spelling word lists, and answers to homework problems.30 The Ra dio School of the Air began during the first week of January 1934 and covered at least eighteen subjects each day. After the t hree week school shutdown ended, the committee determined that radio should continue to be used for educational purposes. For the next five years, Watters directed the radio educational programming in the Des Moines school system. 31 The idea of using radio for education was not new. 32As a result of radio broadcasting, there will probably develop during the twentieth century either chaos or a world order of civilization. Whether it will be the one or the Educators in other cities around the country had previously used radio as an educational tool, some for over a decade. Rhetoric regarding the use of radio for education was widespread in educational circles by the 1930s. In 1931, Joy Elmer Morgan, Chai rman of the National Committee on Education by Radio (NCER) and Editor of the Journal of the National Education Association (NEA) 1931 stated: 29 Pickett credits Lorrain E. Watters with proposing the use of radio and newspapers during the three weeks that the schoo l s were closed. See Paul Clifford Pickett Dissertation Notes, Lorraine E. Watters Interview, May 15, 1965, University of Iowa Archives, Iowa City, Iowa. 30 Pickett 2931. 31 Pickett 3031. 32 A. D. Ring, Chief, Broadcast Section, Engineering Department, Federal Communications Commission. Memorandum to the Commission: A Broadcast Matter. Subject: Curriculair Broadcast Stations. January 10, 1938. Minutes of FCC Meetings, January, 1938. General Records of the Federal Communications Commission, Record Group 173. National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
96 other will depend largely on whether broadcasting is used as a tool of education or as an instrument of selfish greed. There has not been in the entire history of the United States an example of mismanagement and lack of vision so colossal and far reaching in its consequences as our turning over the radio channels almost exclusively into commercial hands33The uncommon factor in the Des Moines situation was the s chool s uperintendent, John Ward St udebaker. Six months after the coal shortage ended, Studebaker was appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to be Commissioner of Education. 34 As he left Iowa to head the U.S. Office of Education, Studebaker asked Lorrain Watters to send all the material s on the Des Moines Educational Radio Experiment to his new office in Washington.35 Secretary of th e Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur lay the groundwork (beginning in 1929) for Studebakers radio work by bringing together the staffs of the FRC and the Bureau of Education (predecessor to the USOE) to study the role of the federal government in relation to educa tional radio. Studebakers interest in radio education and his position as Commissioner of Education gave him a pivotal role in the history of educational broadcasting. 36 33 Joy Elmer Morgan, Educations Rights on the Air. Radio and Education: Proceedings of th e First Assembly of the National Advisory Council on Radio in Education, 1931 ( Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1931) 121. 34 New York Times, May 23, 1934. See also Des Moines Register, May 19, 1934. 35 Pickett 3031. 36 Louise M. Benjamin, Freedom of the Air and the Public Interest: First Amendment Rights in Broadcasting to 1935 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2001) 20420 5. Studebaker stepped into the structure created by his predecessor, William J. Cooper and Secretary Wilbur and developed it further. Though others had encouraged the FRC and the FCC to set up a special category of licensing for nonprofit educational stations with protected frequencies, Studebaker had the interest and the influence necessary to persuade the FCC to go ahead and create the noncommercial educational licensing (NCE) category
97 After Studebaker arrived in Washington, he found the Office of Education had been involved in e ducation by r adio for over a decade, beginning in the early 1920s. One of his predecessors John J. Tigert, had broadcast educational programs regularly over an Arlington, Virginia radio station.37 Another, William J. Cooper began a process of gathering information about education by radio which he then distributed in the hopes of pr omoting the development of educational radio. Under Coopers leadership, Congress approved the Office of Education request to employ Dr. C line M. Koon as Specialist in Radio Education.38 Under Koons direction, a clearinghouse of information related to educational radio was further developed. Studebakers immediate predecessor, George F. Zook, utilized the services of the Natio nal Broadcasting Companys Red Network to present a weekly program called Education in the News.39 Studebaker, as Commissioner, found the question of the uses of radio for education constantly coming to his attention. Early on, he and his staff determin ed that the issue required further study, since radio was a new technology, and he began to work to bring interested educators and broadcasters together to study and discuss the issue in a variety of forums. 40 37 John W. Studebaker, Radio in the Service of Education, Educational Broadcasting 1936: Proceedings of the First National Conference on Educational Broadcasting, held in Washington, D.C., on December 10, 11, and 12, 1936, C.M. Marsh, ed., (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1936) 2425. 38 Robert W. McChesney, Telecommunications, Mass Media and Democracy: The battle for the control of U.S. Broadcasting, 19281935 (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993) 193. 39 Studebaker, Radio in the Service of Education, 25. 40 George F. Zook, Comments, Educational Broadcasting 1936: Proceedings of the First National Confe rence on Educational Broadcasting, held in Washington, D.C., on December 10, 11, and 12, 1936, C.M. Marsh, e d., ( Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1936) 2021. The 19341935 Annual Report of the Commissione r of Education was the first USOE report to
98 contain a section called Radio and Visual Education.41 Under his direction, the USOE asked for funds from the Department of the Interior to explore the new social frontier of radio education. It presented information regarding educational programs on NBC. 42 According to Studebaker, President Roosevelt was deeply interested in the project and added additional suggestions to the list of broadcast subjects that Studebaker had proposed.43 A member of the Office of Educatio n staff, William D. Boutwell, was placed in charge of the project, with planning assistance from educators and scientists. Studebaker was appointed chair of a committee by the FCC to study methods of teaching by radio. He felt the two greatest problems facing educational radio were gaining access to air time and keeping the audience engaged during educational programming. Emergency relief funds from the Department of the Interior and Administration of $75,000 were granted to the USOE in 1935 to produce experimental demonstrations of educational radio programs beginning in March 1936. 44 41 Pickett 77. 42 Pickett 78. 43 Studebaker, Radio in the Service of Education, 2829. 44 Gordon Studebaker l etter to Laura D. Johnson, 31 May 2001. Gordon Studebaker is the only child of John Ward Studebaker and was employed at the USOE while his father was Commissioner of Education. The NBC and CBS radio networks cooperated with the USOE by providing guidance for the production which gave work to a group of technical people, clerical workers, singers, and actors from the W.P.A. and the C.C.C. Studebaker pointed out that the experts provided by the networks included script writers, music directors, and program directors. They were asked to put their technical knowledge to work serving educational objectives. While considering the plans for each program in the series, they served as course of study committees for the curriculum of the air by reading and
99 checking every script before it was broadcast.45 Thanks to this initial radio programming, the Office of Education received nearly 100,000 pieces of mail from listeners responding to educational programming that they heard on the NBC and CBS networks. Studebaker felt this listener response indicated success fo r the programs since they were able to compete for the attention and interest of radio listeners. He was proud that the programs were successful and that they could compete with the commercial programming for audiences interest. 46T he Communications Act of 1934, Section 307(c) required the FCC to study the proposal that Congress allocate fixed percentages of radio facilities to types and kinds of nonprofit radio programs or to persons identified with such programs and to report to Congress. The Bro adcast Division held public hearings in which commercial broadcasters and some educators argued that allocations of channels for nonprofit radio broadcasters were not needed. The well organized commercial industry argued that they would meet their public interest duty by working in cooperating with educational and religious organizations to provide excellent programming. 47 45 Studebaker, Radio in the Service of Educat ion 2829. 46 Studebaker, Radio in the Service of Education, 2829. 47 Blakely 6669. For a time, Studebaker supported the cooperation model. After studying the issue, the FCC recommended to Congress in January of 1935, that no fixed percentages of radio broadcast facilities should be allocated by statute to particular types or kinds of nonprofit radio programs. But t he Commission also recommended that a regional conference should be held in Washington on May 15, 1935 in order to develop plans for mutual cooperation between commercial broadcasters and nonprofit organizations. At the conference, Dr. Studebaker gave a speech in which he called attention to the importance of the radio as a means of extending the public
100 forum to the air. He believed that the radio should be used as a tool of democratic education where all sides of controversial issues could be discussed. In his mind, radio in the use of education should be free of governmental or commercial censorshi p as well as indoctrination and propaganda that presents only one side or viewpoint. He advocated impartiality as a major goal of public education in order to provide forums where the important ideas which struggle for acceptance in our complicated wo rld order could be explored.48After the May 15 conference, Studebaker worked with the FCC to organize a small planning committee composed of representatives of broadcasters, educators, and the Communications Commission. 49 T he Federal Communications Commission formally announced the creation of the FREC on December 18. The goals of the FREC included cooperation with other governmental agencies and departments to study the issue of educational broadcasting; the eliminat ion of The group met once a week beginning in November 1935 to study the issue of broadcasting by nonprofit groups. Studebaker was appointed chair of th e committee by the Commission and asked to investigate methods of teaching by radio. Studebaker noted that he wanted to ensure that educator s could get their fair share of air time on commercial stations and he wondered what techniques could be utilized in order to get the audience to listen. The committee formulated the agenda for the first full Federal Radio Education Committee (FREC) meeting planned for February 17 and 18, 1936. 48 John Ward Studebaker, Educational Broadcasting in a Democracy, School and Society 41 ( June 15, 1935): 785790 49 J.W. Studebaker. Report of Progress of Federal Radio Education Committee, 1. Typed manuscript of address delivered by Studebaker at the Second National Conference on Educational Broadcasting, Chicago, IL, November 30, 1937. See A.D. Ring. Memorandum to the Commission (A Broadcast Matter) Subject: Curriculair Broadcast Stations. January 19, 1938. Minutes of FCC Meetings, January, 1938. General Records of the Federal Communications Commission, Record Group 173. National A rchives II, College Park, Maryland.
101 controversy and misunderstanding among educators and between the industry and educators ; and to promote cooperative arrangements between educators and broadcasters on national, regional, a nd local bases. After the planning sessions and the first sessions of the full committee, it was recommended that a comprehensive study program be undertaken so the FREC would be ready to make specific recommendations to the FCC.50 The resulting seven exp erimental programs recommended by the FREC brought in 400,000 letters of support from the public and 54,000 requests for radio scripts used in 42 states over 114 radio stations. Studebaker felt this interest proved that education by radio could be accompl ished successfully and that the public interest was sufficient to continue his efforts to establish educational radio.51state repeatedly in FCC, Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee ( IRAC) Studebaker and the FREC organized two annual meetings to discuss the uses of radio for education in 1936 and 1937. I n addition to the stated goals of the FREC, by 1936 Studebaker, acting as head of the Office of Education, had an additional goal which he and his staff began to 52rel ated meetings. FREC, and 53 Some observers were disappointed in the efforts of the FREC and believed that the Studebaker began to promote a special frequency allocation set aside for educational use only. He felt that cooperation wasnt providing educators with enough access to broadcast facilities. 50 Picket t 7682. 51 Pickett 7682. 52 Interdepartmental Advisory Committee (IRAC), [T]he U.S. government body composed of major federal government users of the radio spectrum the military services, FBI, Forest Service, and so forth. See Christopher H. Sterling and John M. Kittross Stay Tuned: A Concise History of American Broadcasting, 2nd ed. ( Belmont, California: Wadsworth 1990) 230. 53 A. D. Ring, Chief, Broadcast Section, Engineering Department, Federal Communications Commission. Memorandum to the Commission: A Broadcast Matter. Subject: Curriculair Broadcast Stations. January 10, 1938. Minutes of FCC Meetings, January, 1938. General Records of the Federal Communications Commission, Record Group 173. National Archives II, College Park, Maryland. MEMO Curriculair Broadcast Stations FCC, January 10, 1938.
102 extensive research undertaken by the group shunted the educators off to the side in a mountain of paper work, effectively slowing their activities, and diverting their energies.54 C ritics c harged that the FCC placed its responsibility for educational broadcasting with the FREC and failed to follow through on its plan to promote cooperation between educators and commercial broadcasters.55 In contrast, the FCC staff argued that the continuing efforts by Studebaker the USOE, and the FREC were crucial to the FCC decision to create a special allocation of frequencies and licensing for NCE radio. His many public comments in speeches and in print began to beat the drum for the idea that special frequencies should be set aside for educational broadcasters. He corresponded frequently with supporters of education, including President and Mrs. Roosevelt, sharing with th em his speeches and reports on education in all its forms, including broadcasting. The efforts to promote cooperation between commercial and non profit broadcaster s ran out of steam by 1940. 56I come here to represent education in the States and local communities in requesting that a portion of the ultra high frequencies be reserved for noncommercial use by organized ed ucational agencies. A meeting of the full membership of the FREC was held in February of 1936 and a number of ideas and proposals were discussed. At that meeting, Studebaker proposed that the FCC set aside a frequency allocation for educational broadcasters : 57 54 Erik Barnouw, The Golden Web: A History of Broadcasting in the United States, 19331953 (New York: Oxford UP, 1968). 2627. See also Gibson Public Broadcasting 34 35. 55 George H Gibson, Public Broadcasting: The Role of the Federal Government, 19121976 (New York: Praeger, 1977) 3335. 56 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, New York. 57 Ring Memorandum 10 January 1938. See Marsh Educational Broadcasting 1936 3233.
103 Studebaker requested that the Commissioners set aside : a minimum of three megacycles to be reserved for the exclusive use of local educational systems for services in addition to those which they could normally expect commercial radio stations to perform. This request has been under consideration by the Communications Commission in connection with the entire problem presented. 58frequencies for various purposes. Several months later the FCC organized an informal engineering hearing on June 15, 1936 to discuss allowing assorted agencies of the government to use certain ultra high 59stations for educational purposes. After the engineering hearing, IRAC held several meetings to discuss the potential uses of the new spectrum during which the USOE representative continued to promote the creation of educational stations in the ultra high frequency band. Several informal meetings were also held between Studebaker, FCC Chairman Anning S. Prall, Commissioner Eugene O. Sykes, and representati ves of the Office of Education and the Commission to continue discussions relevant to the allocation of ultra high frequencies for 60 According to Studebaker, an FCC press release dated October 13, 1937 spelled out the Commissions plans to give the needs of educational broadcast systems most careful consideration when working out the fine points of the new spectrum assignments. The F CC Studebaker continued his push for allocations at the Eighth Institute for Education by Radio (IER) in Columbus, Ohio, on May 4, 1937, in a speech titled, The Governments Responsibility for Educational Broadcasting. 58 Ring Memorandum 10 January 1938. See Marsh Educational Broadcasting 1936 3233. 59 J.W. Studebaker Report of Progress of Federal Radio Education Committee, 10. Typed manuscript attached to A.D. Ring. Memorandum to the Commission (A Broadcast Matter) Subject: Curriculair Broadcast Stations. January 19, 1938. Minutes of FCC Meetings, January, 1938. General Records of the Federal Communications Commission, Record Group 173. National A rchives II, C ollege Park, Maryland. 60 Ring Memorandum 10 January 1938.
104 told him that the specific frequency allocations would be announced in January of 1938, and he believed that the FCC would grant his request for set aside frequencies for educational use.61 On December 31, 1937, Studebaker presented the FCC with a proposal to set aside channels for c urriculair stations that would be used for the broadcast of educational radio programming. He proposed calling the new category of stations c urriculair broadcast s tations since he believed the stations should be used by schools (primarily public schools) to create curriculum related programming. Since the term education can be interpreted very broadly, Studebaker sought a name that would narrow the focus of the broadcasting activity. In the meeting notes, the term c urriculair was rejected while e ducasting is listed as a possible alternative. 62[T]he Commission has had before it constantly p lans for the use of radio facilities for the advancement of education. These plans have now centered very On January 10, 1938, A.D. Ring, Chief of the Broadcast Section of the Engineering Department at the FCC, and Andrew W. Cruse, Acting Chief Engineer at the FCC, submitted a Memorandum to the FCC on a Broadcast Matter. Its subject was c urriculair broadcast s tations. The memo summarized the many efforts of educators and their supporters before the FRC, FCC, and Congress for the utilization of radio facilities in the advance ment of education. Included was a list of twenty nine bills introduced in the 71st through 75th Congresses on the subject of educational or related noncommercial broadcasting. In particular, Ring and Cruse cited the work of John Studebaker and the USOE a s being central to the FCCs decision to create a new category of licensing for educational radio. Ring and Cruse acknowledged that the result of this intensive lobbying effort had been noticed at the FCC : 61 J. W. Studebaker R eport of Progress of Federal Radio Education Committee 10. 62 FCC AGENDA, 19 January 1938.
105 specifically on the proposal of Dr. Studebaker as a result of the allocation of ultra high frequencies by Order No. 19, amending Rule 229.63On Janua ry 19, 1938 the FCC held a broadcast matters meeting in which they considered a proposal to create a special category of educational stations. Though they approved the memo recommending the creation of an educational category of stations, they tabled t he agenda item until the next meeting, allowing the l aw and e ngineering d epartments time to prepare the rules for the new category to complete action on the decision and to prepare a press release. 64 The next broadcast m atters FCC meeting was held on January 26, 1938 at which six Commissioners are listed as being present: Chairman Frank R. McNinch, 65 63 Ring Memorandum 10 January 1938. 64 Federal Communications Commission, AGENDA Minutes of FCC Meetings, Broadcast Matters, 19 January 1938. General Records of the Federal Communications Commission, Record Group 173. National Archives II, College Park, Maryland. T. A. Craven, George H. Payne, Eugene O. Sykes, Thad H. Brown and Paul Atlee Walker. In the vote to approve c urriculair broadcasting as proposed by St udebaker Com missioner Payne and Commissioner Craven dissented from the majority vote. Craven indicated that he preferred the name noncommercial educational instead of c urriculair. He made a motion to that effect and the majority of Commissioners ag reed to the new name with Commissioner Walker abstaining. It appears from the notes that all agreed that the new category should be created, however, W alker was not happy with the final choice of name. The notes record that the press release would be 65 McN inch became FCC Chair in October of 1937. Anning S. Pralls tenure at the FCC ended with his death on July 23, 1937. see http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/commishlist.html. January 11, 2006.
106 cha nged to reflect the new name of noncommercial educational broadcasting.66 In January 1 938, the FCC officially announced that a band of twentyfive ultra high frequency channels between 41,000 and 42,000 kilocycles Studebaker felt the term was not specific enough to define NCD broadcasting, but he accepted it. 67 were set aside for use by noncommercial educational (NCE) stations (from 100 to 1000 watts) creating a new category of licensing at the FCC.68A high frequency broadcasting station licensed to an organized nonprofit educational agency for the advancement of its educational work and for the transmission of educational and entertainment programs to the general public. The Commission defined a noncommercial educational broa dcasting station as: 69The st ation would also be authorized to broadcast lectures and educational matter directly to classrooms of the public schools. 70 NCE license s were intended for public educational institution s such as public school systems. The FCC decided that only an organized nonprofit noncommercial educational agency could receive an NCE license and only upon showing that the station would be used for the It would transmit using amplitude modulation (AM) ; t he Commission had not yet approved transmissi on by frequency modulation (FM.) 66 FCC AGENDA, 19 January 1938. 67 Rule 229, as amended, allocated the frequency band from 41,020 to 43,980 mc to broadcasting. One megacycle of this band was set aside for educational stations from 41,000 to 42,000 mc. 68 Tiny Waves Set Aside for Educational Work, The New York Tim es 6 February 1939: X10:18. 69 Federal Register III, 312. 70 Tiny Waves Set Aside for Educational Work, The New York Times 6 February 1939: X10:18.
107 advancement of its educational program. Under this action, each station was required to provide a nonprofit, noncommercial broadcast service.712. Technical operation to be governed by rules governing high frequency The rules proposed and adopted for the new category of educational broadcasting included the following: 1. Stations to be licensed to organized educational agencies only. 72This new category of NCE licensing limited the stations to a maximum of 1000 watts, under the high frequency broadcast regulations. The Commission believed that the signals of these stations would cover from two to fifteen miles, depending on the surrounding terrain. It was understood at the FCC that the stations programming would disseminate classroom courses to schools as well as broadcasting programs of general interest, educational and entertaining, to the public. The license could not be transferred to another organiza tion. broadcast stations. 3. Special provision to be made authorizing a special broadcast service directed to the schools in the system for a portion of the day. 4. Special provision as to the service to be rendered so as not to allow sponsored programs. 5. Channels to be allocated in the band 41,020 to 43,980 kc. 73 71 Federal Register III, 312. 72 Though the FCC used the term high frequency in the technical specifications for the new category of noncommercial educational radio they intended for the new stations to be located in the ultrahigh frequency band from 41,020 to 43,980 kc. See Ring Memorandum 10 January 1938. 73 Ring Memorandum 10 January 1938. O n February 6, 1938, Studebaker publicly declared the new NCE channels revolutionary, comparing them to invention of the
108 printing press, predicting great results from the use of radio for education.74 Studebaker believed that school systems needed broadcast facilities that could be utilized on a full time basis. He wanted channels to be reserved for exclusive educational use because he believed that the future requ irements of educational radio were likely to be very extensive. He displayed the pride of a new father, discussing the great potential of a baby. 75 Even though commercial broadcasters appeared to be willing to cooperate with educators, Studebaker felt that schools would need a more specialized broadcasting approach for administrative, instructional, and other public service purposes. Studebaker hoped that the FCC would reserve the special band of ultra high frequencies for educational use and that educators would be able to take immediate advantage of it. He once said, Radio frequencies, you know, are like homestead or mining claims unless you work them, you lose them.76. I revert to the crucial problem of sustaining and strengthening the concept and practice of democracy in the United States by infusing into the management of educational processes the improvements which modern mechanical genius has made available. It is for this reason that I am here to represen t education in requesting the reservation of a band of ultra high radio frequencies exclusively for the use of organized education. His faith in the ability of education and technology to improve mankind reflected the progressive view of education: 77 Educators believed that teachers would begin to experiment by using the radio to teach the everyday lessons in thei r own home towns. Studebaker hoped that the use of especially 74 In the Classroom and on the Campus New York Times, 6 February 1938: II, 4:6. Studebaker borrowed this quote from "Radio as an Educational Force" by Glenn Frank. Published in the Annals of the American Academy, January, 1935: 11922. 75 Ring Memorandum 10 January 1938. See Marsh, Educational Broadcasting, 1936, 33. 76 Marsh Educational Broadcasting, 1936, 33. 77 Ring Memorandum 10 January 1938.
109 expert teachers over the radio would gradually improve classroom instruction. In particular, he believed the rural students would benefit greatly from the use of radio as a teaching tool. I nterest was so great that the Office of Education was besieged with inquiries about nonprofit educational broadcasting licensing requirements.78 On April 17, 1939, the FCC issued revised rules for noncommercial educat ional stations as part of the Rules Governing Broadcasting Services Other than Standard Broadcast. Their stated purpose was to meet Federal Register requirements and to modify the wording of rules that were ambiguous and subject to misinterpretation. T he proposed rules were described as The Cleveland City Board of Education was the first applicant for the new category of licensing and they wer e granted the use of 41,500 kc. with 500 watts of power and unlimited time. The Boards of Education in New York City and Detroit along with hundreds of other civic and educational groups wrote to the FCC requesting information about applying for the new N CE licenses. The precedent setting decision to award set aside channels to educational use, though significant, was a hollow victory at the time. These AM NCE radio channels were located in a frequency band that could not be received by existing radios and the later shift to FM did not solve the problem since FM also could not be received by existing radios. Educators and those interested in NCE radio had to purchase special receivers so the educational establishment got very little in the FCC decisio n to create NCE licensing. The small audience probably limited the growth of NCE radio in the decades following its birth. Though the initial set aside frequencies were in a bandwidth that few could access easily, the creation of the noncommercial educat ional license established a precedent that ultimately led to new area of broadcasting still in existence today as manifested in the NCE reserved FM band and television channels. 78 Educators Show Interest in Ultra Short Waves, New York Times, 27 February 1938: X12.
110 being a more direct and specific statement of the licensing requirements, including standards that were considered part of regular administrative practice by the FCC staff. In general, the stations covered by the new rules, including NCE stations, were considered to be experimental stations.79 By requiring service to an educational system with several units the FCC made a change that placed tighter restrictions on applicants and served to disqualify large religious institutions such as the Moody Bible Institute. The NCE stations were to transmit programs directed to sp ecific schools in the system for use in connection with the regular courses as well as routine and administrative material pertaining to the school system. They were also allowed to transmit educational and entertainment programs to the general public, th ough few in the general public had access to radios that could receive the ultra high frequency signals. NCE stations continued to utilize the frequency band from 41,020 to 43,980 kc and were to broadcast using amplitude modulation unless they could show that frequency modulation wo uld better serve the purpose of the station and if sufficient frequencies were available to be grouped so that sufficient band width would be available for a frequency modulated broadcast. The rules stated that an NCE station would be licensed only to an organized nonprofit educational agency upon showing that the station would be used for the advancement of the agencys educational program particularly with regard to use in an educational system consisting of several units. 80 79 William J. Dempsey, General Counsel; E.K. Jeff, Chief engineer; Wm. J. Norfleet, Chief Accountant; T.J. Slowie, Secretary. Members of the Rules Committee. Memorandum to the Commission (A Broadcast Matter). In re: Rules Governing Broadcasting Services Other than Standard Broadcast. 17 April 1939. Minutes of FCC Meetings, April, 1939. General Records of the Federal Communications Commission, Record Group 173. National Archives II, College Park, Maryland. 80 Dempsey, et al., Memorandum to the Commission 17 April 1939.
111 On May 22, 1940, the noncommercial educational broadcast band was shifted one megacycle up to be adjacent to the regular high frequency FM band by Com mission Order No. 67 and the Commissions Report on Frequency Modulation (Docket 5805). On August 24, 1940, the Commissions rules were amended to assign the frequencies 42,100; 42,300; 42,500; 42,700; and 42,900 kc to NCE broadcasting and specified that frequency modulation should be utilized unless a special need could be shown for amplitude modulation.81By Oct ober of 1944, the boards of education in New York City, Chicago, Cleveland, and San Francisco, and the University of Illinois were operating NCE radio stations. The Buffalo (NY) Board of Education, the University of Iowa, the University of Kentucky, and t he University of Southern California were constructing new NCE stations. The Memphis school system and the San Diego school system were not able to finish construction projects due to WWII. Eight additional applications were pending at the FCC for stations at the Atlanta, Detroit, Toledo, and San Bernadino school systems and the universities of Michigan, Western Michigan, Indiana, and Purdue. The FCC received sixteen applications that were returned for corrections and additions with an additional one hundred and sixty institutions writing to the Commission for information regarding applications for NCE licenses. The USOE and the FCC received dozens of inquiries regarding statewide educational radio networks. The Commission responded by saying: During WWII, construction of new stations, including NCE stations, was halted, a delay that slowed the development of all forms of broadcasting. 81 Cyril M. Braum, Chief of the NonStandard Broadcast Application Section, Broadcast Division, Engineering Department, FCC. Official Report of Proceedings before the Federal Communicatio ns Commission at Washington, D.C.: 13 October 1944. In the matter of: Allocation of Frequencies to the Various Classes of Non Governmental Services in the Radio Spectrum from 10 kilocycles to 30,000,000 kilocycles. NonC ommercial Educational. 14161419.
112 The Feder al Communications Commission has received information from the U.S. Office of Education concerning proposed state wide plans for the allocation of the five frequencies reserved for non commercial educational FM broadcasting stations. It appears that such plans, if carefully prepared with a view to fair treatment of public and private educational institutions, both urban and rural, at the primary, secondary, higher, and adult education levels alike, may provide a sound means for securing the maximum possibl e utilization of educational frequencies.82 82 Braum 14191421. Studebaker testified at the October 13, 1944, FCC hearings regarding the allocation of FM frequencies to NCE stations. He requested an additional allocation of broadcast channels for educational broadcasting for use by local school systems, colleges and universities, and by state departments of education. Studebaker was more certain than ever of the need for channels to be set aside for NCE FM broadcasting because substant ial numbers of educational organizations were making definite plans to construct FM stations as soon as the wartime restrictions on manufacturing were eased. The USOE had correspondence on file showing that official plans existed in 28 states to pro vide educational broadcasting to every school and every home in those states. He indicated that the planned broadcast stations would reach three quarters of the total population of the U.S. Six other states had plans for individual NCE stations at city school systems, colleges, and universities. Studebaker did not mention religious or other types of nonprofit broadcasters. He focused exclusively on the use of NCE stations by public school systems, colleges, or universities. Studebaker requested a minimum of fifteen consecutive channels, each 200 kilocycles in width, to be allocated exclusively for noncommercial educational FM broadcasting. He also requested that at least two television channels be reserved for educational assignment: Although such interest in television as schools have indicated to date provides no adequate basis for predicting how soon, or to what extent the schools wil l become interested in television broadcasting, it is my firm belief that certain facilities of this kind should be reserved for educational use. To this end, I have recommended that at least
113 two television channels be reserved for educational assignment.83Fly in January of 1944. In making these requests, he referenced a letter that he sent to FCC Chairman James L. 84of Education. He also identified the first allocation of NCE channels in 1937 (formally announced in January 1938) as being based upon an offic ial request of the U.S. Office 85Studebaker discussed the need for home listeners to be able to receive the new school stations broadcasts. Reflecting his interest in adult education, he disclosed that some of the plans for FM stations included adult education programs and general inf ormation programs 83 John Ward Studebaker Official Report of Proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission at Washington, D.C.: 13 October 1944. In the matter of: Allocation of Frequencies to the Various Classes of Non Governme ntal Services in the Radio Spectrum from 10 kilocycles to 30,000,000 kilocycles. Docket No. 6651. Non Commercial Educational. 143536. 84 In Studebakers presentation, he cited a May 1943 speech given by FCC Chairman James L. Fly at the Institute for Education by Radio (IER) at Columbus, Ohio. Fly warned educational broadcasters that pressure was already being applied to the FCC to assign NCE channels in some large cities to commercial FM applicants. The ether is far too crowded, the pressure from other interests seeking to use radio far too great, to permit continued reservation of those channels, unless educators actually get busy and fi ll them with educational stations. These [referring to building stations, operating them, and supplying programs] are things education must supply for itself. And it must do so promptly if its channels are to be maintained. For, as I cannot too strongly suggest, if education does not move into the home set aside for it, there will be plenty of others who will first seek and then demand admission to the vacant rooms. 85 The FREC, chaired by Studebaker, responded to Chairman Flys warnings by passing a resolution authorizing Studebaker to contact educators around the country to encourage them to move forward with their plans for FM stations. The USOE sent copies of Chairman Flys comments with mailings to educators who were planning new stations, and the staff discussed the issue with local and regional educators. Their efforts resulted in letters of inquiry from school systems and colleges all over the country, many of them new to broadcasting. State departments of education also wrote to enquire a bout statewide systems of broadcast stations in Ohio, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maryland. See Studebaker Report of Proceeding Docket No. 6651. Non Commercial Educational. 14301436.
114 that would not be offered by commercial stations. He also believed that school owned FM stations would broadcast programming outside of normal school hours that would supplement the regular work of the school day. He hoped that suc h broadcasts would take the place of traditional kinds of homework. Finally, he hoped that school owned stations would broadcast educational programs that would help young adults adjust to adult life, with programs about civic, social, and occupational, r esponsibilities. For the programming to reach its intended audience, Studebaker noted that standard AM FM home receiving sets would have to pick up the NCE broadcasts.86Studebaker continued his presentation to the FCC by discussing his requests to Chair man Fly that the Commission deal with several technical issues, including guidelines to aid in the assignment of frequencies to individual NCE stations so that interference issues would be reduced while allowing the maximum use of available NCE channels. In addition, he asked for ten relay transmission frequencies for NCE use to link statewide networks via relay transmission beams. He also requested that studio transmitter link frequencies be set aside for NCE stations where the studios were separated geo graphically from the transmitter sites. 87 Neither the Commission nor Studebaker define d educational in their statements and regulations, despite Studebakers concern that the term was overly broad and FCC staff asked for Studebakers guidance when evalua ting NCE applications. He held that the term educational agency referred to secular, mainstream educational organizations such as public schools systems with more than one campus, thus preventing the Moody Bible Institute from receiving 86 Studebaker Report of Proceeding Docket No. 6651. Non Commercial Educational. 143233. 87 Studebaker Report of Proceeding Docket No. 6651. Non Commercial Educational. 143334.
115 an NCE license i n 1939. Soon, colleges and universities were awarded NCE licenses. Religious educational organizations like the Moody Bible Institute (MBI) were not allowed access to the FM noncommercial educational wavelengths at first. MBIs application for an NCE st ation dated June 17, 1938, was denied and they were encouraged to apply for a commercial license.88 Th e secular definition of education reflects the mind s et of the educational groups that were represented in the FREC from the mainstream of public educat ion. Studebaker stated publicly that the members of the FREC were carefully chosen in a sincere attempt to secure a broad and democratic representation of all groups concerned with this problem and having divergent points of view. 89 T he representatives were chosen from groups with a traditional public education philosophy.90 88 Moody Bible Institute Application for NonCommercial Educational Station. 17 June 1938. Docket 5321. General Records of the Federal Communications Commission, Record Group 173. National Archives II, College Park, Maryland. 89 Studebaker "Radio in the Service of Education," 33. Groups that were not in line with public educational philosophies were not included, like conservative religious groups. American public education was a secular entity when NCE lice nsing came into being, so certain religious organizations were not recognized as traditional educational groups. Other nonprofit organizations, such as labor unions and social agency groups ; were also denied access to the NCE band since they were not reco gnized as educational organizations. Studebaker, in his role as commissioner of education, represented the secular public education interpretation of the term educational and helped to establish a mind set at the FCC that continued well into the public broadcasting era, preventing 90 C. M. Marsh, ed. Educational Broadcas ting 1936, "Roster of the Federal Radio Education Committee." 452.
116 most organizations that were not secular and traditionally educational in their approach to broadcasting from having access to the NCE band.91 Studebakers importance to the history of noncommercial educational broadcasting and public broadcasting has not been fully appreciated or recognized by historians. His staff at the USOE believed that his influence with the FCC was responsible for the creation of the NCE category of licensing with the set aside ultra high frequency channels in January of 1938. His selection by the FCC to chair the Federal Radio Education Committee, the inclusion of his report on educational broadcasting in the 1938 Broadcast Matters file when FCC staff recommended the creation of NCE broadcasting, is telling. Studebakers staff claimed he influenced FCC Commissioners James L. Fly and Clifford Durr to support FM channels being set aside for educational use and the 1945 meetings whic h resulted in the current reserved 20 FM channels 87.9 to 91.9 MHz in the FM spectrum. 92 91 Moody Bible Institute 40 RR 2d 1264, 12661270 (1977). Moody Bible Institute 66 FCC 2d 162. 92 Roland R. Lowdermilk was head of the Educational Media Department during part of Studebakers tenure at the USOE. Lowdermilk claims that he persuaded Studebaker to support the use of FM rather than shortwave radio for educational radio. Lowdermilk attend ed the Annual Institute for Radio Education in 1936 to learn about FM and he investigated the experimental use of FM at the Riverside, Illinois police department. Lowdermilk told Studebaker FM was better than AM. He demonstrated FM in his home to Studeba ker after arranging for the station to broadcast Studebakers favorite music. Studebaker asked him to investigate FM further and supported the use of FM for educational purposes. On March 19, 1940 in a hearing before the FCC, Studebaker changed the USOE official request to FM rather than AM (shortwave propagation) for the schools at Lowdermilks suggestion. See Paul Clifford Pickett Dissertation notes, Roland R. Lowdermilk interview, March 8, 1965, University of Iowa Archives, Iowa City, Iowa. Finally, his staff gave him credit for the early interest in utilizing television for educational purposes and reserving television channels for the exclusive
117 use of education.93 Studebaker's interest in education by radio and television was a natural outgrowth of his interest in adult education. His successful work in developing public forums as an extension of adult education under girding the preservation of American democracy and his work in the area of communications led to a position of leadership in the fight to establish educational broadcasting licensing and programming. Though Studebaker stood with a large contingent of educators who lobbied for support and protection of educational radio and educational television, the story of his unique position in the history of educational and public broadcasting has bee n overlooked. He provided an informal but binding definition of educational that kept out religious licensees for years. 94 93 Pi ckett 180184. 94 Gordon Studebaker, l etter to Laura D. Johnson, 31 May 2001.
118 CHAPTER 5 FCC DECISIONS AND CASES RELATED TO NCE L ICENSING BETWEEN 1938 AND 1980 FCC Decisions and Cases 1938 to 1951 On June 24, 1938, the Moody Bible Institute was the first religious applicant to request a construction permit for a new noncommercial educational radio station MBI applied to operate at 41,300 kc with a power of 100 watts with unlimited time but the application was denied as were all applications by religious gro ups at that time. Moody gained a license for WDLM in the commercial FM band in 1941. In 1945, the FCC overhauled frequency allocations in the FM band. The Commission moved the FM band to its present position of 88.1 to 107.9 MHz, and reserved twenty c ha nnels f or the use of noncommercial educational stations in the conterminous states.1 The FCC issued a report in 1946 titled Public Service Responsibility of Broadcast Licensees known (because of its cover) as the Blue Book. 2 1 In Alaska, other channels were used because the FM band was set aside for other (non broadcast) use. Today, noncommercial stations are found all over the radio dia l in Alaska. See footnote #1 of In the Matter of Changes in the Rules Relating to Noncommercial Educational FM Broadcast Stations, Second Report and Order, 69 FCC 2d 240 (adopted June 7, 1978). See the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Public Broadcast ing Directory, 1996. 2 The three people who were primarily responsible for its contents were FCC Commissioner Clifford Durr, Commission staff member Edward Brecher, and Charles Siepmann, former executive of the British Broadcasting Corporation. Se e Federal Communications Commission, Public Service Responsibility of Broadcast Licensees (The Blue Book), Frank J. Kahn, ed., Documents of American Broadcasting, (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: PrenticeHall, 1984) 148149. Concerns about commercial radio programming content had led the Commission to begin comparing the programming that licensees claimed they would offer (in license applications) to the programming they actually broadcast. The Commission found inconsistenc ies and started challenging erring broadcasters by issuing temporary renewals and holding hearings. They also formulated a comprehensive
119 statement regarding programming policy, and that was the Blue Book.3entertainment, music of both classical and lighter grades, religion, education, and instruction, important public events, discussion of public questions, weather, market reports, news and matters of interest to all member s of the famil y. On page ten the report lists types of programming that a broadcast station should provide in order to meet the public interest requirement. The listing applied to all licensees, commercial and noncommercial. Citing the Great Lakes decision of 1929, the report suggest ed that a well rounded program ser vice should provide : 4 In 1949, the FCC granted an NCE license to the Pacifica Foundation, a nonprofit private community organization Pacifica was founded by Lewis Hill, a Quaker influenced, pacifist, and conscientious objector. The Blue Book reiterated the 1929 Great Lakes Statements support of general public service stations that provided programming that served a general audience, including educational and religious programming as a part of the total programming. The FCC restated in the Blue Book that they did not support the licensing of stations that they believed had a narrow or sectarian message, such as religious broadcasters, and few religious stations were licensed during that era. Only a few colleges and unive rsities founded by religious organizations that offered general purpose radio programming were allowed to have a license. Religious broadcasters who wished to present a religious message had to buy time or be given sustaining time from stations and networks. 5 3 Kahn 148151. 4 Federal Communications Commission, Public Service Responsibility of Broadcast Licensees, 7 March 1946, 10. See Kahn 150151. See also FRC, Annual Report 1929, 3335. 5 Jesse Walker, Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America (New York: New York UP, 2001) 41. The station received first NCE license granted to an organization that
120 was not affiliated with a school or university. The license was for KPFA in Berkeley, California, Pacificas first station.6 At that time, all NCE stations were operated by educatio nal institutions rather than organizations founded for the sole purpose of operating an NCE station.7 The granting of this license created a new type of noncommercial educational broadcaster known today as the community licensee. Some community station s, such as the Pacifica stations, are also called free form stations because they may not have a set format.8 Prior to the Pacifica decision in 1949, t he FCC received a petition in January from the Radio Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas The petitioners asked that the Commission amend its ru les to extend to religious organizations the privileges and exemptions granted to noncommercial educational FM broadcast stations. The Commission held a hearing for oral arguments to determine if, under the Constitution, they could establish a specific c ategory of religious broadcast stations. In December of 1949, the petitioners expanded their petition to include all tax exempt nonprofit organizations. On June 27, 1950, t he FCC directed that oral arguments be By granting an NCE license to a community group, the decision also established the precedent that successful applicants for reserved FM channel s did not have to be educational institutions. In addition, the group did not have to be organized by professional educators or be affiliated with a professional educational organization or institution or accredited by an educational agency. 6 F. Leslie Smith, Perspectives on Radio and Television: Telecommunication in the United States, 3rd ed., (New York: Harper & Row, 1990) 508. 7 List of Educational FM Radio Stations and Educational AM Radio Stations as Submitted by FCC at Senate Hearings on S. 1160, Appearing at Pages 98105 of Such Hearings. Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. 26 June 1967. 8 Sydney W. Head and Christopher H. Sterling, Broadcasting in America: A Survey of Television, Radio, and New Technologies, 4th ed., (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982) 174175.
121 held to determine if the public interest would be served by establishing a new class of FM service for nonprofit organizations that were not educational institutions The first hearings were held on July 31, 1950. I n October, the Commission en banc heard additional arguments from other religious organizations including the University Baptist Church of Baltimore, Maryland, et al; the First Congregational Church of Hackensack, New Jersey;9 and the Protestant Radio Commission,10 represented by their lawyer, former FCC Commis sioner Clifford Durr. The Civil Liberties Union also filed a memorandum supporting the petition. In July 1951 the petition was denied and the commission stated in the decision that there had not been a showing of substantial demand for the new service to be operated by tax exempt nonprofit organizations 11FCC Decisions and Cases 1960 to 1969 On March 23, 1960 the FCC considered a petition filed on July 15, 1958 by Miss S. Nisenbaum, a member of the teaching profession at Oscoda, Michigan. She sought to have Section 73.503(a) (2) of the FCC rules changed so that privately controlled educational 9 Alexander A. McKenzie, Trustee and Technical Director for Radio at the First Congregational C hurch of Hackensack, New Jersey wrote that the church had been informed in October 1948 by FCC staff that there was no provision for licensing church stations in the educational FM band. The church then applied for a developmental broadcast station construction permit, which was also denied, since the application c ame from a church. McKenzie supported the Southern Baptist Petition because his church wanted to operate a radio station. 10 The Protestant Radio Service was a nonprofit association that produced radio and television programming for broadcast. One of its purposes was the promotion of the more effective use of radio as a religious, educational, and cultural medium. Its membership included mainline denominations and more liberal denominations. The group did not support a separate category of low powe r NCE FM stations for the exclusive use of religious organizations. It also opposed licensing for religious groups in the reserved NCE band. 11 Federal Communications Commission, In re the Joint Petition of the Radio Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Memorandum Opinion and Order. Docket No. 9470. 25 July 1991: 16 FCC 46.
122 institutions or their affiliated bodies would be eligible for a noncommercial educational FM station license only if they were accredited by state depar tments of education or recognized regional and national educational accrediting organizations. At that time, subparagraph (2) of Section 73.503 indicated that accreditation would be a consideration (not a requirement) for determining the eligibility of pr ivately controlled educational organizations for an NCE license. Subparagraph (1) of the same section indicated that accreditation would be taken into consideration in determining the eligibility of publicly supported educational applicants However, Mis s Nisenbaum did not seek a change in accreditation requirements for publicly supported educational applicants, thus her petition only addressed subparagraph (2).12 The Pacifica Foundation, licensee of KPF A FM at Berkeley, California and of KPIK FM, Lo s Angeles, opposed Miss Nisenbaums petition. Pacifica, as a private nonprofit organization, was not an accredited educational institution such as a school or university and her petition challenged their right to hold an NCE license. Mi ss Nisenbaum sough t to change the rules because she anticipated that individuals and groups unable or unqualified to acquire commercial FM broadcast facilities would apply for reserved NCE FM broadcast frequencies. She feared a group would be able to qualify for a license by merely organizing a non profit corporation and stating that its objectives are educational. She sought accreditation of a privately controlled educational organization to insure that the station would be under the control and direction of responsible educators who would develop and broadcast genuine educational programs. She 12 Federal Communications Commission. Agenda for Broadcast Matters. 23 March 1960. Item 10. Petition of Miss S. Nisenbaum, Oscoda, Michigan. In the Matter of Amendment of Section 3.503 (a) (2), Licensing Requirements and Service, Noncommercial Educational FM Broadcast Stati ons. Memorandum Opinion and Order FCC 60 281. Record Group 173. National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
123 also believed that accredited educational institutions would make the most efficient and responsible use of the limited number of FM NCE channels. The FCC rejected Nisenb aums proposal as being too narrow. The Commission did not want to limit licensing of stations on the reserved channels to institutions that were accredited by state departments of education or were recognized by regional and national accrediting organiza tions. The Commission stated that other organizations seeking licenses would continue to be granted after thorough consideration of their qualifications as a nonprofit educational organization and their showing that they would provide a service for the advancement of an educational program. The FCC was not convinced by Miss Nisenbaums argument that the rule needed to be changed. They said an organization under private control did not have to be accredited to be a bona fide educational organizat ion with responsible management and worthy educational objectives. The Commission believed it would be extremely arbitrary and not in the public interest to deny licensing solely because of a lack of accreditation. The Commission noted that the few aut horizations that were held by privately controlled educational organizations such as libraries and foundations were granted only after they had met the requirements of being a nonprofit educational foundation seeking to provide a nonprofit and noncommercial broadcast service for the advancement of an educational program.13 The Commissioners argued that more than 95 percent of the existing noncommercial educational FM radio stations were licensed to public school districts, boards of education, and colleges and universities. They did not appear to want to shut the door on qualified private organizations by creating tougher standards. They noted that few private organizations applied or NCE licenses and that there had been no increase in the numbers of private applications. The 13 FCC, Petition of Miss S. Nisenbaum 23 March 1960.
124 Commission believed that the existing rules and procedures were sufficient to block applications by spurious educat ional organizations and to prevent their qualification for an NCE FM broadcast license. Thus the Nisenbaum petition was denied. With this decision, the FCC declared, in effect, that it would not limit NCE licenses to accredited educational institutions. The decision established a precedent that allowed the definition of educational to be relaxed. The FCC did not view accreditation by an educational organization as being essential to NCE licensing. Also i n 1960, the Moody Bible Institute received an NCE license from the FCC to operate WMBI FM, 90.1 MHz, in Chicago. Prior to 1960, religious institutions found it difficult to gain a license in the NCE reserved portion of the FM band because the FCC often found that the primary purpose of the applicant was religious rather than educational and would deny the license. R eligious organizations such as churches were routinely discouraged by the FCC from taking part in the application process, since the primary purpose of a church was viewed by FCC as religious, not educational. The FCC allowed some religious institutions (but few churches) licensing in the reserved FM band because it was not in great demand before 1960. Secular educators were slow to apply for FM licenses and many FM NCE channels were still available in the late 1950s. MBI administrators recognized the coming popularity of FM and were successful in their application for WMBI FM. The ad hoc nature of FCC policy decisions toward religious applicants for NCE licensing allowed a few applicants s uch as MBI to gain a license in the NCE reserved band. The reasoning used to support the successful religious applicants while denying other applicants was not consistent and was usually not explained in the official, published decisions. Moody had a long standing relationship with the FCC that helped it succeed where most religious
125 organizations failed. However, as shall be shown, Moody had a more difficult time persuading the FCC to grant NCE licenses in the 1970s. The Symphony Network Association, Inc. (SNA) of Birmingham, Alabama requested the reservation of ninety four specific frequency assignments in the noncommercial FM band for a nationwide National Symphony Network. First filed in November 1965, the application proposed programming that included commercials. T he petitioners amended the petition on July 7, 1966 to delete all advertising on the educational FM frequencies. The network was designed to bring the class appeal of great music to mass appeal. The network would have consisted of stations individually owned, primarily by local symphony orchestras and possibly others affiliated with the Symphony Network Association. SNA planned to provide broadcast services for the network and to act as the advertising agency which takes a product and merchandises it. SNA believed that the small national classical audience would not be adequately served by local stations but a network c ould provide an audience that would give broad sales potential for a qualified national sponsor.14efforts in hopes to show education a better and more effective means of communications. SN A also stated that educational broadcasters were not using radio as an efficient, effective universal communications medium, because educational broadcasters used an intellectual appeal, rather than an emotional appeal to stimulate the audience. Th e Symphony Network did not intend to replace educational broadcasting but intended to supplement existing 15 14 George S. Smith, Inter Office Memorandum, Broadcast Agenda: Item No. 3. Petition for rule making to amend educational FM rules to provide for a National Symphony Network, RM 881, 2 November 1966, Record Group 173, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland. 15 Federal Communications Commission, Memorandum Opinion and Or der: In the Matter of Amendment of Subpart C of Part 73, noncommercial educational FM broadcast stations to provide for a National Symphony Network. RM 881. Adopted 9 November 1966, Record Group 173, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
126 The National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) and three educational stations opposed the Symphony petition and filed statements against creating the network. T he opponents argued that the FCC set aside the NCE FM band for nonprofit education al organizations that intended to broadcast educational programming to specific schools and to transmit educational, cultural and entertainment programs to the general public. The Symphony Network petition was not consistent with those regulatory requir ements of NCE broadcasters according to the NAEB. The educators expressed concern that the NCE frequencies were being used at a higher rate than ever before and that these scarce frequencies should not be diverted from their primary comprehensive use f or programming all aspects of education, instruction, culture and entertainment.16 The FCC denied the SNA request giving four reasons. First, there was no real need shown for the proposed service Second, a grant of the application would preclude growth of regular educational FM stations in many communities Third, the application proposed commercial use of the band set aside for purely noncommercial operation Finally, SNA could not accomplish its intended coverage and objectives without a via ble financial plan for support of the network. 17In this case an application to create a secular network of stations was denied. The plan was During the first four decades of NCE licensing, the FCC seldom granted licenses that allowed the creation of a network of stations unless the network belonged to a public educational entity such as a scho ol system. The Commission usually blocked requests from religious broadcasters to gain licensing in communities other than those in which they operated a school. 16 FCC, National Symphony Network 9 November 1966. 17 FCC, National Symphony Network 9 November 1966.
127 flawed on several points, but it helped continue the precedent of not allowing networks for most NCE licensees. During the 1960s educators and educational groups and various organizations put forth a concerted effort to develop an educational b roadcasting system. The most influential organizations in this effort were the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation. Between them, they funded extensive research and programming that led to the development of a new type of educational broadcasting called public broadcasting. The National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) proposed in June 1963 that the organization should create a radio division. In early 1964, the radio division became known as National Educational Radio (NER) and one of its first tasks was to connect educational institutions with a live radio network. In September 1965 the first interconnection of educational radio stations was achieved by the NER. The group held a conference in September 1966 which led to a st udy of 320 educational radio stations in the United States. The resulting report, The Hidden Medium: Educational Radio was finished just as Congress began hearings on the public broadcasting bill. Though Congress began work on a bill to promote public t elevision, the work of the NER and the NAEB helped bring educational radio under the umbrella of the public television bill which became known as the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act.18 In 1967, t he Carnegie Foundation issued a report titled: Public Television: a Program for Action propos ing a n independently funded public educational television system fr ee from political influence. The report focused on television while leaving educational radio out. 19 18 Robert J. Blakely, To Serve the Public Interest: Educational Broadcasting in the United States (Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1979) 147151. 19 Blakely 177. The purpose of the report was to extend and strengthen educational television through the
128 improvement of programming, facilities, coverage, program production, program distribution, and funding. The report separated educational programming into instruc tional programming and a more general type of educational programming that was aimed at the public.20 The Carnegie Commission rejected the use of the term educational television in favor of public television. The choice of the term was a public relat ions device designed to get under the radar of a public that might reject a broadcast system that appeared to be overtly educational.21 Th e proposal led to the passage of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 that created a system for public television and public radio in the United States.22 The Carnegie report opened the door to a broadened definition of education (in relation to broadcasting) by suggesting that NCE licensees could become public broadcasters without defining the term public. Robert B lakely reported that it was called a name without a concept by Les Brown. 23 The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 The Commission advocated freedom for the new public television system: freedom from commercialism, freedom from financial restraints, freedom to create and innovate, and freedom of the viewer to see programs that could not be seen on existing broadcast systems. But the Commission did not define what public broadcasting should be. 24 20 Carnegie Commission on Educational Television, Public Television: A Program for Action, The Report and Recommendations of the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television (New York: Harper & Row, 1967). 21 Blakely 178. 22 Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Pub. L. 90129; 81 Stat. 365 (1967). 23 Blakely 179. See Les Brown, Television and the Business Behind the Box (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971) 319. amended Section 390 of the Communications Act of 1934 by i nserting noncommercial before the term educational. The Act allowed for a 24 Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Pub. L. 90129; 81 Stat. 365 (1967).
129 nonprofit foundation, corporation, or association that is organized primarily to engage in or encourage noncommercial educational radio broadcasting and is eligible to receive a license from the Federal Communications Commission.25 The Act also defined the term educational programs as those that are primarily designed for educational or cultural purposes.26 The A ct included educational radio program development as a function of the newly established Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). For the first time, educational radio was recognized as an eligible applicant for matching grants for facilities from the U.S. Office of Education.27 The House Conference Report on the 1967 Act offered a definition of Educational Television or Radio Programs to mean programs that are primarily designed for educational or cultural purposes and not primarily for amusement or entertainment purposes. T he House bill contained the same language but the phrase and not primarily for amusement or entertainment purposes. was deleted before the bill was passed by Congress. In addition, the Act established the term public broadcasting as a standard term for noncommercial educational broadcasting. 28 25 The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, Pub. L. No. 90129; 81 Stat. 365. 394 (1967). 47 U.S.C. Section 201, Part IV of title III. (7) The term noncommercial educational broadcast station means a television or radio broadcast station, which (A) under the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission in effect on the date of enactment of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, is eligible to be licensed or is licenses by the Commission as a noncommercial education al radio or television broadcast station and which is owned and o[operated by a public agency or nonprofit private foundation, corporation, or association or (B) is owned and operated by a municipality and which transmits only noncommercial programs for ed ucational use. 26 47 U.S.C. Section 201, Part IV of Title III, subpart C (9). 27 Educational Radio. Information Bulletin 21E. Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C.: (1975) 5. 28 Conference Report on the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. House Report No. 794, 90th Cong., 1st Sess. 1 (1967). The Senate version had no restrictions on amusement or entertainment. Had the entire phrase been left intact in the final
130 version of the 1967 Act, as stated in the House bill, it is possible that public educational broadcasting might have r etained a more traditionally educational and instructional character. As passed, the 1967 Act broadened the definition of educational broadcasting to include entertainment as an acceptable goal. The gradual relaxation of the definition of the terms education and educational in FCC NCE decisions over the decades after the creation of NCE broadcasting, led to public programming that no longer reflected traditional public education goals. The creation of public broadcasting was a major transition po int in the history of NCE broadcasting. After the passage of the 1967 Act, NCE broadcasting moved further away from its traditional educational roots. Over time, stations broadcast fewer curriculum based programs, adopting a new approach to NCE broadcast ing modeled by National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) for television. In July 1968 the FCC considered an application from Christ Church Foundation, Inc. of Washington, D.C., for a construction permit for a new noncom mercial educational FM station in Washington, D.C. After consideration, the Commission informed Christ Church representatives that the organization was not a nonprofit educational organization within the meaning of the Commissions rules. The application was not accepted for filing and was returned to the organization. The Commission did not publish the text of the decision, only the fact that the application was not acceptable for filing since the organization did not meet FCC requirements for nonprofit educational organizations. The reasons for the decision are spelled out i n the minutes of the meeting by the Acting Broadcast Bureau Chief James O. Juntilla. He explained that the Bureau staff found that the purpose of the organization was not essentially educational in nature. Rather,
131 from a reading of its Articles and its programming proposal, it appears that its basic purposes are religious rather than educational.29 Juntilla explained that the Foundation was neither accredited nor recognized by an educational accrediting organization. Though these criteria were not required by the FCC for NCE licensing, they were factors that could be taken into consideration under Section 73.503(a)(2). The staff of the FCC Broadcast Bureau held t hat the Foundation did not m e et the educa tional requirements even as they acknowledged that there was not a clear precedent on the issue. 30 The FCC found that the changes were more cosmetic t han actual, noting that the same A fter the FCC returned the application to Christ Church Foundation the organization had the opportunity to re submit the application in amended form to meet the Commissions objections. I n November 1968, the Commission considered an application for a construction permit for a new NCE station filed by the National Educational Foundation, Inc. of Washington, D.C. the organization formerly known as Christ Church Foundation, Inc. The new Foundation changed several aspects of the application including the name of the organization and the corporate articles. The new bylaws focus ed on educational activities, changed the structure of the executive board and advisory board, and made programming to reflect a more educational approach to the programming. 29 Federal Communications Commission, Agenda for Aural Matters, 17 July 1968, Item #3. Application for new noncommercial educational FM station filed by Christ Church Foundation, Inc (NEW) Washington, D. C. 2 Record Group 173, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland. 30 Federal Communications Commission, Agenda for Aural Matters, 17 July 1968 Item #3. Application for new noncommercial educational FM station filed by Christ Church Foundation, Inc (NEW) Washington, D.C. 2 Record Group 173, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
132 individuals appeared to hold similar positions to those in the original application The educational programs were projected to fill 30 percent of the programming, with religious programming slightly higher at 35 percent. Thus, the FCC did not alter its original finding that the Fo undation was primarily religious rather than educational and consequently could not meet the educational requirements for an NCE license.31 31 Federal Communications Commission, Minute #506A 68, Commission Meeting: Aural Matters, 26 November 1968, Item #6 Adopted Order, FCC 681143 13. The official FCC record reported that the Commission denied the petition for reconsideration and returned the re ten dered application to the National Educational Foundation, Inc. Once again, the FCC published the official decision without explanation stating simply that the application was denied. The FCC did not recognize that they were holding religious applicants t o a different standard than other applicants such as the Pacifica applicants. The approval of the Pacifica application in 1949 to a secular group that was not traditionally educational with accreditation or recognition from an established educational orga nization created a precedent for such groups. By not requiring accreditation from NCE applicants, in response to the Nisenbaum case, the FCC established a precedent that weakened their ability to restrict access to the NCE band. By denying religious appl ications while citing the lack of accreditation in the unpublished record (in the minutes of official meetings), the FCC violated the First Amendment rights of religious applicants by discriminating against them. By not publishing the reasoning behind the decision, the FCC avoided creating a precedent, which allowed the ad hoc approach to the granting of NCE licenses to continue. By granting NCE FM licenses to religious institutions such as the
133 Moody Bible Institute in 1960 and to Dordt College32FCC Decisions and Cases 1970 to 1980 in Sioux City Iowa in 1969, the FCC opened the door to religious NCE licensing. The broadened definition of noncommercial educational broadcasting that grew out of the Carnegie Commissions report and the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act further undermined t he FCC attempts to limit the access of religious broadcasters in the NCE FM band. On November 25, 1970 the Commission dismissed an NCE FM application (BPED 897) for a construction permit for a ne w station from the Keswick Foundation, Inc. of Nashville, Tennessee.33pursuant to section 1.566(a) of the Commissions rules which calls for dismissal of applications patently not in conformity with the Commissions rules which were inadvertently accepted for filing. The applicant was notified by letter of concerns regarding the religious purpose of the station and the application was dismissed 34 The Keswick Foundation was based in Nashville, Tennessee as a nonprofit corporation that planned to buil d schools and radio stations. At the time of the application, the applicant had 32 Dordt Colleges website states that Dordt College is an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective. Its mission is to equip students, alumni and the broader community to work effectively toward Christcentered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. 33 The Keswick Conferences began in Cumberland, England in 1875. Dwight Moody introduced the Keswick model to America when he created the Northfield Conferences in Northfield, Massachusetts. Keswick teaching reflects the holiness movement that grew out of American Methodism. In most holiness teaching, a perfected way of living included a post conversion act of complete surrender to Gods will. Keswick holiness teaching was fully integrated into the Christian fundamentalist network of conferences, Bible schools, and faith missions. See Gene A. Getz, The Story of the Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, Illinois: Moody P, 1969) 267. See Joel A. Carpenter, Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1997) 81. 34 Ben F. Waple, Letter 25 November 1970. see Federal Communications Commission, Agenda for Aural Matters, Application for a non commercial educational FM broadcast construction permit filed by Keswick Foundation, Nashville, Tennessee, (BPED 897), 25 November 1970, Record Group 173, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
134 not yet built a school and this application was its first foray into broadcasting. The organization was not accredited by any educational accrediting authority. The Keswick application did not propose a religious purpose to the station but the FCC staff led by Francis R. Walsh, Chief of the Broadcast Bureau, noted that the application suggested that the primary purpose of the station seemed to be religious. Keswick contended that its programs could be incorporated into a classroom based curriculum T he FCC staff believed that the proposed programming breakdown indicated otherwise. The application proposed to devote almost fifty percent of station programming to religion and about twelve percent to education. The seven directors of the foundation included three ministers One director was employed by a missionary organization. Walsh noted that the Keswick letterhead contain ed the caption Faith Cometh by Hearing with imag es of an open Bible with a cross and a radio tower. Keswicks application was dismissed since the Commission found the applicant was not a nonprofit educational organization under Section 73.503. The FCC believed that the primary purpose of the organizat ion was religious and not educational though the nonprofit organization appeared to meet the FCC criteria regarding NCE stations.35 In a footnote to the Inter Office Memorandum that recommend ed the dismissal of the Keswick application, FCC officials noted that other concerns regarding financing, missing documentation of the organizations bylaws, and the serious question of possible misrepresentation had not been formally addressed but would be through hearings if Keswick were found by the Commission to be eligible for the NCE license.36 35 Keswick Foundation, Inc 226 F.C.C. 2d 1025 25 November 1970. 36 Francis R. Walsh, InterOffice Memorandu m: Aural Agenda, Application for a noncommercial educational FM broadcast construction permit (BPED 897), 12 November 1970, See footnote #2 on page two, Record Group 173, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
135 The Commission argued Keswick showed a religious purpose in this application ( and in an earlier application submitted by the Foundation) for the station, not an educational purpose. The FCC did not publish its reasons for the decision, choosing instead to simply publish that the application had been dismissed.37 In 1971, t he FCC dismissed an application from the Bible Moravian Church, Inc. for a n FM NCE radio station. In the first filing, the Broadcast Bureau of the FCC found that the Bible Moravian Church of WinstonSalem, N.C. did not meet the Commi ssion requirements to be considered an educational organization, was pri marily a religious organization and was therefore not eligible for an NCE license. The Church challenged th e ruling, arguing that education is the quintessence of religion. The Church maintained that education, mainly within religious education, was the principal purpose of the Church, although the application stated that the church offered secular education as well. In this decision as in some earlier decisions regarding religious applicants ( e.g. Christ Church Foundation, National Education Foundation) the FCC avoided the creation of a precedential decision by limiting the official published record to the stated decision and by not publishin g the reasons behind the decision. Through this technique, the FCC avoided creating public criteria for licensing NCE stations. By keeping the criteria in house, and not public, the FCC had more freedom when deciding NCE cases involving religion. 38 After the application was dismissed, Bible Moravian Church resubmitted its application without making any changes. The FCC denied the application. Though the Articles of 37 Keswick Foundation, Inc 226 F.C.C. 2d 1025 25 November 1970. See also Walsh, Application for a noncommercial educational FM broadcast construction permit (BPED 897), 12 November 1970, Record Group 173, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland. 38 Federal Communications C ommission, In re Application of Bible Moravian Church, Inc. Winston Salem, North Carolina, FCC 71 280, Memorandum Opinion and Order. 28 F.C.C. 2d 13. See also 21 Pike and Fischer RR 492494.
136 Incorporation gave the church the authority to engage in educational activities, the FCC argued that the Church had not proven that educational activities had been significantly implemented. The Commission believed the Articles of Incorporation showed that education and other activities were incidental to the main goals of the church which were religious in nature. The Commission stated that it looked at the application as a whole to evaluate the religious purposes and the educational purposes. If the religious purpose is pre dominant and the educational purpose is incidental to and supportive of the religious function, then the organization is not an educational one. Thus, the FCC denied the application, though the Commission found the Church was a nonprofit organization with meritorious purposes, because the FCC decided that the Church was not an educational organization.39 Also, in June, 1971, the FCC granted a construction permit for a new NCE FM station to Pensacola Christian School (PCS), in Pensacola, Florida. WPCS transmitted on 89.3 MHz in the FM reserved band with 100,000 watts of power. An example of the ad hoc nature of religious NCE decisions by the FCC, in this case, the FCC believed that the application met the Commission requirement for an NCE license because the institution was a school that offered a broad spectrum of classes. However, in May 1973, t he FCC dismissed an application from Pensacola Christian School The s chool sought to operate broadcast translator stations in three different communities at 105.5 MHz Though this frequency is not in the reserved NCE band, the FCC treated the application as an NCE application since the school planned to rebroadcast the The FCC denied the applications by Keswick, Christ Church Foundation (and the related National Educational Foundation), and Bible Moravian by stating that each organization was not eligible for an NCE license because they were religious organizations and not educational. 39 FCC Bible Moravian Church.
137 signal of WPCS, an NCE station. In this case, the FCC stated that Pensacola Christian School was not eligible for an NCE license in a town outside of Pensacola since it was a religious app licant. Pensacola Christian School was eligible only for an NCE license in the town where it was located because it was a school and met the educational requirements. This appears to be the first time that the FCC publicly stated a local school requiremen t for religious broadcasters. In the first two years of NCE licensing, the FCC stipulated that public schools were eligible for NCE licensing later adding that NCE licenses should be awarded to school systems with more than one school campus. In the WPCS case, the FCC held religious broadcasters to a different or higher standard than secular applicants because the Commission created a new policy that denied Pensacola Christian licenses in other communities by stating As a matter of policy, where an appl icant is found to be qualified as a noncommercial educational licensee only because it operates a school in the community to which the station is to be licensed, the Commission will not authorize that licensee to construct and operate an FM educational station in another community where it does not operate a school.40 The Commission cited the Keswick Foundation decision of 1970 as support for this policy. However, the official FCC published Keswick decision is a short statement of dismissal and does not mention the school policy as a formal statement of policy in the public record. This policy was not stated in any prior FCC public documents or cases. In addition, secular noncommercial organizations and in stitutions that operated schools were able to gain licensing in other communities. Finally, the school policy is not stated in the unpublished official FCC minutes of the meeting where the Keswick application was formally denied. It appears that the FCC tried to limit religious broadcasters access to the NCE band by adding restrictions to the in 40 Federal Communications Commission. In re Application by Pensacola Christian School, Inc., Pensacola, Florida, FCC 73 184, 41 F.C.C. 2d 7475.
138 house guidelines used by the Commission to evaluate NCE applicants. This method of blocking religious applicants echoed the experience of the Moody Bible Instit ute in 1939 when their application for the first NCE religious station was denied after the FCC added the requirement that NCE applicants should have more than one school campus. In September1973, the FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry and a Notice of P roposed Rulemaking regarding ascertainment41 of community problems by NCE stations. Ascertainment was a process by which broadcast licensees, commercial and noncommercial, were to find out with certainty or to ascertain what programming was needed to me et the public interest requirement of their licenses. In response to the NPRM, the Black Associations42 41 In 1960, the FCC introduced the requirement of licensee ascertainment. The broadcaster had to identify the tastes, needs, and desires of the local community through surveys of community leaders and the general public. In 1971, the FCC released an ascertainment primer (27 FCC 2d 650) which shifted the emphasis to programming that met the needs of community problems rather than focusing on tastes, needs, and desires. See The 1960 Programming Policy Statement re: Commission en banc Programming Inquiry, 25 Fed. Reg. 7291; 44 FCC 2303. July 29, 1960. reprinted in Frank J. Kahn, ed., Documents of Amer ican Broadcasting, 4th ed., (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: PrenticeHall, 1984) 191. 42 The Black Associations included associations of black law students, student government and black student union groups and black adult educators. These groups included the National Association of Black Adult Educators and the National Association of Black Students. filed a statement with the FCC. The Black Associations believed that noncommercial educational broadcasting had shifted from instructional programming which was directed toward the student, to public programming, which sought to present news, public affairs and cultural offerings to the community. Since the role of educational broadcasters had changed, the Black Associations sought a requirement in FCC rules that NCE stations be charged with ascertaining the educational and cultural needs of the community of license. The Associations stated that the FCC may have acted correctly in deferring to the educational expertise of broadcasters offering instru ctional programming. However, the change in public programming demonstrates the need
139 to impose formal ascertainment requirements on educational broadcasters to insure programming responsive to the general educational and cultural interests in the communi ty. The Associations emphasized the special problems of minority groups.43 In answer, t he FCC stated there was no question that educational broadcasters needed to be responsive to the needs of the community, just as commercial broadcasters were, ev en though there was no formal requirement for NCE stations to conduct ascertainment at that time. The Commission invited comments from all interested parties as to whether educational broadcasters should be required to conduct ascertainment studies of the ir communities of license. 44 A major turning point in the struggle to define what noncommercial educational broadcasting should be occurred when Lorenzo Milam and Jeremy Lansman, advocates of community broadcasting, filed a petition in 1974 requesting several changes in the FCC rules regarding the licensing of NCE FM stations. The FCC did not recommend any further action on the issue. 45 Lansman and Milam sought (1) to revise the rules that allowed multiple ownership of T his incident at the FCC provides a lens through which to observe an example of Americas culture war s over the pl ace and role of religion, education, and government in American life. 43 Federal Communications Commission In the Matter of Ascertainment of Community Problems by Educational Broadcast Applicants; Amendment of Section IV (Statement of Program Service) of F.C.C. Broadcast Application Forms 340 and 342 (Noncom mercial Educational Broadcast Applications; and Formulation of Rules and Policies Relating to the Renewal of Educational Broadcast Licenses. Docket No. 19816. RM 1851, 1874. F.C.C. 73930. Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Adopte d September 6, 1973; Released September 11, 1973. 42 F.C.C. 2d 690 699. 44 FCC Ascertainment of Community Problems by Educational Broadcast Applicants 42 F.C.C. 2d 690699. 45 Pastor A.W. Allworthy, The Petition Against God: The Full Story of the Lansman Milam Petition (Dallas: Christ the Light Works, 1975) 1722. (self published by Lorenzo Milam under the name Pastor A. W. Allworthy.)
140 noncommercial educational radio and television stations in a single market; (2) a freeze o n all applications by government owned and controlled organizations for NCE FM licenses; and (3) a freeze on all applications by religious schools, colleges, and institutes for NCE FM licenses.46organizations that could hold an NCE FM license in the reserved educational channels. The petition was an attempt to place limitations on the ki nds of educational institutions and 47 46 Jeremy D. Lansman and Lorenzo W. Milam, Petition for Rulemaking, In the Matter of Revision of Rule s Permitting Multiple Ownership of Noncommercial Educational Radio and Television Stations in Single Markets, et al. RM 2493 filed December 1974. 47 The petition said in part: 1). Petitioners ask that the Federal Communications Commission to delet e paragraphs 73.240(b) and 73.636(b) of the Commission Rules and Regulations which permit noncommercial educational licensees exemption from duopoly regulations. Under the existing rules, there is no limit to the number of radio or television stations wh ich can be held by a nonprofit corporation, school, local or state political entity. 12) Freedom of Religion should not presume a sacred duty to program only the most bland and inoffensive: and to enrich the licensee excessively by promulgating a comfortable, blond Aryan view of the Godhead. Rather Freedom of Religion should involve a positive duty to investigate the challenges of men and their gods, to utilize the arts and creativity to define this relationship, this dialogue between the men and the divine. Until the religious broadcasters of America learn this simple truth, we must protect ourselves from the wanton growth of senseless, inhumane apostolicism which clutters so much American radio and television. 13) Religious broadcasters have shown a remarkable cancer like growth into the educational portions of the FM and TV bands. They control endless monies from freewill Contributions, thrive on mindless banal programming aimed at some spiritless, oleaginous God, and show the same spir it as McDonalds Hamburger Co. in their efforts to dominate American radio and television. 14) It is dreadful enough that Oral Roberts, Family Radio, and The Church of the Foursquare Gospel invade the commercial bandbut, not satisfied with that, we have such doubtful educators as Moody Bible Institute, Miami Christian University, Nazarene Theological Seminary, Southern Missionary College, Pacific Union College, Western Bible Institute, among others, rushing to crowd the narrow FM band set aside for noncommercial, educational stations. We have no doubt that their attack on reserved VHF and UHF television bands will start soon enough. 15) Moody Bible Institute has started applying for 100 kilowatt FM stations in the reserved part of the band outs ide of its home territory of Chicago. With each new grant, the radio band will be that much poorer in diversity, interest, in depth public affairs, and true education of the whole man. -Lansman and Milam Multiple Ownership of Non commercial Educational Radio and Television Stations in Single Markets, December 1974.
141 Ultimately, the petitioners argued they were asking the FCC to make a determination on education. Not programming but education.48 They also singled out the Moody Bible Institute for a special drubbing in the petition and in a separate statement (filed in response to the comments sent to the Commission by interested groups).49What we were getting from WMBI was n othing more or less than a single long diatribe for the Moody World View a fulltime, ongoing, nonstop, endless, open ended 24 hours, seven day s a week, 52 weeks a year, year after year commercial for the Moody Bible Institute, their pin hole view of humanity, and their dank view of the Divine. They complained 50Lorenzo Milam focused on MBI because he saw it as being the most important of the fundamental institutions that also operated broadcast stations in major markets. According to Milam ; I t obviously has the greatest wealth of the many mendicants in the religious broadcasting industry. 51 Milam and Lansman a rgued that most religious broadcasters offered programming that was not educational but instead offered programming that was narrow, prejudiced, one sided, blind and stultifying. 52 48 Jeremy D. Lansman and Lorenzo W. Milam, Reply Comments of Original Petitioners See Pastor A.W. Allworthy, The Petition Against God: The Full Story of the Lansman Milam Petition (Da llas: Ch rist the Light Works, 1975) 55. 49 Ben Armstrong, The Electric Church (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1979) 2829. 50 Armstrong 29. See Allworthy, The Petition Against God 1975, 66. 51 Allworthy, The Petition Against God 1975, 66. 52 Jeremy D. Lansman and Lorenzo W. Milam, Petition for Rulemaking, In the Matter of Revision of Rules Permitting Multiple Ownership of Noncommercial Educational Radio and Television Stations in Single Markets, et al. RM 2493 filed December 1974. They believed that local independent broadcasters would better serve the public interest than religious or state controlled stations, such as university owned NCE stations. It was their view that state owned and religious stations avoided controversial topics and that their programming was affected by their needs for funding. Thus, they believed the
142 licensing of these stations was in violatio n of the F irst A mendment because of a chilling effect that prevented the open and robust discussion of controversial topics on NCE radio that did serve the public interest.53 However, the stated intention of the petition was not achieved and the sensa tional approach favored by Lansman and Milam backfired and created a huge ground swell of support for religious broadcasting that continues to this day. The petition set off a firestorm of reaction in the religious broadcasting community. T he National Rel igious Broadcasters Association quickly mobilized a letter writing campaign that led to tens of millions of letters being written to the FCC in protest against the Petition Against God as it came to be known. 54 Madalyn Murray OHair, a prominent Atheist, was incorrectly associated with the petition in pop culture, perhaps reflecting the extreme emotions generated by the petition and the resulting cloud of misinformation that still clings to the petition. Though the FCC denied the petition quickly and com pletely, it has a life that still echoes in conservative Christian churches. The letter writing campaign is still ongoing despite a concerted effort by the FCC and religious groups to inform the public that the petition was denied over three decades ago.55 53Lansman and Milam, Multiple Ownership of Noncommercial Educational Radio and Television Stations in Single Markets, December 1974. 54 Armstrong 2830. 55 Federal Communications Commission. Religious Broadcast Rumor Denied: Madalyn Murr ay OHair and RM -2493. www.fcc.gov/mb/enf/forms/re2493.html See also Federal Communications Commission. Religious Rumor Denied: FCC Consumer Facts. www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/Religious.html Lansman and Milam were a feisty duo, quick to criticize religious broadcasting and to parody religious expression. Milam in particular seem ed to revel in a style similar to that of the
143 Gonzo idiom made famous and perhaps notorious by Hunter S. Thompson.56 Milam and L ansman were proponents of community licensees, where nonprofit secular organizations that were not affiliated with schools or universities controlled the programming.57 Community licensees seldom offer curriculum based programming such as traditional forms of educational or instructional programming. Their formats tend to be geared toward the alternative, the political, and the nonmainstream audiences. Milam and Lansman intended for their petition to promote the community st yle of NCE station by limiting the future licensing of religious stations and stateowned licensees, such as university or college stations. They recognized that the reserved FM band was becoming crowded and feared that future applications by community stations would have greater competition and they hoped to reserve what was left of the noncommercial FM band for community type organizations. The FCC chose to deny all aspects of the petition.58the stations were subject to the Fairn ess Doctrine The FCC did not agree that the programming practices of government supported stations needed to be examined. The Commission stated that the ad hoc enforcement of the existing Commission policies regarding NCE stations was the preferred course of action. At that time, 59 56 [Gonzo] can only be defined as what Hunter S. Thompson doesIt generally consists of the fusion of reality and stark fantasy in a way that amuses the author and outrages his audience. It is Point of View Run Wild. John Filiatreau (a definition favored by William McKeen. Author of Hunter S. Thompson. Boston: Twayne. 1991) as cited in
144 personal or partisan agendas of the broadcaster. The Commission felt that no further action was necessary. The FCC also let the multiple ownership rules stand for NCE stations since they supported statewide networks of NCE stations. The responses filed by the National Religious Broadcasters, Inc. (NRB) and other religious organizations to the Lansman Milam petition la id a groundwork of legal opinions that can be discerned in later statements before the FCC and in arguments made by FCC staff and Commissioners who supported religious NCE licensing. In particular, the NRB Opposition to Petition for Rule Making state d, The First Amendment demands neutrality of treatment between religious and nonreligious groups arguing that it would not be in the public interest to deny an applicant a license because of religious orientation and a denial would violate the Equal Protection Clause. In addition the NRB argue d that the Lansman Milam petition ask ed the FCC to cross the narrow line between regulation and the proscribed power of censorship.60As will be shown in Chapter Seven, the 1977 Moody Bible Institute case may have been pivotal in the history of educational broadcasting because it pointed out the inequities of past FCC decisions o n rel igious applications. After the 1977 MBI decision, religious organizations The petition resulted in more than seventy million pieces of mail being sent to the FCC by supporters of religious broadcasting. It may have affected how the FCC and Congress viewed religious broadcasting. 60 Section 326 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, provides: nothing in this Act shall be understood or construed to give the Commission the power of censorship over the radio communications or signals transmitted by any radio station, and no regulation or condition shall be promulgated or fixed by the Commission which shall interfere with the right of free speech by means of radio communication. National Religious Broadcasters, Inc. In the Matter of Revision of Rules Permitting Multiple Owner ship of Noncommercial Educational Radio and Television Stations in Single Markets; et al. Opposition to Petition for Rule Making, RM 2493, March 31, 1975.
145 were much more successful in gaining approval from the FCC for an NCE license in the FM reserved bandwidth. In 1978, the Commission issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) titled, In the Matter of Amendment of the Commissions Rules Governing the Eligibility for Noncommercial E ducational FM and TV Broadcast Station Licenses.61 As explained in 43 Fed. Reg. 30842 (18 July 1878), t he NOI sought to amend the FCC rules regarding who was eligible to become a licensee of an educational FM or TV broadcast station. The proceeding sought to define the term nonprofit educational organization One proposal would open eligibility for reserved frequencies purely on the basis of noncommercial statu s.62 The NOI stated that while the rules regarding NCE stations had remained the same, educational broadcasting had changed, evolving over time. Many more stations had been licensed as public stations. The NOI defined these stations as being devoted to providing educational programming in the broader sense, not limiting them to the earlier role that focused heavily on instructional programming. The Commission noted that the term educational continued to be applicable since each licensee was operated by a nonprofit educational organization that was created to further the educational goals of the institution. 63 The Commission wanted to explore changes that had occurred in educational broadcasting, including the passage of the Public Broa dcasting Act of 1967, and noted that 61 Amendment of the Commissions Rules Governing the Eligibility for noncommercial educational FM and TV broadcast station licenses, 43 Fed. Reg. 30842, FCC 78164 (adopted July 18, 1978). This argument is used to back up the FCCs favorable ruling that supports religious NCE broadcasting in the 1977 Moody Bible Institute decision. 62 See f oot note 4 in First Report and Order on Educational Broadcasting. 63 Eligibility for Noncommercial Educational FM and TV Broadcast Station Licenses Notice of Inquiry, 43 Fed. Reg., 138, 30842, at 30844 (1978).
146 eligibility standards for licensing of noncommercial educational television licensees and radio needed to be re evaluated, in light of the changes. The FCC wanted to insure that the standards were congruent with the existing system of licensing. It appears that the FCC sought standards that would provide the clearest possible guidance for the processing of NCE applications. This guidance was needed because the educational aspects of some NCE applications were not clear. The Commission claimed that in the past, it had examined every aspect of the application to be sure that the proposal would serve educational purposes. When public broadcasters had other goals in addition to educational goals, the FCC found there w as a need for clear guidelines. Since the FCC rules and regulations had not changed, each case was handled on an ad hoc basis to determine if the principal emphasis was on programs of an educational nature.64I n considering whether organizational applicants have a suitable educational program, we will give primary weight to those programs which may properly be The Appendix quoted in 43 Fed. Reg. 30842 at 30844 included the following processing guidelines for NCE applicants that were used on an ad hoc basis through 1978. By 1990, institutional applicants, secular and religious, were routinely being allowed to operate stations in communities other tha n those where they operated a school. Institutional A pplicants: Institutional applicants (i.e. those which operate a bona fide full time school) may qualify for noncommercial educational FM stations only in those communities where they operate a bona fide full time school. This is the case regardless of whether the school and its courses of instruction are religiously oriented or s ecular. Organizational applicants : Organizational applicants may qualify in any community. But, they must demonstrate that they have an educational goal and are committed to the advancement of an educational program. 64 Eligibility for Noncommercial Ed ucational FM and TV Broadcast Station Licenses Notice of Inquiry, 43 Fed. Reg., 138, 30842, at 30844 (1978).
147 categor ized as instructional or general educational. The definitions of these terms are as follows: Instructional includes all programs designed to be utilized by any level of educational institution in the regular instruction program of the institution. I nschool, in service for teachers, and college credit courses are examples of instructional programs. General educational (GEN) is an education program for which no formal credit is given.65 The FCC recognized that the noncommercial educational F M stations presented a wide variety of programming, including such matters as light entertainment, gospel or popular music, and sports. For the purpose of determining the applicants qualifications, the Commission placed principal emphasis on those progra ms, as defined above, which were clearly educational in nature. In determining whether a program may properly be categorized as instructional or general educational, the Commission decided not to disqualify any program simply because the subject matter of the teaching or instruction was religious in nature. While not all religious programs were educational in nature, it was clear that those programs that involve d the teaching of matters relating to religion would qualify. In this regard, some program s would properly be considered to be both instructional and religious or both general educational and religious. As in all matters relating to programming, the Commission chose to defer to the judgment of the broadcaster unless his categorization appeared to be arbitrary or unreasonable. 66 65 Eligibility for Noncommercial Educational FM and TV Broadcast Station Licenses Notice of Inquiry, 43 Fed. Reg., 138, 30842, at 30844 (19 78). 66 Eligibility for Noncommercial Educational FM and TV Broadcast Station Licenses Notice of Inquiry, 43 Fed. Reg., 138, 30842, at 30844 (1978). These guidelines were developed on an ad hoc basis during the 1960s. The FCC has continued to use
148 them though they were unevenly applied to religious NCE applicants prior to 1977.67 In 1978, the FCC denied a petition in a decision called Florence Bridges. For all intents and purposes, this 1978 NOI lay dormant for eleven years. 68 In th e petition, Ms. Florence Bridges sought to prevent the license renewal application of a secular NCE station, WYEP FM in Pittsburgh, P ennsylvania 69 She complained that WYEP was not presenting Exclusively Educational programming.70 The Commission responded that Section 73.503 required noncommercial educational FM stations to furnish a nonprofit and noncommercial broadcast service. T he FCC said that the law authorized the broadcast of educational, cultural, and entertainment programs to the public. The Commission found that her complaint did not show that a violation of FCC rules had occurred and dismissed her complaint.71 In 1980, the FCC decided Lower Cape Communications, Inc., and issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order. In this case, Seashore Broadcasting Company, Inc. filed a petition to deny the application of Lower Cape Communications, Inc. for a c onstruction permit for a new secular 67 Allen Myers, former Assistant Director, Noncommercial FM Branch of the Federal Communications Commission. Interview with the author 11 December 1996. 68 Florence Bridges, 44 RR 2d 667 (1978). 69 Florence Bridges, interview with Laura D. Johnson, 13 December 1996. 70 She also complained (1) that the Board of Directors is not actin g as a coherent body, (2) that a Community Advisory Council has not been appointed (3) that volunteer workers are intimidated, harassed and unreasonably pressured by paid staff and some Board members (4) that some volunteers receive compensation for their work (5) that programming by community residents is discouraged by the Program Director, and (6) that rotation and turnover of programming is at low volume. The Commission stated that these complaints would best be resolved at the local level. Florence B ridges, 44 RR 2d 667 (1978). 71 Florence Bridges, 44 RR 2d 667(1978).
149 noncommercial educational FM station.72 Seashore challenged Lower Capes eligibility to be licensed to operate in the FM noncommercial band. The petitioner alleged that Lower Cape was not a legally registered educational organization in Massach usetts and it was not an accredited educational institution. 73 Also, the principals had no professional experience as educators and the new corporation had no history of educational activities. The Commission noted that Section 73.503(a)74 had no requirem ent that an educational applicant had to be accredited by any educational organization. As in Miss S. Nisenbaum (1960), the Commissioners noted that accreditation was merely a factor to be considered in determining the eligibility of an educational applic ant. Since Lower Cape was a legally registered nonprofit organization in the state of Massachusetts with the stated purpose of establishing and operating a nonprofit noncommercial educational radio station in Provincetown, the FCC accepted the applica tion as meeting the minimum criteria. The fact that the applicant was a newly formed corporation with no educators on the board was found to be not relevant. The Commission found Lower Cape was an educational organization within the FCC rules.75 72 Lower Cape Communications, Inc., 47 RR 2d 1577, 1578 (1980). 73 Seashores petition also questioned the relationship of Edward Perry Jr. of Educational FM Associa tes to Lower Cape; the feasibility of Lower Capes plan to staff the proposed station with volunteers; and the financial ability of Lower Cape to construct and operate the proposed station for three months. 74 Section 73.503(a) of the Commissions rules states: A non commercial educational FM broadcast station will be licensed only to a nonprofit educational organization upon a showing that the station will be used for the advancement of an educational program. Th e petit ioners contention that the station would not be used for the advancement of an educational program was denied by the Commission when they accepted Lower Capes proposed educational and institutional programs. 75 Lower Cape Communications, Inc ., 47 RR 2d 1577, 1579 (1980).
150 They noted that i t was not necessary that t he programming be exclusively educational citing Florence Bridges.76 In 1989 the FCC finally addressed the 1978 Notice of Inquiry titled: Eligibility for Noncommercial Educational FM and TV broadcast station licenses. They decided to terminate the 1978 Notice of Inquiry without prejudice. It was terminated in part because so much time had passed since the NOI was issued and because broadcasting had changed in the interim. The Commissioners believed that the existing records and comments were o ut of date, and the guidelines for determining the eligibility of NCE licensees were in the Appendix of the NOI. These standards were used on an ad hoc basis when the NOI was released and have continued to be used by the FCC staff. 77 Thus, except for these rather vague standards, the term educational remained und efined 76 69 FCC 2d 1824, 44 RR 2d 667 (1978). 77 Amendment of the Commissions Rules Governing the Eligibility for noncommercial educational FM and TV broadcast station licenses 5 FCC Rcd 394; 1990 FCC Lexis 120.
151 CHAPTER 6 MOODY BIBLE INSTITUT E The Moody Bible Institute (MBI) of Chicago holds an uncommon position in the history of the development of noncommercial educational broadcasting. Almost from the beginning of radio broadcasting history, MBI took a leadership role as one of the first religious institutions or organizations to seek a broadcast license and as one of the first institutions to lobby Congress for special frequencies and considerations for educational and noncommercial broadcasting. The Institutes story is also u nusual because Moody has been a player in the history of religious broadcasting (and noncommercial broadcasting) from the point in 1925 when the Institute first began to broadcast religious programming until its present day role as a leader in the world of religious broadcasting. F ew religious or noncommercial broadcasters can make the claim that they have had a n active role in broadcas ting for eighty years or more. Even fewer can claim that they persistently worked to achieve goals that went beyond establishing their own stations to effecting change in regulatory policy at the Federal Communications Commission. The reasons for MBIs s uccess in broadcasting are varied. As the leader in the Bible Institute Movement,1 1 William Martin, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America (New York: Broadway, 1996) 8 and 17. the roots of its success can be found in the beginnings of the institution, in the person of a n evangelist named Dwight Lyman Moody. Scholars have often noted that modern e vangelicals are quick to adopt modern tools and innovations in the world of communications in order to impart a very ancient message. Richard Hofstadter argued Moody and his generation, adapting revivalism to the spirit of the new industrial age, were t he first to bring modern techniques of business
152 organization to the world of revivals.2 Moodys innovations brought him great recognition and success as he went from relative obscurity to great fame during a series of revival meetings held in Britain du ring 1873. After millions heard him speak, he returned to America as the unchallenged leader of a new phase in American evangelism and by 1899, at the time of his death, was considered the greatest figure in American Protestantism.3When Moody came to New York City in the early spring of 1876, he planned a ten week campaign in the worlds largest indoor arena, the Hippodrome. P.T. Barnum had only recently left the Hippodrome, taking his show on the road, leaving the eras best known evangelist in an interesting position of comparison. The two super salesmen were both famous for their aggressive use of advertising, which invited inevitable co mparisons in the press of the day and in Though Moody was not well educated, his personal charisma took him far in his early adult years as a businessman in the wholesale shoe business in Chicago. The sales techniques that aided his brisk rise in business also aided his rapid rise as an evangelist. Though he never sought to be ordained as a minister, he was active in the Y.M.C.A. and the development of the Sunday School, a new advance in the work of churches after the Civil War. Though Moody had little u se for education outside of religious education that focused on the Bible, his primary focus in his later years was on the education of l ay people, who could teach the B iblical message and reach the common person. Much of his success as an evangelist lay in his ability to couch his message in everyday terms, borrowing from the language of business sales and promoting each activity with every tool available to him. M oody was a master communicator, comfortable in the world of public relations, marketing and promotion. 2 Richard Hofstadter, Anti Intellectualism in American Life (New York: Vintage, 1962) 109110. 3 Hofstadter 107.
153 the press of the present.4 Dwight Moody drew innovative people to work in his revivals and later to work in the new bible institute in Chicago that came to be known as the Moody Bible Institute. This hallmark of Moody and MBI has had much to do with the continued success of the Institute and the development of its outreach programs, including the broadcasting ministries.5Moody was known for his grand ideas and his lack of attention to detail. When he came to understand that his revival ministry was not reaching the people that he most wanted to reach the working class he developed his idea of training lay Christian workers that he called gap men to go out into the community to work with those who had no church and needed conversion. He felt that a school could perhaps succeed where his mass evangelism had failed. In order to achieve this goal, he relied on Emma Dryer, the principal of the Illinois State Normal College to help develop his idea for a bible school. By 1886, Moody began to raise money by issuing challenges to the citizens of Chicago to raise funds to train lay workers. He wanted these Christian workers to do city mission work. Though he did not create the idea of brief training for lay workers to achieve missionary goals and his school was also not the first such school, h is celebrity allowed the school to become well established, growing into the most influential Bible Institute in the country. 6A pivotal moment in MBI history came after the death of Dwight Moody in 1899. Though Moody was always able to find the fund s needed to keep the Institute programs on track, 4 See the cover plate of the March 11, 1976, Harpers as cited in Bruce J. Evens e n, Gods Man for the Gilded Age: D. L. Moody and the Rise of Modern Mass Evangelism ( Oxford: Oxford U P, 2003), 93 FN 1. 5 Virginia Lieson Brereton, Training Gods Army: The American Bible School, 18801940 ( Bloomington: Indiana UP 1990) 52. 6 Brereton 5355.
154 his death left a vacuum which no other person at the Institute was able to fill. It was apparent that the lack of planning for future funding would quickly jeopardize the future of the Institute. Help cam e in the form of a prominent businessman, Henry Parsons Crowell. Though Crowell had not known Dwight Moody personally, he based much of his personal beliefs and philanthropic philosophy on a sermon he heard given by Moody over twentyfive years earlier, w hen Crowell was eighteen years of age.7Thats right. What about you? Do you ever think big things for God? Huh? The reason I like to think big things for God is that he deserves it Now whether its evangelism, or your work, or your money, whatever it is, you ought to think of big ways you can be used for God. The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to him. And (Henry) Varley meant any man! He didnt say he had to be educated. As a teenager Crowell suffered from tuberculosis for several years and was forced to put off his dreams of attending Yale University. In the spring of 1873, Crowell heard Moody speak at the Second Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and felt the message was a personal one. Moody reportedly inspired Crowell by asking, 8Henry Crowell responded to these words by deciding that it was perhaps all right if he couldnt attend Yale. He also committed his life to making money for men like Dwight Moody w hile pledging that he would keep his own name out of the process. This led to a very generous life of philanthropy and stewardship. Years later Dr. William Newell, a minister at MBI, developed a close friendship with Crowell, by then the founder and Pre sident of the Quaker Oats Company. For several years beginning in 1898, Crowell and his wife, Susan Coleman Crowell, participated in a bible study group led by Dr. Newell. 9 7 Joe Musser, The Cereal Tycoon ( Chicago: Moody P and Quadrus Media 1997) 36. 8 Musser 38. Moody was quoting Henry Varley, a whol esale butcher whose evangelizing packed a meeting hall in West London. Moody met Varley during the two year campaign in Britain that established his fame as an evangelist. See Evens e n 17. Th e friendship led to Crowells invitation 9 Richard Ellsworth Day Breakfast Table Autocrat ( Chicago: Moody P, 1946) 157.
155 to help guide the Moody Bible Institut e through the tough transitional period after the death of Dwight Moody. In 1901, Crowell went to the Institute to visit with two MBI board members, Dr. Will Norton and Dr. James Gray, in order to discuss the financial problems and the future of the Institute. Crowell was concerned to learn that the school had nothing no real assets or practical facilities, no respect, and no real plans for the future. Nothing.10 Crowell was a man who sought to use his talents and his wealth to promote Christian work as he saw it, in the world. He was also unusual as a conservative Protestant businessman of the time because he didnt fear the changes of the industrial age, he embraced them.11By the time Crowell came to MBI, he had established himself as a le ading statesman in the world of big business and evangelical Christianity. 12For example, in the early developmental years of the oat milling business, Crowell took a product that was considered to be fit only for horses to eat and successfully marketed it directly to house wives and families as an inexpensive, healthful breakfast food. He took the marketing of oats to the shopkeeper from the barrel on the floor of the general store to the home maker by Though he was best known, perhaps, for founding the Quaker Oats Company, he made his fortune in several ventures, including the Perfection Stove Company. He was noted for his philanthropy and his biographers report that he gave, at times, sixty percent or more of his annual income to religious organizations and charities. His success in business was credited to his willingness to utilize the new techniques of marketing, advertis ing, and merchandizing that were considered revolutionary. 10 Musser 130. 11 Musser 5. 12 Day 155.
156 re packaging the oats Quaker Oats utilized fresh colorful, two pound boxes and added recipes. L ater, the opportunity to send off for gadgets like crystal radio sets, complete with headphones, helped establish Quaker Oats as a leading brand Because of his innovations in the marketing of oats and related cereal products, th e Quaker Oats Company became an industry leader. When evaluating the situation at MBI, Crowell was pleased to find that Dwight Moody had chosen capable teachers and leaders in the type of Biblical scholarship that he supported, but it was obvious that the existing leadership of the school knew very little about the business aspects of managing the Institution. After some discussion, Crowell laid out a plan that would put the Institute on a sound financial footing, while allowing Dr. Gray and the staff to focus on the educational and spiritual side of the school.13 Crowell spent nearly every Tuesday for the next forty years of his life working with the MBI Executive Committee, as a member of the Board of Directors, and by 1904, as Chairman of the Board of MBI, guiding the business and financial future of the school. At times, he put his own money into the school, for example, funding half the construction of a new administrati on building.14 As part of his plan, the school would only build what it had funds to build, avoiding debt, and he found ways to produce long term income using an Annuity Plan that gave income to the annuitants. Under his management, MBI grew in both size and stature, gained respect, and established itself as a leader and moderate voice in the world of F undamentalist Christianity. Dr. Gray would often say, It was the brains and heart of H. P. Crowell that brought this institution up, that made this Institute.15 13 Musser 130. 14 Musser 131. 15 Day 174.
157 Crowells vision for spreading the MBI message went beyond marketing and advertising, into the field of communications. He is credited with guiding MBI into the world of mass communication, relying on his conviction that all forms of media can be used to help share a message. Taking the old Moody Colportage16 Association, he created the Moody Press, and utilized his knowledge of marketing in order to sell books. Then he moved to create a monthly magazine, and pushed the Institute to lead the way in one of the newer technologies, radio broadcasting.17 Though some cyni cs scoffed that no one was listening and no one would respond, Crowell was convinced of the power of radio, observing the dramatic increase in sales of Quaker products after the company began to advertise on the radio. He also observed the overwhelming re sponse of the public to the Quaker radio crystal set promotion. When the first 250,000 radio kits were sold instantly, Crowell moved to repeat the promotion two years later, resulting in even larger sales. By then, he was advertising Quaker products heavi ly on radio, convinced of its power to reach a vast a udience.18When Crowell first recommended that MBI get into the broadcasting business, only a few stations in the country were broadcasting, but Crowell knew that there were about three million crystal se ts, and the numbers were increasing dramatically. He wanted MBI to be the very first religious broadcast facility in the country. When MBI decided to enter the world of radio in 1925, it became one of the early religious broadcasters gaining a license f rom the Federal Radio Commission in 1926. One writer felt Henry Parson Crowells deepest love was shown for the 16 Colportage is the distribution of religious literature such as religious tracts. 17 Musser 132. 18 Musser 133.
158 Institute in the rise and development of the super power radio station WMBI. And what is the station fundamentally but a projection of Mr. Crowell and his son, after him?19Henry Coleman Crowell, the only son of Henry Parsons and Susan Coleman Crowell was born on Chicagos near north side in 1897 and brought up in Winnetka, Illinois. H. C. Crowell graduated from Yale University in 1921 wit h a degree in mechanical engineering. He was vice chairman of the Perfection Stove Company and served in the Navy during WWI. In 1923, at the age of 26, he decided to commit his life to working at MBI after working a year at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA) and was placed in charge of promotions for the Institute, working as an assistant to Business Manager A.F. Gaylord. Three years later, he became the a ssistant to the president of MBI, Dr. James M. Gray. He also managed the technical aspects of radio broadcasting at MBI until 1947. 20 Over the course of his fortyyear career at MBI, he served on the board of t rustees, as vice president, and later as general m anager of the organization.21 He considered his work as a ministry in which he could help train others for Christian service, a service that gave him great satisfaction.22During his years at MBI, H. C Crowell was heavily involved with the creation of r adio broadcasting at MBI, the Moody Institute of Science Film Productions (MIS) and the Missionary Technical Training in aviation and communications. He also founded and was President of the Missionary Equipment Service in Chicago. 23 19 Day 178. 20 Moody Memo, H. C. Crowell File Moody Bible Institute Archive 17 June 1960. 21 Milton A. Regier, MBI Interoffice Memo H. C. Crowell File Moody Bible Institute Archive 8 October 1958. 22 H. C. Crowell File Moody Bible Institute Archive At his retirement, H.C. Crowell was credited with 23 Mr. Crowell Goes Home Moody Memo, H. C. Crowell File, Moody Bible Institute Archive 26 November 1965.
159 creating four radio stations that were owned and opera ted by MBI since 1926. These included WMBI AM and WMBI FM, with studios at the Institutes La Salle Street address in Chicago, and WDLM in East Moline, Illinois and WCRF FM in Cleveland, Ohio. Crowell had an early interest in radio, perhaps due to his f athers influence, and strongly believed in a radio ministry for MBI.24The response adopted by the Moody Bible Institute to these challe nges is instructive. In Crowells reports a very steady strategic stance of politeness and persistence is evident in the approach taken by Crowell and the Moody administration toward the FRC, the FCC, and all other broadcasters. Where some broadcasters gave up or fought aggressively, Moody took the calm middle ground, avoiding controversy and cooperating in every instance with other One of his legacies is an invaluable collection of comprehensive Annual Reports to the Board of Trustees of MBI that tell a richly detailed history of the early struggle for a radio frequency from the perspective of the Institute, particularly from th at of a religious and/or educational institution. Though Crowells descriptions in the Legal Story section in each report reveal few emotions, it is possible to read between the lines and sense the concern and worry as Crowells lists of educational and religious broadcasters shrinks as each year passes. At the time of the creation of the F ederal R adio C ommission (FRC), all broadcasters faced the difficulties caused by interference from other stations, frequency changes ordered by the FRC and short term licenses that lasted only three months when the FRC began cleaning up the airwaves. In addition, religious and educational broadcasters faced the challenges of being moved to less desirable frequencies, sharing frequencies with other nonprofit stations, power reductions, and legal attacks by other broadcasters who sought their frequencies. C ontroversy caused by religious broadcasters like Father Charles Coughlin did not help their cause. 24 H.C. Crowell File, Moody Bible Institute Archive.
160 broadcasters the FRC and later the FCC. The Institute formulated policies that required the announcers to never speak ill of anyone or any religion on the air and the Institute avoided being connected to broadcasters who were known for confrontational tactics. Even when they applied for licensing and the Commission appeared to rewrite policy in order to deny Moody access, Crowell would merely note that the Institute apparently did not meet the requirements.25When the Moody administration decided that the Institute should investigate r adio, they opened a new era of programming advance ment for the Institute, through a brand new technology. This part of the story has been told by several researchers, including Gene Getz, in MBI: T he Story of the Moody Bible Institute. The Institute was cautious about entering a new field about which ve ry little was known. President James Gray was not certain that radio was relevant to the Institutes mission, or even appropriate for the mission. When the young Henry Coleman Crowell became the a ssistant to the president in late 1925 it became his responsibility to over see the development of the Institutes radio outreach. Once the Institute had an T heir wealth allowed them to speak softly and then carry the chairman of the board (the c hair of Quaker Oats) to FRC hearings. The same wealth also allowed them the patience to wait out the changes in the hope that the future would bring a resolution that was fa vorable to Moody, all the while politely lobbying the FRC and the FCC by letters and personal visits from administrators, board members and MBIs legal team. T hey also had the ability to generate large letter writing campaigns, if needed though they used that option only when they determined that it would be helpful Few religious or educational stations survive from the early years of radio. Even fewer docum ents that tell the story of early radio from the perspective of the licensee survive from that period in American radio history. 25 Henry Coleman Crowell, Annual Report of Broadcasting Station of The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago for year ending April 30 1939. Moody Bible Institute Archives
161 arrangement with WENR in Chicago to broadcast programming, President Gray was won over completely to the new technology in 1926, when he received a phone cal l from a Florida resident who had heard the first WENR broadcast in Florida Th e phone call and other correspondence convinced Gray that radio was a positive force that could be used to reach listeners over a large area. During the early days of radio broadcasting, MBI was forced to contend with the same technological issues that plagued the early days of radio and all other broadcasters. Thanks t o an overabundance of stations competing for a finite number of frequencies, chaos and interference were the norm on the radio dial. Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover attempting to relieve the interference problem, took legal action against the Zenith Radio Corporation s WJAZ. T he station had appropriated a wave length that was assigned to Canada without a license to use the frequency. However, t he U.S. Attorney General ruled on July 8, 192626 that under the Radio Act of 1912, the Department of Commerce could not prevent a station from using any frequency in addition to th e one specified in its license.27 Once it became clear that no one in government had the authority to allocate frequencies, withhold radio licenses, or regulate power or hours of transmission,28 26 Christopher H. Sterling and John M Kittross, Stay Tuned: A Concise History of American Broadcasting, 2nd ed., (Belmont California: Wadsworth, 1990) 88. 27 Henry Coleman Crowell, Annual Report of Broadcasting Station of The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago for year ending April 30 1927. Moody Bible Institute Archives 2. 28Federal Radio Commission, Annual Repor t 1927, 1. Hoover gave up all attempts at regulation. Congress began working to create an administrative body that could make the technical and legal determinations as to the licensing and regulation of broadcast radio stations. In the meantime, the interference chaos continued.
162 During this period, the Moody Bible Institute was notified that it had been granted a broadcast license on July 27, 1926, with the call letters WMBI and a wave length of 288.3 meters. The initial license was for three months, as was common during that turbulent time in radio history for all stations The first broadcast over the new station occurred on We dnesday, July 28, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The next day, MBI officials learned that another Chicago station had been granted rights to the same frequency, WKBA, of the Arrow Battery Company. Afte r the two organizations discussed t he issue through their lawyers and E. S. Hartman the Mid Western representative of the American Society of Comp osers, Authors, and Publishers (a position of considerable influence with broadcasters), the two organizations came to an agreement that allowed radio station WSBC, of the World Battery Company to take the place of WKBA and to share time with WMBI on their frequency.29The day after the 1927 Radio Act Though WMBI had to deal with complaints of interference from another station, WSWS, and from li steners who lived close to the Institute, the station was successfully granted two additional licenses for the period of three months each. 30 29 Crowell, Annual Report 1927 3. 30 The Act was signed by the President on February 24, 1927. was passed by Congress, President Gray sent a letter to the entire MB I mailing list asking their co operation in properly presenting the needs of the Institute broadcasting station before the Commission. He requested that an enclosed postal card be returned as soon as possible by supporters testifying to their belief th at the Institute radio station should be granted a license by the Commission to continue in operation. Out of a mailing of 130,000 letters with post cards, a total of 49,930 cards, representing 52,375 signers were returned to the Institute. Almost al l were enthusiastic about the use of radio by the
163 Institute, although many were disappointed that they were unable to hear our station because of interference or distance.31Henr y Coleman Crowell represented the Moody Bible Institute at the hearings. In order to address the issues related to clearing up the broadcasting situation, the FRC during its first meeting scheduled public hearings to give the public and qualified experts the opportunity to make general suggestions as to how the FRC should proceed in its mission to reduce the interference between existing stations. 32On the third day of the hearings, Crowell was the first speaker to mention religious broadcasting, introducing his comments by describing a type of radio service that does not depend on revenue derived from the listener, either directly or indirectly. He was the only speaker to support religious stations and religious educational stations. Crowell presented the religious station and the religious educational station as being t ype s of station s that represent more truly the real idea of service to the public, in that its programs are given with no thought of direct returns, but rather the desire that the public will be helped and benefited. The purpose of a religious station is to share statements of belief, and to be remedial and educational, rather than controversial. 33It is not for pecuniary profit but for the moral and spiritual welfare of our fellow men. I am very sure that the Radio Commission will allow adequate opportunity for the putting forth of this type of message, especially in view of the present increase in crime and lawlessness. 34 31 Crowell, Annual Report 1927 7 32 FRC, Annual Report 1927 34. 33 Crowell, Annual Report 1927 6. 34 Crowell, Annual Report 1927 67. Crowell then went on to explain that religious stations, like other educational stations
164 represented by the Association of Col lege and Universit y Broadcast Stations operated on a limited schedule of hours Though some broadcasters and legislators suggested that nonprofit broadcasters could buy time from a commercial station for programming, Crowell argued against that idea becau se of three concerns. First, it was too expensive for many educational or religious institutions to buy time on commercial stations. Second, the hours desired were also preferred by the commercial stations Finally, he reasoned that the flow of programm ing on a commercial station would be disrupted by dropping a religious program into the commercial format. In addition, the religious programming flow would also be disrupted.35 To solve the problems, he asked for a small number of wave channels to be used jointly by educational and religious stations. He wanted the c hannels to be suitably located, not at the remote end of the present band but where they would be of service to the average listener with their present receiving sets. 36 He suggested the congestion on the airwaves might be eased since most educational and religious organizations didnt need a large number of hours on air.37The Institutes educational interests were again mentioned in a document dated April 7, 1927, in which Crowell provide d further information requested by the FRC. In addition to Crowell may have been the first person to suggest in a public hearing before the FRC that set aside channels were needed for religious broadcasting, and he may have been the first to suggest that set aside channels were needed for educational broadcasting, as well. He was the first person before a regulatory agency to suggest that religious programming can also be educational in nature 35 Cr owell, Annual Report 1927 67. 36 Crowell, Annual Report 1927 7. 37 Crowell, Annual Report 1927 7.
165 restating some of the testimony offered be fore the Commission, Crowell mention ed the WMBI Radio School of the Bible as being the first radio course offered by a religious organization that award ed a certificate to those completing the requirements of the course.38Of all religious educational, church, and religious broadcasting stations, the Moody Bible Institute is probably the best qualified to put on the air a balanced spiritual program. The Institute is the worlds largest Bible training school with a student body of 2,190 in its Day and Evening Schools, and a Correspondence school of 9,655. The credits earned in this class were accepted at MBI if students wished to enroll and continue their studies. Crowell went on to argue that 39Like many other stations, commercial and noncommercial, WMBI was shifted over several frequencies during the next few years, being forced to share time with other stations, as was common at the time. During this era of spectral confusion, the FRC considered a case that led to the Great Lakes Statement. The Institute considered its Correspondence programs to be one of its most important outreach programs. 40W MBI was indirectly involve d in the Great Lakes comparative h earings as a station that was sharing time with one of the stations involved in the Great Lak es dispute. Moody w as an indirect player in the decision since WMBI shared time with station WCBD, owned by the 38 The Radio School of the Bible was broadcast by the MBI for seventyseven years before being removed from the air in 2002. An MBI official cited the relaxed FCC requirements for educational content of programming and cost (in man hours) as being reasons for the programs demise. 39 Crowell, Annual Report 1927 7 40 See Chapter 3. In the Matter of the Application of Great Lakes Broadcasting Co., FRC Docket No. 4900, Annual Report of the Federal Radio Commission for the Fiscal Year 1929, Reprint Edition, ( New York: Arno P and the New York Times 1971) 32.
166 Reverend Wilbur Glenn Voliva a dour, puritanical, flat earther.41The conclusion is una voidable that this station [WCBD] in emphasis is operated for the purpose of propagating the creed of its owner The members of the faith and of the persons interested in it are extremely limited in number compared with those of other faiths, and it is not logical that such a sect should enjoy peculiar facilities for propagating its beliefs when there is not room in the ether for the many other sects to have their separate stations. The beliefs espoused by Voliva on WCBD directly influenced the FRCs decis ion to label some stations as propaganda stations and to issue the Great Lakes Statement. The FRC reduced the air time allocated to WCBD arguing that stations should serve the general public and not a narrow sectarian audience. 42 In Henry Crowells 1929 Annual Report about WMBI he reported that the FRC held that religious stations as propaganda stations must be content with inferior assignme nts in wave lengths and hours of operation. The Commission indicated that they would not grant licenses to any propaganda station if they could turn back time a nd start the entire process of broadcast licensing anew. Crowell noted that the attorneys for the Institute found that opinion to be quite detrimental to the Institutes coming public hearing regarding the status of their license 43 MBI sent two attorneys, four institute officials, three character witnesses, six institute witnesses and two demonstration witnesses to the WENR WLS WCBD comparative hearings The FRC used the term propaganda to describe WCBD programming which was religious in nature. Despite Commission comments about the existence of high quality religious stations, Moody Institute officials believed that their programming had also been la beled as propaganda and decided that a response was necessary. 41 Voliva taught his followers that the earth is flat. He offered $5,000 to anyone who could prove the earth was not flat. 42 FRC, Annual Report 1929 32 as cited in William B. Ray, FCC: The Ups and Downs of RadioTV Regulation (Ames: Iowa State UP, 1990) 132. 43 Crowell, Annual Report 1929 10.
167 (the Great Lakes Hearings) in June of 1929. The I nstitute officials included the MBI President James M. Gray and Chair Henry Parsons Crowell Later, several Commission members stated that the WMBI case was the most organized and best presented case ever, before th e FRC.44 One of the MBI lawyers, Frank Joseph Loesch, was later appointed by President Hoover to serve on the National Law Enforcement Commission.45 Gray argued during the hearings that the Moody Bible Institute was not a church or a mission but a n educational institution. Its articles of incorporation set forth its purpose to educate, direct, encourage, maintain and send forth Christian workers, Bible readers, gospel singers, teachers and evangelists competent to effectually preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. 46 44 Gene A. Getz, MBI: The Story of the Moody Bible Institute ( Chicago: Moody P, 1969) 288289. 45 Crowell, Annual Report 1929 7 46 James M. Gray, Gentlemen of the Commission, T estimony before the FRC, June 1929, Moody Bible Institute Archive 1. Several times in the course of the presentations, the MBI representatives stated that MBI was an educational institution. Gray also pointed out that MBI was not a denominational school, but was interdenominational and included all sects that could be described as evangelical. He claimed that Moodys students represented sixty different denominations and t he Institute presented a list and a photo of sixty students to show a representative of each different
168 denomination.47 A t that time twenty three hundred students were enrolled at the MBI campus in Chicago where they attended school tuition free. Eleven thousand students were enrolled in the MBI Correspondence School at the cost of one dollar for each correspondence course. President Gray indicated that the radio station was reaching thousands more though it was a relatively new service of the Institute. The radio station broadcast the performances of six different orchestras, twenty five glee clubs, and a number of quarte ts, sextets, octets, fifty different church choirs, all in addition to the talent at the Institute.48 The Pr esidents testimony opened with a discussion of Dwight Moodys work as a President Gray told the Commissioners that Moodys assets included cash in excess of five million dollars with no mortgages or debts outstanding. His purpose was to show that MBI was a responsible business corporation conducted on established business pri nciples. He argued that the mission of MBI was not about propaganda: As we have nothing to sell, so we have no fads or theories to promote, whether political, social or religious. In addition, Gray stated that the Institute was not interested in paci fistic propaganda as were other educational institutions and religious organizations The rest of the MBI argument pointed out the history of educational institutions like Harvard as being organizations that were founded on religious principles. 47 But while the Moody Bible Institute is an educational institution, at the same time it is not in any sense a denominational school, but interdenominational. That is to say, it is not representative of or supported by any particular sect, but includes in its constituency practically all the sects or denominations known as evangelical Baptist, Congregational, Episcopal, Friends, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, Reformed, Salvation Army, United Brethren, United Presbyterian, and several more. Indeed, a recent census of our student body revealed as many as 60 different denominations represented therei n, and all dwelling together in the utmost harmony. See James M. Gray, Gentlemen of the Commission, T estimony before the FRC, June 1929, Moody Bible Institute Archive 12b. 48 Gray Gentlemen of the Commission 2b.
169 successful Christian educator. Gray mentioned Moodys work as a founder of the Mount Hermon School for Boys and the Northfield Seminary for Girls in Massachusetts as well as his work to found the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. The goal of public service was emphasized, noting that the tuition for the Day and Evening Schools was free, in addition to the instruction given at no charge, over the radio. Gray argued that America was founded on Christian principles and the Institute needed a radio station to help in the fight to preserve America from the infidels (those who had no faith .) Gentlemen, we give all honor to our legislators, our courts, our juries, our prosecuting attorneys, our vigilant and heroic police, but the work which the Moody Bible Institute is doing on the land and over the air is that ounce of prevention which is worth a pound of cure. The United State s simply cannot afford to limi t the opportunity of the Moody B ible Institute over the air during the evening hours when men as well as women, may be reached by its ministrations. Circumscribe the evangel in this land, gentlemen, lessen confidence or fail to strengthen confidence in the Bible, democratize the Almighty, lower the S on of G od to the level of other men, rob Calvary of its meaning, leave the seal unbroken upon His tomb, and you have driven light and hope from the hearts of men. Y ou have made life not worth living. You have undermined all authority. You have increased lawlessness. You have made government a derision. You have sunk the land into pagan darkness, and to quote ex Pres ident Coolidge again, you will have turned all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, into a barren scepter in our grasp. These are the reasons, some of them at least, over and above everything of a sordid or a selfish kind, on the ground of which the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago makes its plea to you today.49 The Commission did not grant the Moody Bible Institute its own frequency (which Institute officials continued to seek) but allowed the Institute to continue sharing time with WCDB. Each time t he Moody administration came before the FRC or the FCC, they argued that the Moody Bible Ins titute was an educational institution. Members of the FRC were favorably impressed with the Moody approach and the Moody presentation. Ultimately, after the dust of this battled settled, though Moody lost its attempt to gain one day a week to broadcast on 49 Gray Gentlemen of the Commission 13.
170 WENRs frequency at 870 kilocycles, the Commission had a positive impression of Moodys broadcast service, which appears to have aided their plan to gain their own frequency in the future.50In the Great Lakes Broadcasting Co mpany dispute several station s were interested in the 870 kilocycles frequency that had been assigned to WENR. WMBI was indirectly advised by FRC Commissioners Pickard, Sykes, and Robinson and Attorney Caldwell to apply for a hearing asking for one seventh time on 870 kilocycles. 51 At the same time, WCBD was also instructed to apply for one seventh time on the same frequency. The two sevenths time would be taken from WENR, but the three Commissioners suggested that WENR could be moved to another frequency, possibly 1480 kilocycles .52 After receiving this message, Crowell left for Washington the next day and made application along with the director of WCBD, Mr. DePew, to Commissioner Pickard for each station to receive one seventh time on 870 kilocycles. Radio station WLS made app lication for the remaining five sevenths time left on that frequency. The three station s management teams felt they could share the frequency and probably hold this channel against all other assaults.53In September of 1929, the FRC heard the case of K WSC of Pullman, Washington, in which they applied for full time on 1100 kilocycles, a clear channel, with 5000 watts of power. The case is of interest because Senator Dill, co author of the 1927 Radio Act, appeared at the hearing and spoke in behalf of the people of his state. Coleman Crowell noted, in his annual report to the board of trustees at MBI, Dills comment that Congress had intended for the Radio 50 Crowell, Annual Report 1929 11. 51 Crowell Annual Report 1929 11. 52 Crowell Annual Report 1929 11. 53 Crowell, Annual Report 1929 1 1.
171 Commission to make special provision to college and educational stations.54 The inclusion of this comment in Crowells report underscore d MBIs continued belief that it was an educational institution operating an educational station and its support for educational broadcasting. At the end of 1930, Crowell include d statistics from the FRC based on an analysis of the 600 broadcasting stations for Congress, showing that there were 62 educational broadcasting stations, 45 religious institutions with broadcast stations, 48 newspapers with broadcast stations, and the rest distributed among 45 classes of business. At this time, stations were still receiving license renewals that rarely exceeded three months, including WMBI.55 Henry Crowells 1931 Annual Report to the WMBI Trustees sounded a pessimistic note as he shared his concerns that the MBI relationship with the federal government was growing By February of 1930, the Commission moved twentyeight broadcast stations to new frequencies, including WMBI, in order to eliminat e interference on adjacent channels. WMBI agreed to be moved along with WBT to 1040 kilocycles from 1080 kilocycles. A telegram from the FRC dated April 14, 1930, announced that the Commission had denied WMBIs application for one seventh time of 870 kilocycles. It is of interest that Crowell explained that [t]here was no reason given by the Commission other than the usual formal one, that the granting of the application would not be in the public interest, convenience and necessity. As will be shown a 1977 FCC decision br oke this pattern of precedence avoidance by the FRC and FCC. Both Commissions found it convenient and perhaps easier to hide behind decisions that left out the reasons for the decision thereby avoiding setting a precedent for a future decision. 54 Crowell, Annual Report 1930 6. 55 Crowell, Annual Report 1930 69.
172 darker and darker. The FRC used a quota system56Crowell sounded a positive note explaining that while 53 educational stations had been deleted or taken over by commercial interests since February of 1927 WMBI was still on the air He added that the mortality has been even more severe among religious broadcasters. We feel that WMBI is rapidly becoming one of the outstanding Christian broadcasting stations of the middle west and is looked upon by many thousands of listeners a s a real leader in this field. to allocate frequencies and Crowell was concerned that WMBI w ould be further limited if the FRC decided to hold Illinois to its quota. Crowell was apprehensive that FRC quota figures based on the 1930 census would potentially harm WMBI because the state of Illinois was the most over quota state in the nation with too many radio stations. Also, WMBI was still troubled by interference problems with stations i n Cleveland and St. Louis. The MBI station was still sharing time with WCBD, of Zion, Illinois during the daylight hours with 5,000 watts of power. 57 56 In 1928, Congress added the Davi s Amendment t o the 1927 Radio Act in order to divide the United States in to five zones with equal nu mbers of stations equal amounts of power and air time to be assigned to zone. Christopher H. Sterling and John M. Kittross, Stay Tuned: A Concise History of American Broadcasting, 2nd ed. (Belmont, California: Wadsworth 1990) 128129. 57 Crowell, Annual Report 1931 2. In his report, Crowell note d that Commission had announced that the next WMBI license beginning on August 1, 1931, would be for a period of six months These are the first six month licenses to be issued since the Commission was created in 1927. T hese comments show some of the difficulties most broadcasters faced in trying to deal with the rapidly changing regulatory situation which contributed to t he loss of many educational and religious broadcasters by 1931.
173 In his report for the year ending in April 1932, Crowell sounded as pessimistic as the year before, noting that the overcrowding of stations on the air continues. He explained that court decisions may have limited the Commission s power to make drastic decisions but that the over quota problems in the Chicago area continue d, a dangerous situation which could lead to attempts to withdraw radio facilities in order to meet the quota. Crowell explained that stations such as WOAX were denied applications for expansion of service because the FRC examiners conclude d that the station programming was designed to spread the doctrines and teachings of an organization called the Defenders of Truth S ociety, Inc. The examiner found the service was not a public service and the granting of the application would result in the devotion of public facilities to a private use.58In December, FRC examiners deleted station WOQ of Kansas City, Missouri, owned by The Unity School of Christianity. Its license w as challenged successfully by KFH, in Wichita, Kansas. The same examiner found that station KEWF of St. Louis was being used primar ily for the dissemination of the views of certain religious teachers and he recommended that station WIL be given all of KEWFs time, thereby taking KEWF off the air. The examiner held that allowing KEWF to use the limited facilities (meaning frequencies ) available for private use was contrary to sound application of the standard of public interest, convenience or necessity. 59 58 Crowell, Annual Report 1932 4. 59 Crowell, Annual Report, 1932, 48. Among other stations losing their licenses, Crowell described WPCC of the North Shore Church of Chicago as having been lost in the quota battle, even though examiners originally recommended that the Church be allowed to keep its station. Crowell also discussed
174 the FRC decision denying renewal of the license for KGEF, owned by Trinity Methodist Church of Los Angeles. KGEF was operated by the Rev. Robert Fighting Bob Shuler and Crowell mentioned that the case was unique because it was a free speech case. Shuler appealed the FRCs decision to delete his license to the Co urt of Appeals but later lost. Though the Commission stated in this case that they d id not tell a station what it sh ould or sh ould not broadcast, the Commission said it had to take into consideration past performance when evaluating a station for license renewal. Shuler contended that the Commission had no right to censor any of his comments that he made over the radio.60Crowell and officials at MBI were concerned regarding the Shuler decision. The FRC found that Los Angeles and the surrounding area wer e already being served by eighteen radio stations; that KGEF was owned by Shuler though it was licensed in the name of Trinity Methodist Church, South; despite KGEF being a religious station, some of the station broadcasts were undesirable to several other religious organizations; that KGEF was serving to provoke religious strife; that Shulers broadcasts were sensational in nature rather than instructional or entertaining; that Shuler made bitter attacks on public officials without determining if they were true; that removing KGEF would make it possible for a more equitable distribution of radio facilities; and that the public interest would not be served by granting the renewal application of KGEF. 61 60 Crowell, Annual Report 1932, 48. 61 Charles Edward Orbison, Fighting Bob Shuler: Early Radio Crusader Journal of Broadcasting 21 (Fall 1977) 460473 MBI responded to the plight of other religious broadcas ters like Shuler by continuing its stance of avoiding conflict or controversy through cooperation with the FRC and careful monitoring of its own radio programming.
175 Crowells 1932 report continue d with an extensive listing of all stations in the country. H e and the MBI administration were carefully watching FRC actions in regard to all broadcast facilities, and in particular how the FRC handle d religious and educational radio stations. He note d that the Institute had considered the feasibility of appea ling to its listeners and general mailing lists regarding a flood of letters and telegrams to be sent in to the commission on behalf of our station. However, the stations attorney in Washington, Mr. Guider, discouraged the plan. Instead, Crowell went t o Washington to meet with Mr. Guider and members of the Commission. Crowell was assured by FRC Commissioners Saltzman, Starbuck, LaFount, and Sykes that they believed WMBI was operating in the public interest and we had nothing to fear as long as we were not directly attacked by a broadcasting station in an under quota state. Crowell then explain ed that the C ommissioners said it would be very difficult for them to protect WMBI in such a circumstance as long as the state of Illinois was over quota.62 Thi s issue caused much concern for Crowell and the administration of MBI. In addition, he mentioned the Fess Bill63 with its plan to set aside fifteen percent of the broadcasting channels for education, though he note d that it was unlikely to pass during the present session of the 71st Congress.64In the report prepared for 1933, Crowell cited FRC records explaining that there were only 39 stations licensed to educational institutions, of which twelve were known to be selling time. In 1 927, when the Commiss ion [FRC] was created there were 95 such stations. 65 62 Crowell, Annual Report 1932 8. 63 See Chapter 3, supra. 64 Crow ell, Annual Report 1932 810. 65 Crowell, Annual Report 1933 1. He also list ed 21 religious stations that were on the air, with six that sell time Citing a report from the Federal Office of Education he noted that educational broadcasting stations were not
176 doing well financially. That report listed only forty six stations still on the air that were owned and operated by schools, colleges, universities, municipal, state and federal agencies, and other organizations of an educational nature.66 Crowell expl ained that this number represented only 7.6 percent of the total number of stations currently on the air and that many of them were selling time commercially in order to meet the operating costs.67 In contrast, in 1925, there were 125 educational and civ ic stations. He conclude d the Legal Story section of the report with the note that during his interview in Washington with Commissioners LaFount, Sykes, Brown and Hanley, they were quite cordial and expressed the wish that WMBI might continue to broa dcast its program of Christian education for many years to come.68In the 1934 report, Crowell began with a discussi on of the continuing decline in educational stations. Citing a report by the National Committee on Education by Radio, he mentioned a group of stations that s old time commercially including WRUF at the University of Florida. He also stated that i t will be noticed that WMBI is not listed by the Committee as an educational radio station. From this comment it is clear that he is very interested in the public perceptions about WMBI and MBI regard ing the ir educational status Crowell also discussed an FRC allocation of three frequencies in the band 1500 to 1600 kilocycles for assignment to experimental broadcasting stations. Though educational institutions were encouraged to apply for these frequencies, Crowell note d than only five experimental, not educational stations had applied. Finally, he observed that several bills ha d been introduced to Congress, including the Wagner Hatfield Amendment that would protect educational, religious, agricultural, labor, and 66 The difference between the FRC and USOE statistics may reflect different methods of categorization and/or different time periods. 67 Crowell, Annual Report 1933 2. 68 Crowell, Annual Report 1934 12.
177 similar nonprofit associations. While he thought the Wagner Hatfield Amendment had a chance of becoming law, he questioned how the FRC would handle the inevitable law suits whi ch would be brought about by broadcasting stations that have long time contracts in operation.69t hat point on Institute officials worr ied less about l osing their license and turned to plans for future expansion of the broadcasting service. In February of 1935, the FCC sent a staff member to make a site visit at the Institute. This staffer told the administrators that WMBI was highly regarded by members of the new FCC, and that they had appreciated the care that had been exercised from the beginning in making financial appeals. WMBI also had very few complaints registered in their file at the FCC about programming at the Institute. The new s marked a turning point for MBI and from 70 On June 24, 1938, the Moody Bible Institute was the first religious applicant to request a construction permit for a new noncommercial educational radio station The application was for a station using amplitude modulation on the frequency of 41,300 kc with a power of 100 watts unlimited time (B4 PED 6). The Institute was interested in the new category of licensing because they continued to seek a license that would allow the station to broadcast around the clock. 71 In the hearings the e xaminer s were Melvin H. Dalberg and James L. McDowell, while Louis G. Caldwell, Reed T. Rollo and Percy H. Russell, Jr. represented the Moody Bible The Commission designated the application for a hearin g because it was not able to determine if the proposed station would serve the public interest, convenience and necessity. The hearings before an examiner were held on November 4, 1938. 69 Crowell, Annual Report 1934 12. 70 Gene A. Getz, MBI: The Story of Moody Bible Institute (Chicago: Moody Bible Institute P, 1969) 294. 71 Getz 291.
178 Institute. The witnesses included William H. Houghton, president of MBI; Henry C. Crowell, director of the radio station and a ssistant to the p reside nt ; Wendell L oveless, music director of WMBI; Glen B. Gillette, engineer ; and Martin V. Kiebert, Jr. Unlike earlier hearings before the FRC and FCC, th e hearings for a new NCE license (Docket No. 5321) for MBI were much colder, more formal, and confrontational on the part of the FCC examiners. The Commission asked very specific and detailed questions to determine exactly how the radio station finances were handled; how the board of the radio station and the board of the institution functioned ; a nd how the Institute balanced percentages of educational programs versus religious programs The most important questions for the Institute covered specific details about the MBI campus.72 72 Q. Dr. Houghton, the Moody Bible Institut e i s located wholly in Chicago, is it not? A. Yes, it is. Q. Has no branches? A. No branches. Q. Or schools elsewhere? A. No. Q. In other words, it might be said generally that the entire school is located in the Administration Building in Chicago? A. Yes, that is the center of it. See F CC, Official Report of the Proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission at Washington, D.C. November 4, 1938, In the Matter of: The Moody Bible Institute Radio Station, Chicago, Illinois. Docket No. 5321. Call Letters: New. 4041. Record Group 173. N ational Archives II, College Park, Maryland. The examiners challenged the expertise of the Moody witnesses repeatedly, including H.C. Crowells ability to answer financial and engineering questions about the station in spite of his position as director of WMBI (since its founding) and his Yale University engineering degree
179 The e xaminer closely questioned each witness as to the primary purpose of the Moody Bible Institute in making application for an NCE license. President Houghton repeated the Institutes contention that it was an educational entity seeking to provide educational broadcasting We feel that being an educational institution, we have a mission to perform which we could perform perhaps in larger measure by use of this new station. We teach so many subjects of general interest as well as those which are biblical. C ultural subjects that we fe e l that while we are teaching successfully in some measure now over WMBI, such a wave length as this, if we had the license by the grace of the commission, to broadcast, we could broadcast in hours when WMBI is not on the air. T here is a great deal of discussion in these days of adult education. We could have some part in that by conducting evening classes.73 President Houghton was asked to explain what he meant by adult education and whether Moody sought to make a profit on their classes. Several witnesses stated that Moody students on campus were not charged tuition and that their room and board costs covered expenses without generating a profit for the Institute. Many of the questions were designed to determine if Moody made a profit on any of its activities including live remote broadcasts from Soldiers Field in Chicago. Moody had undertaken Easter Sunrise Services at Soldiers Field for several years in which audiences of forty to fifty thousand attended at no cha rge. 74 [A] noncommercial education broadcast station would be licensed only to an organized nonprofit educational agency, and upon a showing that the station would be used for the advancement of the agencys educational program. The FCC rule (Rule 1058) at the time of the filing of the application stated that 75As of April 17, 1939, the FCC instituted a new rule, 45.02, which superseded the former 73 F CC Official Report 17. 74 F CC Official Report 4 75 Federal Communications Commission In re Moody Bible Institute Radio Station, B 31, D ocket No. 5321, Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of the Commission. June 28, 1939. Record Group 173. N ational Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
180 rule, Rule 1058. The decision not to grant the license to MBI was based on Rule 45.02, in force after the MBI application. Under the new rule, an NCE station would be used to advance an educational program of the agency owning the station particularly with regard to use in an educational system consisting of several units. On June 21, 1939, t he FCC held that t he granting of the MBI application would not serve the public interest, convenience and necessity .76W hen the application was denied by the FCC on November 2, 1939, the Institute staff was not surprised. 77 Crowell wrote, [A]pparently the application of the Institute did not fall into the classification of a school system, such as a board of education of a large city, which seemed to be in the thinking of the Commission when this class of station was appointed. He also noted that only two stations in the new NCE class had been authorized by the FCC at that time. The first was given to the Board of Education for the City of Cleveland and the second license went to the Board of Education for the City of New York.78 In making the determination that MBI should not be granted a new NCE station, t he FCC consulted with the Office of Education regarding the Institute NCE application. A transcript of 76 Noncommercial Educational Broadcast Stations, formerly lumped in with HighFrequency Broadcast Stations, were made a separate category in the new rules with the same 25 channels allocated for this service. A revised definition specifies that such stations will be licensed only to a recognized nonprofit educational agency and upon a showi ng that the station will be used for the advancement of the agencys educational program, particularly in regard to use in an educational system consisting of several units. It also specified that such stations shall not get the programs of other classes of broadcast stations unless all commercial announcements and commercial references in the continuity are eliminated. See Annual Report of Broadcasting Station of The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago for year ending April 30 1940, 7. Moody Bible Insti tute Archives. 77 Federal Communications Commission In re Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, Illinois. Application for Construction Permit Order B 31, Docket No. 5321, November 2, 1939. Record Group 173. N ational Archives II, College Park, Mary land. 78 Annual Report of WMBI --Technical Division of The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago March 31, 1940 Moody Bible Institute Archives 7.
181 the 1938 Moody NCE application hearings before the F CC were sent to the Office of Education in the U.S. Depart ment of the Interior where Commissioner John Ward Studebaker, his assistant C.F. Klinefelter, and Harry A. Jager made a recommendation to the commission, based on the transcript of the hearings. They were in unanimous agreement that the Commission should not grant licenses to educational agencies that do not have a system of specific schools in their organization. They specified that the Moody Bible Institute application for an NCE license should be denied.79WDLM FM It appears that they intended for the lice nses to go to public boards of education and that they worked with the FCC to find a way to deny the license to the Moody Institute. After the NCE license application was rejected, Crowell and the new president of MBI, Will Houghton, went to the F CC to consult with Commission members. They were successful in gaining the support of the Commission, and the institute filed a second application for an FM license in the commercial band. The application was granted on March 4, 1941 for an FM station wi th the frequency of 47.5 megacycles to be located in Addison, Illinois. Using the call sign W75C, the FCC ultimately granted a construction permit for a 50,000watt station. Because of WWII, the plans to build the station had to be delayed with the stati on signing on to broadcast on October 1, 1943. The Institute knew that it would be difficult to obtain at 50,000 watt transmitter during wartime. As a contingency, the Institute ordered a 1000 watt Western Electric transmitter and co axial antenna. The FCC granted permission to operate the new station at 79 C.F. Klinefelter, Letter to Mr. A.D. Ring, General Records of the Federal Communications Commission, 5 December 1938, File 89 6, Record Group 173, N ational Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
182 reduced power on a temporary basis.80 The new FM station adopted the call sign WDLM and simulcast much of the programming on the WMBI AM channel. It continued operation until December 18, 1952, when the station ceased operations. Since FM broadcasting was slow to be adopted by the public, few people could receive the WDLM signal, and institute officials decided to end the FM operation. 81Cases B efore the FCC Crowell continued his monitoring of lega l and policy issues that could have an effect on WMBI. In particular, he closely watched two different religious cases pending before the FCC. First, in December of 1938 the FCC commissioners heard arguments regarding newspaper ownership and religious ow nership of stations in the KSD KFUO case. The case was of interest to religious broadcasters because the question of propaganda and religious broadcasting was again being discussed before the FCC. According to Crowell, KSD representatives argued that: Th e conflict was between a non profit religious organization seeking to convert its listeners by extensive missionary work and propaganda, and a commercial station equipped and staffed to perform a real public service. Public preference, is the only saf e guide to public interest, unless our government is to be given over to propaganda. More than 74% of KFUOs programs are religious denominational propaganda.82KSD expressed concern that granting the KFUO application would encourage hundreds of other r eligious, political, and economic groups to apply for stations leading to a welter of discordant voices, each pleading for its special cause. The whole trend of democratic government is against 80 Henry Crowell reported: At the close of our fiscal year, the Institute has about given up hope of obtaining delivery of our 50,000 watt FM transmitter, or of our permanent General Electric frequency modulation antenna, due to war conditions. See Crowell, Annual Report 1942 4. 81 Getz 294295. 82 Henry Coleman Crowell, Annual Report of Broadcasting Station of The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago f or year ending April 30 1938, Moody Bible Institute Archives 2021.
183 special interests getting special privileges.83 The s econd case involved an application for a standard (commercial) broadcast station by the Young Peoples Association for the Propagation of the Gospel in Philadelphia. They requested 1220 kc with 1000 watts of power and daytime operation. The application was denied, reported Crowell, because the proposed station would not be available to all religious groups equally since the founding organization wished to restrict access to groups that held similar beliefs and values. The application was denied on Sept ember 6, 1938 because of concerns that the station would be used primarily for one purpose and to promote the principles of one group. Due to spectrum scarcity, the Commission had concerns that there were not enough frequencies available to give each grou p a license. The Commission stated that the interests of the listening public are paramount to the interest of the individual applicant in determining whether the public interest would best be served by granting an application. 84We are afraid that this decision may have rather far reaching influence with the FCC by setting a precedent which in turn can be applied to other religious educational stations such as WMBI. Crowell wanted the dire ctors of the Moody Bible Institute to be aware that this principle had been upheld by the courts in several cases including a case involving the Chicago Federation of Labor. Crowell concluded: 85Crowell s report continue d with a discussion of the National Association of Broadcasters proposed self regulation of commerc ial broadcasting as set forth on June 10, 1939, by the NAB Code Committee. Of particular concern was the codes discussion of issues relating to religious broadcasting, including the eventual outlawing of all paid religious or evangelical programs, 83 Crowell, Annual Report 1938 20 21. 84 Crowell, Annual Report 1938 38 39. 85 Crowell, Annual Report 1938 39.
184 elimin ation of paid sponsorship of controversial issue broadcasts, the banning of hard liquor advertising, and isolation of editorial commentators in programs other than those of a strictly commentary nature. He included the specific NAB comments related to re ligious broadcasting: Radio, which reaches men of all creeds and races simultaneously, may not be used to convey attacks upon anothers race or religion. Rather it should be the purpose of the religious broadcast to promote the spiritual harmony and understanding of mankind and to administer broadly to the varied religious needs of the community.86By the time the new code was put into place by a favorable vote at the NAB convention on October 1, 1939, m ost of the religious broadcasting material was omit ted, to the relief of the administration at MBI. Crowell observed that reactions among broadcasters ran the gamut, from being excellent to being unfair and a monopoly. Crowell noted without comment that Dr. Samuel M. Calvert, general secretary of the Fed eral Council of Churches in America, had high praise for the code in an address broadcast on the NBC Blue Network on November 10. Calvert was pleased that radio had been able to provide for a religious interpretation of life that is spiritually unifyin g rather than divisive. 87On June 4, 1936, the Davis Amendment The NAB hoped to address the controversy created by the broadcasts of the notorious Father Charles Coughlin, Gerald Winrod, Gerald L.K. Smith, Reverend Fighting Bob Shuler, and others 88 86Annual Report of WMBI --Technical Division of The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago March 31, 1940 Moody Bible Institute Archives 8. 87 Annual Report of WMBI --Technical Division 1940 9. was repealed by the passage of the Wheeler 88 The Davis Amendment (Public Law 195, 70th Congress) was signed into law on March 28, 1928. This amendme nt directed the FRC to provide equality of radio broadcasting service, both of transmission and of reception to each of the five zones established by Section 2 of the  Radio Act. The amendment was an administrative nightmare for a new commission plagued with the problems of an overcrowded broadcast spectrum. See Frank J. Kahn, ed., Documents of American Broadcasting 4th ed. (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1984) 57.
185 Bill and the quota policy that had been in place since 1928 ended. The Moody administration feared losing their license since Chicago was in the zone that was most over its quota of radio stations. The demise of quotas did not immediately alter WMBIs status since the station still shared time with WCBD, (which was under new ownership), and WBT on 1080 kc.89 When WCBD was allowed to move to 820 kc (and to change its call letters to WAIT), the Institute filed for full limited time operation in Chicago. The FCC granted that request on June 29, 1941, and the station began the new schedule on July 6. The institute had to create new programs and hire new technical staff in order to meet the needs of the expanded broadcast schedule.90On March 29, 1941, WMBI moved to an operating frequency of 1110 kc. The move was caused by the adoption of the Havana Treaty, causing most stations in the United States to shift to new frequencies. 91 WMBI shared time with WCBD until the station became WAIT and moved to its new frequency. The FCC granted WMBIs request for full limited time92 on 1110 kc.93 WMBI began the new broadcasting schedule on Sunday, July 6, 1941. WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina and KFAB in Lincoln, Nebraska, be came the dominant stations on the 1110 kc frequency.94 89 WBT was located in Charlotte, North Carolina. 90 Getz 292293. 91 The Havana Treaty, known as the North American Regional Broadcast Agreement, was originally adopted in Havana on December 17, 1937, by representatives of Canada, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico and the United States. The major purpose of the treaty was to avoid international interference in broadcasting. See Getz MBI 293. 92 full limited time allowed WMBI to broadcast between sunrise and sunset. During the summer, the Institute broadcast up to 14 hours per day. The increased schedule required a larger technical and programming staff. See Crowell, Annual Report, 1942. 93 Crowell, Annual Repor t 1942 2. 94 Crowell, Annual Report 1942 12 See also Crowell, Annual Report 1941 1314.
186 In 1957, a group of Cleveland businessmen asked the institute if it would consider applying for a license to operate a radio station in Cleveland. The institute was interested if local funding could support the new operation. The businessmen developed a plan to support the broadcast operation and Moody applied for the new construction permit which was granted by the FCC in 1958. WCRF FM began broadcast operations in the commercial FM band on November 23, 1958 at 103.3 megacycles at 21,500 watts. As FM broadcasting began to grow in popularity in the late 1950s, the institute administration recognized that it needed to act before the FM band was filled in the Chicago area. On October 15, 1958, the MBI Trustees applied to the FCC for a noncommercial educational FM station on channel 211, 90.1 megacycles. In 1960, the Moody Bible College finally received an NCE license from the FCC to operate WMBI FM in Chicago, Illinois. Since there were no other educa tional applicants interested in the frequency at that time, the FCC granted the construction permit on March 31, 1960. The Institute began constructing the station immediately, and the first broadcast occurred on July 25 with an effective radiat ed power ( ERP) of 47,000 watts. At the time, it was the fourth strongest FM signal in Chicago. On July 28, 1965, the ERP was increased to 100,000 watts. 95The call sign was based on the initials of MBI founder, Dwight Lyman Moody. The establishment of a third MBI radio station laid the foundation for the Moody Radio Network. The old call sign for WDLM was used for a new AM station located in East Moline, Illinois at 960 kc in the AM band. The FCC approved a construction permit in December of 1958 for the new station which began operations on April 3, 1960. 96 95 Getz 29 56. 96 Getz 296.
187 The roots of the development of broadcasting at MBI can be seen as an extension of Dwight Lyman Moodys and Henry Parsons Crowells interest in promotion, advertising, and marketing. They both r eached for the newest innovations in communications to connect with their audiences and to spread their message. Though Moody was not interested in higher education in the traditional secular sense, he was always seeking to share information and to educat e people about the message that he felt was most important. Thus, a type of education did lie at the roots of the founding of the Moody Bible Institute.
188 CHAPTER 7 MOODY BIBLE INSTITUT E CASE OF 1977 The Moody Bible Institute (MBI) case of 1977 is the most influential Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision regarding religious applicants for noncommercial educational (NCE) FM radio licenses because it established that religious applicants were held to a different standard than were their secular counterparts and it changed long standing FCC NCE policy by establishing a precedent. The decisions roots reveal a philosophical split within the FCC regarding religion and education that placed FCC s taff members on one side of the issue and the Commissioners and their staff on the other.1 Th e FCC was split by religious cultural differences that can be discerned in American society throughout its history.2 The 1977 Moody Bible Institute decision is a fascinating example of te culture war that exists between the right and the left in American society. In this case, the battle was over two The issue is further confused by words like education and educational. The FCC did not clearly define what was meant by the terms applied to NCE broadcasting creating a vague definition of education that was as murky and unclear as the term the public interest. 1 FCC Commissioners are appointed by the President of the United States The FCC Chair holds the greatest power representing the interests of the a dministration and setting the c ommissions agenda. Each c ommissioner has a staff that reflects the commissioners political agenda. The c ivil s ervice staff members at the FCC ar e tenured and hold positions that are not dependent who the c ommissioners are. Since their term of service tends to be longer than that of the c ommi s sioners and their staff and is not connected to political appointment, their interests may run counter to those of the c ommissioners. Some bureau chiefs and other important staffers may ally themselves with the interests of industry while others may ally themselves with the interests of the current chair or c ommission majority. In 1977 at the time of the MBI decision, the c hair, Richard Wiley and his six colleagues had all been appointed by President Nixon or President Ford. In contrast, a few key c ivil s ervants at the FCC had roots that extended back to the early 1960s. Barry Cole and Mal Oettinger Reluc tant Regulators: The FCC and the Broadcast Audience (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison Wesley 1978) 15. 2 Robert Wuthnow The Struggle for Americas Soul: Evangelicals, Liberals, and Secularism ( Grand Rapids, M ich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub, 1989) 1538.
189 FM radio frequencies in the NCE FM band, a narrow range of frequencies set aside by the FCC in 1945 for noncommercial educational radio broadcasting.3 The 1977 decision was a hotly contested struggle that echoed the clash over religious broadcasting in the late 1920s Great Lakes decision, a landmark case (th at i nvolved MBI indirectly) at the F ederal Radio Commission. Though the battleground is relatively smallthe 20channel NCE band, 87.9 to 91.9the conflict at the heart of the 1977 MBI case presents an opportunity to examine how the uniquely American struggle with religion plays out in the regulation of radio broadcasting. 4 In all FCC decisions there are at least two versions of the story. There is the official version as published by the FCC ; and there is the unofficial, background story that can reveal how the decision, the official story, was made. In the MBI case of 1977, the rift between religion and education was expressed in a contentious series of confrontations between the two most The conflict underscores the continued long term existence of simmering cultural tensions that are relatively unchanged since their public eruption in the Scopes Trial in 1925. The outcome of the MBI case highlights the advances made by the religious right in the decades after the Scopes Trial and the subsequent shift in public attitudes toward religion in American political and cultural life. The continued presence of the Moody Bible Institu te as the only religious, educational broadcaster arguing before the FRC and the FCC for its rights as an educational broadcaster and as a religious broadcaster from the mid 1920s until the decision in 1977 (and to the present) underscores the importance o f MBIs role in changing FCC policy. 3 Robert J. Blakely, To Serve the Public Interest: Educational Broadcasting in the United States ( Syracuse: Syracuse UP 1979) 7478. 4 In the matter of the application of Great Lakes Broadcasting Co. No. 4900; Agriculture Broadc asting Co., No. 4902; Wilbur Glenn Voliva, No. 4901. Annual Report of the Federal Radio Commission for the Fiscal Year 1929, 3235.
190 vocal actors in the argument, Stephen A. Sharp and Martin Levy. Their personal battle played out in verbal altercations in meetings and in Machiavellian behindthe scenes power plays. Though the rest of the players chose to sit on the sidelines, their behind the scenes support can be discerned in the official record and in their comments and a ctions after the case was decided. In 1977, the Institute was again before the FCC requesting two noncommercial educational licenses and defending its position that it was an educational institution and deserving of the opportunity to have a noncommercial educational radio station.5 5 At the time of the MBI case, the FCC evaluated a religious organization that operated a school when it applied to be licensed as an educational organization using the following factors: 1. Whether the school was accredited by the state or other secular accrediting organization. 2. Whether the credits are transferable to state operated or licensed schools. 3. The size and composition of the faculty. 4. The qualifications required for admission and graduation. 5. The type and nature of courses offered. 6. The stated purpose of the school. Ultimately, the Commission decided to grant the applications for two license s in the NCE FM band but not before a bitter fight exposed the different viewpoints that existed at the FCC, differences that led to verbal confrontations and behindthe scenes maneuvers that were designed to either establish this decision as a precedential decision complete with extensive legal explanations or as a simple decision that once again would not settle the issue of granting NCE lic enses to religious organizations The precedential power of the case ultimately rested on a power struggle between two men at the FCC Stephen A. Sharp and Martin Levy.
191 The MBI case first came to Stephen Sharps attention when he served as senior legal advisor to Commissioner Margita E. White .6 The Mass Media Bureau recommended denial of Moodys two applications for NCE FM licenses in East Moline, Illinois and Boynton Beach, Florida. As Sharp read the case, he came to the conclusion that the decision as proposed by the Bureau was legally unsustainable. Sharp stated the proposed denial struck me as fundamentally unfair and seemed to constitute an uncons titutional discrimination against Moody because it was religious. I remember reacting very negatively when I learned that the Bureau was employing a double standard for applications for educational licenses. When it was brought to my attention, I be gan making inquiries and doing research.7 Sharp adopted Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas absolutist outlook as his model for legal standards Sharp stated, I believe in free speech and that even the most outrageously stupid expression has the right to be spoken and heard. I do not believe in any form of censorship by the government, and dont like it when it is done by private organizations. 8 Sharp visited with staff members and legal advis e rs to the FCC commissioners and with so me of the commissioners as part of his research, including discussions with Larry Secrest, then a legal advis e r in the office of Chairman Richard Wiley. Secrest later became d eputy general c ounsel to the FCC. The result was a consensus amongst the c ommis sioners and their staff to 6 The Concurring Statement attributed to FCC Commissioner Margita White was written by Stephen A. Sharp in his capacity as senior legal advisor to Commissioner White. He held that position from the time of her arrival at the FCC in the summer of 1976 until late 1978. She left the FCC in 1979. Sharp became the general counsel at the FCC in 1981 and was appointed Commissioner in 1982. His tenure at the FCC was cut short in 1983 after the counsel was reduced from seven members to five members in June of 1983. 7 Stephen A. Sharp [email@example.com], Moody, private e mail message to Laura D. Johnson, [firstname.lastname@example.org], 31 May 2001. 8 Sharp.
192 grant the Moody applications. The next step was to schedule the case for discussion at a Commission meeting. Sharp described Deputy Bureau Chief Martin Levy as being the chief proponent of the Mass Media Bureaus view th at the Moody applications should be denied. As a senior FCC staff member of long standing and an attorney, Levy was viewed as being a formidable opponent by Sharp because of his precise knowledge and understanding of the FCC bureaucratic process. Though Sharp did not discuss religion with Levy at any point, he believed that Levy was politically a liberal Democrat and a staunch supporter of public broadcasting, a believer in educational radio.9no doubt threatened his liberal outlook. That fundamentalists were generally regarded as being anti Semitic could only pour gasoline on his heated attitude. The idea that the frequencies reserved for his pet project, noncommercial educational broadcasting might be used to advance the cause of Christian religion (and not the brand practiced by the National C ouncil of Churches) set him [ Levy ] on the road to apoplexy. He had no problem in licensing Pacific a Foundation, which aired leftist polemics and broadcast avant garde art with few inhibitions, and which was not affiliated with a school as an educationa l broadcaster. Pacifica had no instructional programming. Yet, he saw no inconsistency in denying a religious applicant which was not affiliated with a school. In his own thought process, I think, he simply could not believe that religion and education could coexist. He perceived them as mutually exclusive. Sharp surmised that Levy might have been Jewish. Ac cording to Sharp, Levy was strongly opposed to religious broadcasters because he viewed them as being conservative Christian fundamentalists which 10 In these statements, the split between conservative and liberal perspectives toward religion and education in America is evident. It should also be noted that Sharp is speaking for Martin Lev y and revealing his own assumptions about Levys position. 11 9 Sharp Bracketed material added. 10 Sharp 11 Martin Levy could not be located for an interview. Sharps position may have been more rooted in his absolutist stance toward the law than in his personal religious
193 beliefs but he reflects the position of the religious right regarding the role of religion and education in American public life. Though he was not a Christian fundamentalist, he did have self described amicable relationships with Jerry Falwell, a fundamentalist and Pat Robertson, a pentecostal ist both leaders in the Christian Right. The case was placed on the agenda at several meetings but passed over until the meeting of June 9. Larry Secrest and Sharp both described the lengthy discussion of the MBI case as being contentious and heated with Deputy Bureau Chief Levy arguing every possible way to deny MBI the two licenses. Secrest described the decision as being the most contentious decision of his eight year tenure at the FCC.12 The consensus amongst the Commissioners, generated by Sharps research and legwork, held up despite Levys attempts to persuade the Commissioners to deny MBIs request. Sharp felt that Levys frustration led to public displays of animosity toward Sharp during the meeting. Perhaps Levys anger reflected the frustrations of a senior FCC staff memb er used to getting his way after three decades of experience while Sharp was the self described young upstart who had thwarted his plans. As Sharp explained I had the votes to grant the applications. The Commission voted to grant and directed that an order be written to do so.13 Sharp wrote the legal opinion for his commissioner, Margita White Sharp intended for the opinion to be the published Commission decision. The extensive explanation of the legal justification for the decision was spelled out by Sharp in the White opinion in order to give precedential value to the decision. Sharp and the Commissioners planned to settle once and for all the questions surrounding religious applicants for NCE FM radio licenses. However, at the 12 Larry Secrest, interview with Laura D. Johnson, 23 August 1997. Washington D.C. 13 Sharp.
194 end of the day, the other Commissioners did not sign on to Commissioner Whites opinion. Commissioner Hooks joined Chairman Wiley in what Sharp called a milquetoast opinion and the remaining four commissioners chose to vote without placing their names on either opini on.14 The Commission rejected the Bureaus item and directed that a new order be issued that granted the applications to MBI. Though Commissioner Whites legal opinion ( written by Sharp) was not used as the majority opinion and could only be publishe d as a concurring opinion, Levy was furious according to Sharp. Levy was unhappy that MBI had gained its two licenses and that the decision, if published as ordered by the Commissioners, would establish a preceden t 15 Sharp said that s hortly after the June 9 meeting, he went to New Orleans to represent the FCC before the Court of Appeals. While there, he met with former FCC General Counsel Ashton Hardy, a lawyer in New Orleans who represented a number of religious broadcasters. Hardy was very interested in the Moody case since it was of interest to his clients and had relevance to a current case. During their discussion, Sharp was surprised to learn from Hardy that the Moody decision had not been issued by the FCC. Sharp called FCC staff member Beul ah Hylton to determine why the decision had not yet been published. Hylton kept the minutes of the FCC meetings and processed the agenda items and orders. In their conversation, Hylton informed Sharp that Levy had told her not to assign an FCC number to the decision because there would be no FCC opinion, and that the Bureau was going to grant the licenses to MBI as a staff action. 16 14 Sharp 15 Sharp 16 Sharp Sharp asked her, Beulah, what do the minutes say? She told him that
195 the minutes stated that the Commission had voted t o issue a Commission decision. Sharp then asked for the next available FCC number (for citation purposes) that could be assigned to the Moody decision. He told her to reserve that number for the Moody decision. Since she knew that Levy would not write the decision, Sharp told her, I will have an order ready for printing on your desk within 24 hours of my return to Washington. Once off the phone, he then told Hardy that he could cite to FCC 77422. Levy was clever ; and I was lucky. He planned to gra nt the applications as a staff action because a staff action would not be precedent. He would outlast me and the sitting commissioners and once we were gone, he would go back to the old way. Moreover, if there were no Commission level order, the opinion I had written would have nothing to attach to. One cannot concur to an order that does not exist. 17Levy did not know about this development until the order was released to the public His reaction was a prelude to Mount St. Helens. He called me every name I had learned in the Army and fumed in frustration that he had been beaten at his own game. Because the minutes showed clearly a direction to issue a Commission order, he did not t ry to argue Levy was following the tradition at the FCC of not establishing a preceden t in areas related to religious broadcasting. By not explaining the reaso ning behind decisions the staff could leave a lot of wiggle room for future applications that might be similar. They also avoided some legal challenges when applications were denied since the applicant did not know the full reasoning behind the decision. In these controversial applications, the staff issued terse decisions that stated the application(s) were granted or were not granted and gave little additional information. Sharp said that when he returned to Washington, he wrote the twoparagra ph order that is printed in the FCC Reports and sent Commissioner Whites concurring opinion to Beulah Hylton who had it printed and issued. He described Levys response 17 Sharp.
196 the point. He did, however, take every opportunity to undermine me personally thereafter.18 The published versions of the Moody decision are not identical. Sharp recommends reading the opinion with the attachments that were dropped out of the official FCC Reports. 19 The full opinion was printed by Pike & Fischer Radio Regulation, Series II20not to offend the staff. and contains an appendix with the program schedule of the applicant. According to Sharp, the FCC staff made notes in the margin that s how how the staff rigged the count to say to say the application was not educational by evaluating classical music programs as being religious programs and thus, not educational. Footnote four was altered, according to Sharp, by adding a final sentence so as 21 18 Sharp. 19 66 F.C.C.2d 162 (1977) 20 40 RR 2d 1264 (1977) 21 Footnote 4 The appendix to this opinion contains Moodys proposed weekly program schedule for each station, upon which are the handwritten staff evaluations of religious content. Staff working papers summarizing the count of religious minutes are also a ppended. One can readily discern the morass into which we sink when the process leaves us faced with deciding whether Handels Messiah, Verdis Requiem, J.S. Bachs St. John Passion, C.P.E. Bachs Magnificat in D, or recording of Gregorian chants constitute religious music, for the purpose of deciding that a station is too religious to be educational. See description of East Moline, Sunday, 8 p.m., Sacred Music. Even the good faith effort of the staff to implement these Commission precedents cannot overcome the inherent defects of the system. (italicized material added to opinion according to Sharp) In the Federal Communications Commission Reports official version, the re is a statement declaring that the Moody Bible Institute is qualified to receive an NCE license, that a grant of its applications would serve the public interest, and that the applications are granted by the FCC and issued by the FCC Secretary, Vincent J. Mullins This statement is absent in the Pike and Fischer version.
197 F ollowing the official statement is the short Concurring Statement of Chairman Richard E. Wiley and Benjamin Hooks. In this statement, Wiley argue d that MBI is conducting activities that are educational and that the grant of the construction permits for the NCE stations is appropriate and serves the public interest. Wiley stated that the Commission does not have a standard that clearly defines w hen an organization is qualified for an NCE license under 47 CFR Section 73.503. He was concerned that the FCC standards were particularly unclear when a religious applicant was compared with nonreligious applicants. Wiley stated that religious organiza tions may have faced discrimination when they were not judged on the same basis as nonreligious organizations. In looking to past cases and decisions, Wiley believed that the FCC had not judged all applicants for NCE licenses fairly in the past, holding religious applicants to a different standard. He clearly believed that the granting of two NCE licenses to MBI helped to correct past decisions and that the FCC needed to further define their policy in the area of NCE secular and religious applicants.22 The Concurring Statement of Commissioner Margita E. White (written by Sharp) is much longer than Chairman Wileys Statement and resembles a legal brief in that it clearly states the legal arguments behind the MBI decision. At the outset, the statement establishes the intent to alter the previous policy of the FCC regarding religious applicants for NCE licenses by citing the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC requirement that the FCC must provide an opinion or analysis indicating that the standa rd is being changed and not ignored. 23 22 Moody Bible Institute of Chicago 66 F.C.C.2d 162, 40 RR 2d 1264 (1977) 23 454 F.2d 1018, 1026 (D.C. Cir. 1971). In the second paragraph, the White statement then tackle d the issue of NCE licensing explaining that in the
198 four decades since the creation of the NCE licensing category for radio, the FCC never defined what was mean t by educational broadcasting or educational organizations. It was clear in the White statement that the FCC never addressed the overly broad definitions of the terms education and educational that developed slowly over the fortyyear period through various decisions that were related to NCE licensing. Though some educators, including Office of Education Commissioner John Ward Studebaker, had concerns about the use of the terms education and educational at the creation of NCE licensing, the FCC never developed a more effective method to define NCE broadcasting. As a result, the various decisions made by the FCC regarding religious applicants for NCE licenses over the fortyyear period were piecemeal, without a coherent direction, leading ultimately to an educational standard that existed only as a title. By the time of t he MBI decision, the FCC accepted a very broad definition of educational programming, one that did not require accreditation for the educational applicant. 24 By 1977, public radi o licensees were required by the FCC to be educational in name only as nonprofit corporations that stated that their programming would be educational without providing any proof of their ability to provide or to create educational programming. From 1938 t o 1977, the FCC discouraged religious applicants who called by phone or who wrote requesting information about the application process by telling them that religious groups and organizations were not eligible for NCE licenses. This tactic kept untold numb ers of religious groups out of the NCE application process, or they were encouraged to apply for a frequency in the 24 S. Nisenbaum 19 RR 1175 (1960); Keswick Foundation, Incorporated, 26 FCC 2d 1025 (1970); Christ Church Foundation, Inc ., 13 FCC 2d 987 (1968); National Educational Foundation, Inc., 15 FCC 2d 1032 (1968). Pensacola Christian School, Inc ., 41 FCC 2d 74 (1973); Bible Morav ian Church, Inc 28 FCC 2d 1, 21 RR 2d 492 (1971).
199 commercial band which became increasingly difficult. This led to few licenses being awarded to religious groups and organizations. In Bible Moravian Church, Inc.,25that religion and education are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, religion and education have been intertwined throughout history, both in Western and nonWestern civili zations. Even in this secular age of technology it is preposterous to say that religious instruction is not educational. Many religious groups maintain a serious and wide ranging involvement in educational matters. Even were this not so, it is not t he province of government to say that religion, or theology, is unacceptable as a subject of education and instruction. the White Concurring Statement finds the central legal concern of the MBI decision. In 1971, the FCC rejected the Bible Moravian Church claim that education was the quintessence of religion by ruling that the Commission ha d to examine the entire application to determine the essential purpose of the organization as to its educational or religious nature. If the educational aspects were not found by the FCC to be the primary aim of the organization, then the FCC would not fi nd that the organization was educational in nature. The White Concurrence argued 26 The White Concurrence stated that when government steps in to say that religion is not involved in education or educational activit ies, then the government is in violation of the First Amendment 27 barring both the free exercise of religion and of the abridgement of free speech. The government has to have a compelling state interest to support the infringement of the free exercise of religion or speech.28 25 28 FCC 2d 1, 21 RR 2d 492 (1971). 26 Moody Bible Institute of Chicago 66 F.C.C. 2d 164 (1977) 27 Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. 28 Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 66 F.C.C. 2d 164 (1977) citing Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398, 406 (1963). See also Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972). A related question ask ed whether the Commission was censoring content and if the FCC was impermissibly determining the religious nature of the
200 organization or institution. The Concurrence asserted that Commission policy as stated in Pensacola Christian School, Inc.29 violate d the holding of the Supreme Court in Cantrell v. Connecticut30nature that [A] State may not unduly suppress free communication of views, religious or other, under the guise of conserving desirable conditions. [To require] a license, the grant of which rests in the exercise of a determination by State authority as to what is a religious cause, is to lay a forbidden burden upon the exercise of liberty protected by the Constitution. The Pensac ola policy require d the applicants that were found to be primarily religious in 31states that the Commission cannot censor any radio stations programming or signal. to meet a higher standard than secular stations by proving that it was operating a school in the community of license for the new station. In this way, the Commi ssion was not following the ruling of Cantrell since the Pensacola policy require d a determination of the religious aspects of the applicant. In addition, the process of evaluating the religious content of programming also placed the Commission in conflict with Section 326 of the Communications Act of 1934 which 32 29 41 FCC 2d 74 (1973). 30 310 U.S. 296, 308, 307 (1940). 31 Pensacola Christian School, Inc., 41 FCC 2d 74 (1973) 32 Communications Act of 1934, Section 326. The White Concurrence also dr ew on the equal protection aspects of the Fifth
201 Amendments due process clause33objectives. arguing that the FCCs intrusion into the areas of free speech and religious freedom was discriminatory since it could not be shown that the system was structured with precision" and "tailored narro wly to serve legitimate and compelling 34 33 Unlike the Fourteenth Amendment, the Fifth contains no equal protection clause and it provides no guaranty against discriminatory legislation by Congress. Detroit Bank v. United States, 317 U.S. 329, 337 (1943). At other times, however, the Cour t assumed that discrimination, if gross enough, is equivalent to confiscation and subject under the Fifth Amendment to challenge and annulment. Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, 301 U.S. 548, 585 (1937). The theory that was to prevail seems first to have been enunciated by Chief Justice Taft, who observed that the due process and equal protection clauses are associated and that [i]t may be that they overlap, that a violation of one may involve at times the violation of the other, but the spheres of the protection they offer are not coterminous.[Due process] tends to secure equality of law in the sense that it makes a required minimum of protection for everyones right of life, liberty and property, which the Congress or the legislature may not withhold. Our whole system of law is predicated on the general, fundamental principle of equality of application of the law. Truax v. Corrigan, 257 U.S. 312, 331 (1921). Thus, in Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 499500 (1954), a companion case to Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), the Court held that segregation of pupils in the public schools of the District of Columbia violated the due process clause. The Fifth Amendment, which is applicable in the District of Columbia, does not contain an equal protection clause as does the Fourteenth Amendment which applies only to the states. But the concepts of equal protection and due process, both stemming from our American idea of fairness, are not mutually exclusive. The equal protection of the laws is a more explicit safeguard of prohibited unfairness than due process of law, and, therefore, we do not imply that the two are always interchangeable phrases. But, as this court has recognized, discrimination may be so unjustifiable as to be violative of due process. FindLaw: Internet Legal Resources. The White opinion argue d that the legal philosophy found in the Pensacola and Bible Moravian Church decisions at the FCC h eld religious applicants to a higher standard than secular applicants and c ould not withstand strict scrutiny by the courts. Thus, the White Concurrence argued that the FCC policy regarding religious applicants prior to the Moody case of 1977 was patently unconstitutional and a form of invidious discrimination that must be rejected and reversed. Both the Wiley and the White concurrence s call ed for clearly articulated standards for NCE licensing that would not discriminate against applicants based on their religious or nonreligious nature. In June 1977 the Commission granted the application of the Moody Bible Institute for a http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment05/13.html 4 June 2001. 34 Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 66 F.C.C. 2d 166 (1977) citing Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 556 (1965); Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438, 447 n. 7 (1971). See also Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 74 S.Ct. 693, 98 L. Ed. 884 (1947).
202 station in Boynton Beach, Florida, reversing its earlier position in Pensacola Christian School35Concurring Statement, Chairman Richard E. Wile y, of not allowing some organizations to be licensed in communities other than t he community where the organizations school is located. For the first time the Commission decided that religious organizations must be judged on the same basis as nonreligious organizations. In his 36clarify the policy in the near future. stated that all applicants for NCE licenses had not been judged on the same basis, but he expected that the Commission would seek to 37 T he published legal arguments underpinning the MBI decision identified FCC policy with deep historic roots in the Federal Radio Commission 38decision established a precedent that all applicants for NCE FM licenses would be treated equally from that date on. Ultimately, the decision opened the door to a wave of applications that began to fill the NCE FM band over the next decade. For s ecular NCE broadcasters, the MBI decision was profoundly important because it closed off future opportunities for new secular stations and expansion of existing stations coverage areas After four decades of protection, the secular educational broadcasters were dismayed by the MBI decision because it effective ly ended their special protections as most available frequencies were filled after religious applicants applied for NCE FM licenses in large numbers. that discriminated against religious applicants by holding them to a different standard than their secular counterparts. The MBI 35 41 FCC 2d 74 (1973). 36 Richard E. Wiley was appointed by President Richard Nixon to the Federal Communications Commission on November 1, 1971. In February of 1974, Wiley became the Chairman of the FCC and served until September 12, 1977. See Gerald V. Flannery, Commissioners of the FCC, 19271994 (Lanham: UP of America, 1995) 160162. 37 The Moody Bible Institute, 66 F.C.C. 2d 162 163 (1977), 44 RR 2d 1265 (1977). 38 Great Lakes Broadcasting, 3235.
203 CHAPTER 8 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSI ONS Summary Radio broadcasting began in a random fashion. In the decades before 1920, radio broadcasting developed in the hearts and minds of scientists and hobbyists. They created the early technical and programming aspects of radio in laboratories, private homes and even garages. Educational organizations were involved in the research and development of radio at secular and religious colleges and universities. Commercial businesses sought to develop radio to use in profitmaking activities. By 1920, KDKA in Pitt sburgh, Pennsylvania began to broadcast a regular schedule of music and entertainment. Other stations quickly followed suit. Soon the airwaves reflected a colorful variety of stations representing for profit and nonprofit organizations. Secular and reli gious nonprofit groups, including the Moody Bible Institute and the U.S. Office of Education sought to use radio to extend the reach of their message. The dream of radio created a profound interest in broadcasting that quickly led to intense competition for listeners as too many radio stations crowded too few frequencies. The fight to gain the listeners attention led some stations to try aggressive tactics such as increasing the power output and skipping from assigned frequencies to other frequencies The net result was massive interference, resulting in complaints from both public and broadcasters. The chaos on the airwaves caused great frustration for broadcasters, the listening public and government regulators. U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Labor Herbert Hoover attempted to regulate radio broadcasting under the Radio Act of 1912 in order to decrease the interference issues since Congress did not quickly move to resolve the situation. He responded by organizing a series of national conferences f rom 1923 to 1927 to explore the future of radio. Leaders in the radio industry called for Congress to pass new legislation that would allow for the regulation of
204 broadcasting. Though Hoover supported educational broadcasting at the conferences, his decis ion to establish a three tiered system of licensing laid a poor foundation for the future of nonprofit broadcasting. By placing all nonprofit stations in the third tier, assigned for local stations only, he assigned them to the weakest channels. The 1912 Act gave the Commerce Secretary the power to assign channels and to issue licenses but made no provisions for the Secretary to make regulations or boundaries on licenses stations. Hoover was particularly displeased when string of legal decisions clarif ied the 1912 Radio Acts lack of regulatory oversight for broadcast stations. Secretary Hoover learned that he had no regulatory power to regulate existing stations. He could grant licenses to new stations but had no power to control existing stations. Congress created the new Radio Act of 1927 and the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), grossly underfunded administrative agency staffed primarily by engineers borrowed from other agencies. The FRC held public hearings in late March and early April of 1927 in to discern the best plan to reduce interference problems on the airwaves. The Moody Bible Institute was represented at the hearing by Henry Coleman Crowell who was the first speaker to represent religious and educational broadcasting in a hearing befor e the FRC. He requested reserved channels to be set aside for religious and educational broadcasters arguing that the religious programming interrupted commercial broadcasts and that commercial programming interrupted the religious programming. Despite t he request from MBI for protections for nonprofit broadcasters, later decisions by the FRC, including General Order 40 in 1928, reinforced the third class status of all nonprofit stations. Commercial stations and network owned stations were assigned the c lear channels and second tier frequencies while nonprofits had to share their marginal, local frequencies with each
205 other. These government actions, perhaps based in technocratic, quantitative reasoning, insured that nonprofits would be marginalized. Mos t did not survive the harsh regulatory environment. The Radio Act of 1927 required that the Commission determine that the public interest, convenience or necessity would be served by its action before licensing a broadcast station. By 1928, the FRC ha d established precedential decisions that defined that ambiguous public interest phrase as being served by general purpose broadcast stations. The FRC believed that nonprofits were more likely to serve special interests than to serve the public intere st. The Commission also argued that radio spectrum was scarce and that stations needed to provide a general service program to meet the needs of all and not just a few listeners, in order to serve the public interest. The financial issues faced b y most nonprofits were daunting. Engineers at the FRC established a technocratic mindset that evaluated the overall quality of a station by its technical excellence rather than its programming and service to the community. Nonprofit stations found it dif ficult to purchase the best quality equipment when the frequency shifts ordered by the FRC required the purchase of new equipment. General Order 40 and later FRC decisions moved stations from frequency to frequency for periods as short as a few months. N onprofits were usually under funded and unable to defend themselves against legal challenges from the better funded commercial broadcasters. The FRC also allowed stations to challenge other stations for desirable frequencies. The Commissioners used comp arative hearings to determine which station would better serve the public interest. The commercial interests usually won the challenges leading some nonprofits to give up and to simply cease broadcasting while others were forced off the air. Concern over the
206 light of the nonprofit broadcaster led to twenty nine bills related to nonprofit broadcasting being proposed by federal legislators by 1938. Though educational and other nonprofit broadcasters faced a difficult path in the early years of radio, religious broadcasters had to contend with additional negative baggage. Already, federal regulators had encountered quacks and schemers who operated radio stations to promote their questionable ploys and the commission wished to forestall further use of the medium for extremist messages, gyps and rackets. This group included a number of religious figures. Wilbur Glenn Voliva and Reverend Robert Shuler, for example, created problems for regulators in the early days of radio broadcasting. Voliva used his station to teach his belief that the world was flat and Fighting Bob Shuler used his airtime to attack public figures. The controversies later created by Father Charles Coughlin, Gerald Winrod, and Gerald L. K. Smith supported unfavorable perceptions of religious broadcasters. Negative urban perceptions of the rural and religious were reinforced by the acerbic writings of H.L. Mencken and Lewis Sinclair. Their disparaging presentations of events such as Scopes Trial still resonate negatively in the present. Some religious broadcasters faced problems gaining access to the airwaves through the new radio networks and independent radio stations. When NBC began an arrangement with the Federal Council of Churches of Christ (FCCC) for programming through their member churches, conservative ministers and churches found their ability to broadcast was restricted. Christian conservatives feared being driven from the airwaves permanently and they placed the blame on (what they considered to be) the liberal Federal Council of Churches of Christ for their dilemma. The FCCC represented mainline Protestant religious broadcasters which NBC utilized on air to the exclusion of the more conservative religious broadcasters. NBCs model
207 was accepted by the other networks, and conservatives were forced to buy time from independent stations creating their own networks in order to broadcast their message. The Moody Bible Institute entered the world of radio broadcasting in 1925 by purchasing time on WENR. The Insti tute then applied for and received a license through the Department of Commerce for its first radio station in 1926. During the first broadcast, the Institute found that interference issues with another station affected the program, a common problem for a ll stations at the time. As soon as the FRC was formed in 1927, Moody faced a number of issues shared with most other broadcasters, including shifting frequencies and short term licenses. Though the FRC responded positively to the Institutes lobbying eff orts, Moody was still required to share time with another religious station, WCBD. MBI began the process of sending representatives to Washington, D.C. on a regular basis to meet with FRC staff and commissioners. The Institute was concerned that they wou ld be forced off the air by commercial interests or by the FRCs anti nonprofit stance. In 1929 MBI was an indirect player through its connection to WCBD in the battle for frequencies that led to the FRCs Great Lakes Statement. The FRC found that religi ous and sectarian stations were propaganda stations because they served a narrow audience and did not serve the public interest. Moody administrators worried that the finding would push the station off the air. They responded by sending a team of advoc ates, including the head of the Quaker Oats Company, to represent WMBI in the comparative hearings before the FRC. They argued that the Institute was not broadcasting propaganda but as a nondenominational educational institution, the Institute was broadca sting educational programming. Though the Institute did not gain its own license, once again, MBI was allowed to remain on the air. In contrast, most religious and educational stations were forced off the air in the years after the creation of the Federal Radio Commission.
208 Congress created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with the passage of the Communications Act of 1934. Congress responded to the question of not for profit broadcasting by mandating the FCC studying the issue and report bac k its findings. T he newly formed FCC reported that special set aside frequencies were not needed for nonprofit broadcasters at that time. They waited four years to create new frequency allocations for educational radio and the United States Office of Education (USOE) Commissioner, John Ward Studebaker, was present at the hearings and in meetings, guiding the Commission. President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Studebaker Commissioner of Education in 1934. Studebaker was nationally known for his innovat ive use of public forums for adult education funded by the Carnegie Foundation and had prior experience with educational radio in Des Moines, Iowa. As Commissioner of Education he served on the Interdepartmental Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) and was ask ed by the FCC to chair several committees that were studying the question of nonprofit and/or educational broadcasting, including the Federal Radio Educational Committee (FREC). At the USOE, educational radio had been explored by earlier Commissioners a nd staff. Studebaker first sought to promote cooperation between educational interests and commercial broadcasters, exploring the question of educational radio through the USOE staff and grants from the Department of Interior for radio programs and radio conferences. He then began to ask the FCC for special reserved or set aside channels for the use of educational radio. Studebaker presented his ideas about special channels for education on radio in letters, public speeches, in meetings, and before the F CC. When the FCC created Noncommercial Educational (NCE) broadcasting in the ultrahigh frequency band in 1938, FCC staff directly cited Studebaker and the staff of the USOE as keeping the question of special channels for education at the forefront
209 of thei r discussions. They included documents prepared by Studebaker in the official minutes of the meeting when NCE licensing was created in January 1938. Studebaker corresponded with many prominent educators and politicians including Eleanor and Franklin Roos evelt, sending letters and documents about various aspects of education and educational radio. The FCCs 1938 creation of reserved channels for education set a precedent that led to the 20channel reservation in todays FM band and to the reserved educati onal channels in the television bands. When the Moody Bible Institute became the first religious organization to apply for an NCE license in 1938, the FCC consulted Studebaker to determine if Moody was eligible for an NCE license. Studebaker and his staff said that Moody was not eligible and helped the FCC develop an additional standard for NCE licensees that required the licensee to operate more than one campus. This standard was crafted to insure that NCE licenses would be granted to public school systems since most had more than one school or campus. Few religious or other private nonprofit groups could meet that requirement at that time. Later, Studebaker made specific recommendations for NCE allocations that utilized frequency modulatio n (FM) and also requested two set aside channels for educational television in public hearings. He left government service in 1948. After Studebaker stepped down from the USOE, the FCC began to relax its requirement that NCE stations be licensed to public school systems or educational institutions. In 1949, the FCC granted an NCE FM license to the Pacifica Foundation, creating the firs t NCE station to be run by a nonprofit corporation with no connection to an educational institution. This type of station came to be known as a community licensee. Religious educational institutions such as Fordham University and Notre Dame University we re also successful in gaining an FM NCE license. Their success reflects the low demand for FM licenses of all types in the 1940s and the
210 FCCs more positive regard for mainstream religious educational institutions. Though few conservative religious groups gained an NCE license before 1977, MBI was successful in gaining an NCE license in the FM band in 1960. Religious groups utilized various forms of radio broadcasting as licensing was made available by the FCC. Once television was established after WWII conservative religious broadcasters found it much easier to gain access to air time on commercial radio stations as radio lost advertising revenue to television and sought new ways to generate income. Station licensing became possible in the commercial FM band since FM licenses were not as in demand until the 1960s. In 1965, the FCC issued a policy statement on comparative broadcast hearings which stated that programming categories would not be part of the comparative process. In making this statement, the FCC ceased requiring a religious category of programming content, perhaps in response to concerns regarding the First Amendments Establishment clause. The 1967 Public Broadcasting Act established a new era for secular educational broadcasting by cr eating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with proposed plans for future federal funding of NCE broadcasting. The Act led to the creation of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR). The term public broadcasting became the accepted way of referring to radio and television stations that were licensed as NCE stations and members of PBS or NPR. The term is also used to describe secular alternative NCE stations that are members of Pacifica or are independent. The Carnegie report opened the door to a broadened definition of education (in relation to broadcasting) by suggesting that NCE licensees could become public broadcasters without defining the term public.
211 The House Conference Report on the 1967 Act offered a definition of Educational Television or Radio Programs to mean programs that are primarily designed for educational or cultural purposes and not primarily for amusement or entertainment purposes. As passed, the 1967 Act broadened the definition of educational broadcasting to include entertainment as an acceptable goal. In the early 1970s, the FCC dealt with a series of applications for NCE FM licenses from religious groups including the Keswick Foundation in 1970, the Bible Moravian Church in 1971, a nd Pensacola Christian School in 1973. The FCC stated that the Keswick Foundation and Bible Moravian Church were not nonprofit educational organizations under existing FCC rules and denied their applications. The Commission did not publish the full text of the decisions, choosing to limit the precedential potential of each the decision. In Pensacola Christian, the FCC justified its decision to deny the application, citing the earlier Keswick decision as a precedent. However, the FCC official claim that PCS would not be allowed to have an NCE license outside of Pensacola because it was a religious applicant has no basis in official documents related to Keswick. In each case, the decision appears to have been made ad hoc In 1975, Lorenzo Milam and Jere my Lansman filed a petition at the FCC requesting changes in FCC rules and regulations regarding the licensing of NCE FM stations. The two community broadcasters believed that government and religious organizations of all types should not be allowed to ow n or control noncommercial FM radio stations. In addition, they wanted each nonprofit organization to control only one NCE FM station per market. Their purpose was to promote and protect the community model of NCE broadcasting since the noncommercial F M radio band was beginning to fill in most large markets.
212 Though the petition was quickly denied by the FCC, religious organizations around the country organized a letter writing campaign against the petition. Dubbed The Petition Against God and linked incorrectly to the atheist Madalyn Murray OHair, conservative Christians responded by burying the FCC in tens of millions of letters and cards over the decades that followed. Though the FCC and other organizations have repeatedly explained that the pe tition was not a threat, the mail continues to arrive at the FCC to the present. In the Moody decision of 1977, the FCC reversed its previous stance toward most religious NCE applicants and granted MBIs request for two NCE radio stations. Th e official FCC Reports version of the case and the unofficial Pike and Fischer version of the decision reflects the conflict between two individuals, Stephen Sharp and Martin Levy, who represent the cultural divide that existed at the FCC and in American c ulture. Stephen Sharp, a member of FCC Commissioner Margita Whites staff (and later an FCC Commissioner), organized the Commissioners response to the case by researching the history of religious NCE licensing and presenting an argument for Moody that pr evailed despite the efforts by FCC staff to deny the applications for two licenses. Sharp wrote the Concurrence published in the decision under Margita Whites name. Martin Levy, a senior FCC staff member, led the fight to convince the Commissioners not to grant the licenses but could not muster the legal arguments necessary to prove that the White/Sharp Concurrence arguments were not sustainable. Findings In the first chapter of this study, five questions were posed, questions that were to be the focus and purpose of the research. The first question asked why are religious stations found in the NCE FM band? To answer that question several additional questions had to be answered. For example, what were the philosophical roots behind the creation of NCE radio? What did the FCC intend for NCE radio to be at its inception?
213 As shown in Chapter Two and Chapter Four, the roots of NCE radio are found in the history of public education in America. Public education was secular when NCE radio was created in 1938. It appears that Commissioner Studebaker and the FCC believed that only public educational entities should have NCE licenses, thus NCE radio was secular. They did not view other nonprofit organizations as being eligible for NCE licenses because the y were not part of the public educational system. Concerns about the power of radio to influence public opinion and the negative perceptions of religion in the popular press and American culture may also have influenced the decisions by Herbert Hoover, the FRC, the FCC, and Commissioner Studebaker to treat religious applicants (and other nonprofits) differently than their secular counterparts. The study sought to explain the role of the Moody Bible Institute in the development of NCE religious broadcastin g. Chapter Six and Chapter Seven show that MBI was a leader in the development of religious radio and religious noncommercial educational radio. The Institute was the only religious organization active in the development of regulatory guidelines for radi o from its inception to the present. Henry Parsons Crowell developed a stable financial foundation for MBI after the death of Dwight Moody. Crowell was a successful businessman whose use of mass media helped establish the Quaker Oats Company. He and his son, Henry Coleman Crowell, helped the Institute explore the uses of mass media to share the message of the Institute. Finally, the study seeks to explain why the FCC chose to grant two licenses to MBI in the 1977 decision that essentially opened the door to religious NCE radio, establishing a precedent. Chapters Four and Five explore the creation of the NCE category of licensing and ad hoc nature of many NCE radio decisions prior to the MBI decision of 1977. The term educational evolved in FCC de cisions to its most general definition. Chapter Seven explains that the FCC MBI decision was guided by Stephen Sharp during his tenure on Margita Whites staff. Sharp
214 argued that the FCC violated the rights of religious NCE applicants in the past citing the First Amendment and the equal protection aspects of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. The FCC was also in conflict of Section 326 of the Communications Act of 1934 which precludes the censoring of programming content. Discussion During the early FRC attempts to end interference on the airwaves, many religious stations and other nonprofits were driven off the air. Later, as commercial network air time became scarce for conservative religious broadcasters, they began to seek alternative w ays to access the airwaves. Religious broadcasters sought licenses in new areas of radio, such as the experimental AM and FM frequencies. Since frequencies were scarce in the existing spectrum, religious broadcasters looked to new technologies and new spectrum to gain access to the airwaves. Their belief in the power of radio may explain why they were among the first to apply as new forms of licensing were made available. Evangelical Christians, in particular viewed the new medium of radio as an appropriate tool for the evangelizing of the world. In addition, the Moody Bible Institute (and other religious institutions that engaged in curriculum based instruction) held that they were educational institutions providing educational programming and were el igible for NCE licensing when it became available. F ear of the power of radio to manipulate the listener may have worked to undermine support for the interests of the nonprofit broadcasters at the FRC since they were viewed as being more likely than comme rcial stations to promote doctrinal or political messages. C ontroversial broadcasters who practiced questionable medicine or spewed extremist politics on the air, gave all nonprofits a black eye. Radio evangelists who broadcast extremist messages combine d with the cultural aftershocks of the Scopes Trial and the general cynicism toward religion in the 1920s amongst elites, may have led the FRC to view nonprofit stations and religious nonprofits in
215 particular as being propaganda stations and not serving the public interest. In addition, the technocratic mindset at the FRC valued the technical aspects of broadcasting and placed the resolution of the interference problems caused by the crowded spectrum before all other considerations. The FRC was created primarily to deal with the problems caused by interference. Thus, the attempts by nonprofits to address social, political, labor, religious, educational, and other concerns were of less importance to the engineers at the FRC. They had an enormous technic al job to accomplish with limited staff and funds. Other concerns were pushed aside. When the NCE licensing category was created in 1938, the FCC looked to the Office of Education, led by Commissioner John Ward Studebaker, for the development of guidelines for NCE licensing. The Office of Education was the Federal representative of public education in the United States and the initial plans announced by the FCC for NCE stations reflect ed the USOE intention for the new stations to be part of public education in America. The new NCE s tations were to be connected to public school systems and to provide programming that supported the curriculum while also providing educational programming of a more general sort to the public at large. Studebaker believed that public forums could be extended by radio to provide adult education through an early form of distance learning, leading to a more productive and better informed citizenry. He proposed that e ducational radio should be used t o strengthen democracy in America by helping to educate the voting public. Studebakers vision of educational radio reflected the progressive education movements goal of solving social problems caused by urbanization, immigration, and industrialization. Conservative r eligious applicants were treated differently than secular applicants for NCE licenses historically because the FCC tended to view them as not being eligible for NCE licenses
216 The FCC also guided religious applicants away from applying for NCE licensing in the early decades of NCE broadcasting, thus few religious NCE stations were licensed before the 1960s. The Commission argued that the applicants were religious and not educational in nature. Religious applicants were routinely discour aged from making application for licenses and the applications were usually denied without complete official published explanations. The FCC reflected the mainstream belief that public education should be secular and echoed the FRCs stance that religious stations could not serve the public interest because they were sectarian. The early FRC statements regarding the public interest were promulgated in response to the concern that a religious stations programming and other nonprofit programming was too na rrow to serve the general audience in a time of spectrum scarcity. The FCC did not appear to consider the First Amendment rights of religious organizations as being paramount in the NCE licensing process until 1977. However, the First Amendment was and i s an ever present issue in the world of broadcasting and the questions explored in this study. The FCC decisions regarding license applications by religious organizations and institutions for noncommercial educational radio stations in the NCE band were decided on an ad hoc basis for much of U.S. broadcasting regulatory history. Staff and Commissioner turn over and the lack of clear, legally defendable guidelines for educational broadcasting may have created the ad hoc conditions. When one examines the history of FCC actions regarding MBI, the application of NCE policy appears to be inconsistent. The ad hoc nature of other FCC religious NCE decisions is even more apparent. Religious nonprofit organizations with connections to specific churches were much less likely to gain an NCE license than secular nonprofit organizations, even those that planned community stations that would serve the general public The stations that were licensed were often attached to religious educational institutions
217 such as col leges and universities and provided programming that was more secular than religious. In addition, they tended to be better financed and politically connected. For the first decade of NCE licensing, the FCC relied on the Office of Education to help det ermine the educational aspects of each applicant. Once John Studebaker stepped down as Commissioner of Education in 1948, a change in application of NCE policy occurred fairly quickly when the application of the Pacifica Foundation for an NCE license was granted in 1949. Pacifica was the first organization that was not traditionally educational (or religious) to receive an NCE license. The Pacifica Foundation is a legally incorporated nonprofit organization that had no formal educational purpose other than the intention to produce radio programming. Founded in 1946 by Lewis Hill, a pacifist conscientious objector, Pacificas mission was to create a new kind of radio that would provide alternative programming focusing on world peace, alternative news, an d the creation of new art forms. An unintended consequence of the advent of Pacifica radio appears to have opened the door at the FCC to a new, broader understanding of what NCE radio broadcasting could be. After awarding the NCE license to Pacifica for its first station, the FCC moved away from the stance that educational licenses must be awarded to educational agencies that would provide radio programming to a system of schools. The Pacifica decision laid the ground work for future community stations a nd organizations that wished to operate nonprofit stations. A fundamental problem in the issue of NCE policy is the use of the word educational. Though Studebaker believed that the term educational was too broad, he was not able to persuade the FCC to adopt a tighter definition for the new type of not for profit broadcasting. Studebaker understood before NCE licensing was created in 1938 that the term educational
218 would not support his vision of how NCE licenses should be used. That is why he propos ed the odd term curriculair to define and limit the use of educational radio to broadcast curriculum based and related programming. Another weak term proposed by the FCC was educasting but it provided less guidance than the term educational in defining the purpose of educational radio. In the many NCE decisions that followed Pacifica, the FCC appears to have applied a very loose definition of educational that ultimately evolved into a few simple requirements. In order to gain an NCE radio licens e, the proposed station would have to be governed by a legally incorporated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the stated purpose of providing educational programming. The Moody Bible Institute occupies a pivotal role in the history of religious a nd educational broadcasting. The Institute is one of only a few of nonprofit broadcasters left from the hundreds who signed on stations in the early years of radio. Only a handful of nonprofit religious stations founded in the 1920s are still owned and operated by the founding organization. Moody is the only religious educational broadcaster that argued repeatedly to defend its status as an educational broadcaster before the FRC and the FCC over the fifty years leading to the Moody decision in 1977. Moodys active role in the development of radio policy at the FRC and the FCC is also unusual, though not perhaps not totally surprising, since WMBI is the only religious station that sent representatives to Washington on a regular basis beginning in 1927. T he Moody leadership had the ability and the will to continue their broadcasting agenda long after most religious broadcasters had withdrawn. Their battle was supported by the financial and political foundation laid by Henry Parsons Crowell, Chairman of the MBI Board of Directors.
219 Dwight Moody believed that traditional methods of ministry were not reaching the working class in large cities like Chicago. He intended for the Institute to train gap men, a kind of lay ministers who could effect positive cha nge in the rapidly changing world of modern, urban culture. The Institute, like Studebaker and the USOE, sought to use radio as a tool to address social problems caused by urbanization, immigration, and industrialization, though the message of the Institu te was religious. Moody representatives at hearings argued for religious broadcasting, educational broadcasting, and nonprofit broadcasting, requesting special set aside frequencies for the use of nonprofit broadcasters as early as 1927. They act ively worked within the existing legal system, cooperating with the FRC and FCC, seeking licensing at every opportunity and they never quit, no matter the outcome. Moody officials guarded their reputation by never attacking other broadcasters on air and b y carefully following FRC/FCC rules and regulations. They kept precise records of the events in the world of radio that could affect their broadcasting and responded when they felt it was necessary to do so. For example, when the FRC used the term propa ganda in 1929 to describe programming on a religious station, Moody felt it had to act in order to defend its own purpose before the FRC. Moody officials were concerned that the FRC would regard all religious and other nonprofits as propaganda stations and refuse to renew their licenses. When the FCC created the new category of noncommercial educational licensing in 1938, MBI was the first religious license applicant. In their application documents and exhibits, one can see a restatement of the arguments made in 1927 and 1929 before the FRC. Moody presented itself as a nondenominational educational institution that provided classes for thousands of students from all over the world. They included a number of photographs that
220 showed representatives fro m sixty different denominations, thirty different countries, classes over radio, the staff and day students of MBI and the facilities of MBI and WMBI. The FCC responded to the application by allowing MBI the opportunity to present oral arguments in which the use of photographs was questioned by the examiner. The tone of the 1938 hearings was more confrontational than earlier hearings before the FRC. The FCC examiner closely questioned the MBI representatives regarding the educational and religious activi ties of the Institute and the radio station. Transcripts of the hearings were sent to John Studebaker and his staff for evaluation. It appears that the FCC relied on Dr. Studebaker to make the final determination regarding the educational status of applicants for NCE licenses and that the close quest ioning at the hearings provided information that the FCC used to explain the denial of the application. Studebaker and his staff, reflecting mainstream attitudes toward conservative religious organizations, sought to block the Moody application. They asked the FCC to require that licenses be awarded to school systems with more than one campus. At the time, Moody had one campus. In his annual report, Henry Coleman Crowell noted that the FCC issued revised regulations on April 17, 1939 covering the new ty pe of broadcasting station and that the denial of the application appeared to be based on the new revision of the rules In 1959, MBI again applied for an NCE license in the reserved educational FM band at 90.1 MHz on channel 211. It was grant ed on March 31, 1960, and the station was given the call sign WMBI FM. The 1977 FCC decision to grant two NCE licenses to MBI was unusual for several reasons. First, the versions published by the FCC and Pike and Fischer were different. Second, it was rare to have an extensive concurrence attached to an NCE radio decision. Third, it was a
221 contentious decision. Fourth, after granting an NCE license in 1960, the FCC faced an internal struggle over Moodys eligibility for NCE licenses in the 1977 dec ision. Finally, the decision put to rest the Moody Bible Institutes long term efforts to gain FCC acceptance as to being eligible for NCE licenses. To gain the license in Boynton Beach, Florida for WRMB, MBI agreed to open an evening extension school a s a compromise with the FCC. The decision took more than six years to resolve and Moody was still held to a different standard with the school requirement than were other secular NCE licensees like Pacifica. The legal reasoning behind the decision states that religion and education are not mutually exclusive and it is not the province of government to say that religion is unacceptable as a subject of education and instruction. Next, the decision contends that government intrusion into the questi on of religious education is a violation of the First Amendment by interfering in the free exercise of religion and free speech. Then, the decision claims that the Commission was in conflict with Section 326 of the Communications Act of 1934 by deciding l icensing issues based on programming content. Finally, the decision held that the Commission was violating religious applicants rights under the equal protection aspects of the Fifth Amendments due process clause, citing Bolling v. Sharpe. Thus, the de cision claims that the FCC stance held religious applicants to a different and higher standard than secular applicants for NCE FM licenses and could not withstand strict scrutiny by the courts. The fight over the Moody decision at the FCC reflected the c ulture wars found in American society. Stephen Sharp represented the conservative side of the clash while Martin Levy represented the progressive viewpoint. Levy attempted to prevent the precedential power of the decision by publishing the decision as a short statement explaining that two licenses were
222 granted to MBI as a staff decision, not as a decision by the Commissioners. He followed the tradition of brief official publications of earlier NCE religious NCE decisions. In the minutes of the earlier FCC meetings on file at the National Archives II, the decision to publish or not to publish the text of the full decision is indicated at the top of official documents that have obviously been processed in an official fashion. There are dates and notes that indicate the records are official. Had Levy been successful, the official paper record in the minutes of the meetings would not have agreed with the audio recording of the meeting. When Sharp heard of Levys plan, he arranged to publish the full dec ision as decreed by the Commissioners. The official decision by the Commissioners was published in two different versions. The official FCC version omits hand written notes (by FCC staff) that Stephen Sharp sought to include in order to show bias on the part of the Commission staff. The Pike and Fischer version leaves out a short statement by the FCC Secretary. Though the decision to grant the licenses was unanimous, only Commissioner Margita White was willing to put her name on the opinion written by S tephen Sharp. FCC Chair Richard Wiley and Commissioner Benjamin Hooks chose to write a short opinion that stated simply that NCE broadcasting had not been well defined and the lack of definition led to religious broadcasters receiving unequal treatment. The 1977 decision by the FCC to grant two NCE licenses to the Moody Bible Institute essentially opened the doors to religious broadcasting in the NCE band because it established a precedent for the issue that definitively settled the issue for NCE radio. Whites concurring opinion arguing that the FCC stance toward religious applicants prior to 1977 was patently unconstitutional was actually written by Sharp, a member of Whites staff. And although only White signed onto this opinion, Richard Wiley and Benjamin Hooks clearly called for articulated standards for NCE licensing that would not be discriminatory. However,
223 they left the FCC before new standards were developed. The 1978 NOI that sought to amend the FCC rules regarding eligibility for an N CE radio or television license did not lead to new regulations and was terminated in 1989. The FCC used the guidelines published in an appendix to the NOI as a guide when considering NCE decisions. According to Sharp, some of Levys concern lay in his per sonal beliefs about conservative Christians. It is also possible that Levy believed that the NCE band was intended for a secular type of educational broadcasting and that he genuinely did not believe religious groups fit the criteria for licensing. Sharp indicated that Levy was a supporter of public broadcasting, the form of educational broadcasting that was common at the time of the Moody decision. Levy worked at the FCC throughout the developmental years of public broadcasting and was well versed in th e historic understanding of educational broadcasting at the FCC. Moodys long term battle to be recognized as an educational entity that provided programming that served the public interest paved the way for other less powerful religious broadcasters to ga in access to NCE licenses. Moodys success also curbed the expansion of the secular public radio system. Though religious applicants were interested in licensing, it took several years after the Moody decision before religious applications began to arriv e at the FCC in large numbers. In 1989, National Public Radio wrote its member stations informing them that religious groups were applying for NCE licenses by the hundreds and that NPR stations would not have future opportunities to expand (such as by inc reasing effective radiated power or by building new stations) since the NCE FM band would soon be full. NPR stations were advised that the FCC had placed a hold on applications in order to give all existing NCE stations the opportunity to apply to expand their services.
224 The history of the Moody Bible Institute decision of 1977 at the FCC may show that the rise of the Religious Right which led to the creation of the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition, and other powerful political organizations, began far earlier in the twentieth century than is commonly recognized. Many authors point to the unrest and turmoil of the 1960s as the genesis of the political organizations that led to the election of Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Bush, and George W. Bush. However, the lobbying activities of MBI to change government policy over five decades and the religious broadcasters success in using mass media to disseminate their message may have planted the seeds that paved the way for the modern movement that seeks to desecularize the American public sphere. The Christian Fundamentals movement may have gone underground in American culture after the Scopes Trial in the 1920s, but the infrastructure and foundations of the political and cultural movement that led to the election of Presidents and Administrations that supported conservative religious beliefs and goals grew out of the Moody Bible Institute (as a leader in the Bible Institute movement), and the many conservative Christian organizations with connections to Moody. The religious conversion of a portion of the NCE FM band greatly reduced the prospect for expansion of secular NCE radio. Educational broadcasters were slow to take advantage of available FM spectrum and FCC Chairman James L. Flys pro phetic warning in 1943 that educators would lose the reserved channels if they did not use them proved to be true. The FM NCE band that developed after the 1977 MBI decision reflects the ongoing American cultural argument about the role of religion in education and modern life and gave evangelical and fundamentalist Christian groups increased opportunity to spread their message to the world. Further research into the issues surrounding religious noncommercial broadcasting could focus on the reactions of secular broadcasters and educators to the change in NCE policy at the
225 FCC, including trade association reactions and organized public broadcasting reactions. The scope of this study essentially concludes with the 1977 MBI decision. Further research into the effects of MBI lobbying activities and the 1977 FCC decision on other religious broadcasters is indicated as well as further study of the expansion of religious NCE broadcasting. Additional public telecommunications issues and conflict involving religion, education, and government funding could be explored by examining applications and denials for grants from the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP) at the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) in the Department of Commerce as well as the question of licensing religious noncommercial educational television stations. The protections of the First Amendment cover several issues at the heart of this study. First, the rights of the public to receive information led to the creation of the public interest standard and the idea that broadcasters serve as trustees of the spectrum, a limited resource that belongs to the public. Because of the public interest standard, broadcasters have more regulatory restrictions than o ther media outlets and fewer protections under the First Amendment. Second, the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment prevent the government from establishing, supporting, or restricting any religion or religious activity unless there is a compelling state interest to so. The FRC and the FCC accepted that spectrum scarcity in the early days of radio was a compelling state interest and used that reasoning to limit the access of religious broadcasters to licensing during the 1930s and 1940s, arguing that the audience would not be served by stations with a narrowly focused message. They required stations to carry religious programming as one part of the total programming. Decades later, FCC Commissioner Lee Loevinger argued in a series of articles in the 1960s that the FCC, as a government agency was establishing religion by requiring stations to carry some form of religious programming.
226 In 1965, the FCC ceased requiring religious programming or other specific programming catego ries in comparative hearings apparently recognizing the First Amendment conundrum posed by a government agency requiring the broadcast of religious programming. As new radio spectrum developed and new communications media were created, the scarcity proble m became less of an issue. The compelling state interest to regulate religious content on radio began to fade. The delicate balancing of listeners interests versus broadcasters interests versus the rights of religious applicants for licensing began to s hift. The rights of religious applicants to receive equal treatment in the application process and the rights of religious broadcasters to receive equal treatment during comparative hearings became clear. The FCC is restricted from content regulation by Congress and the First Amendment, thus its regulatory role in the area of religious broadcasting is very restricted. If the FCC had clearly defined NCE broadcasting as being curriculum based in the public schools and if Congress had reaffirmed t hat definition when creating public broadcasting in 1967, then religious broadcasters might have been blocked from gaining access to NCE licenses. However, Congress plainly stated in each of the major regulatory Acts that the FRC and the FCC could not censor programming, making it difficult, if not impossible to deny a license based on programming content. In addition, the protections under the First Amendment for religious messages through freedom of speech and freedom of expression would appear to be a major hurdle for regulators to clear. A regulatory agency with no power to censor programming content would seem to be on thin ice when evaluating a religious station for programming content. It would be difficult if not impossible to refute the religiou s broadcaster s claim that education is the quintessence of religion. The FCCs inability to define programming may have contributed most to the change in NCE radio policy that could allow any legally organized
227 nonprofit organization that claims it wil l provide educational programming to broadcast while using an NCE license. By the 1970s, the relaxed characterization of educational broadcasting especially for radio, was broadened through several NCE decisions at the FCC; through the creation of Public Broadcasting in 1967; and through the creation of community broadcasting as an acceptable standard. These changes combined with the beginnings of desecularization of the public sphere made it difficult, if not impossible, for the FCC to argue that religious educational broadcasters were not eligible for educational licenses. In the so called Petition against God decision in 1975, the unintended outcome created by Milam and Lansman, became the single most effective letter writing campaign in history. It also demonstrated the strength and organization of the religious right to officials. Regulators may have been influenced by this overwhelming show of solidarity by supporters of religious noncommercial broadcasting and religious broadcasting of all types. The FCCs decision to grant MBI two NCE frequencies to MBI in 1977 may reflect changes in American beliefs regarding the role of religion in the public sphere. By the 1970s, with the rise of the religious right, conservatives in America appear to have accepted that religion, particularly conservative Protestant forms of religion, should have a more public role than was previously accepted. The Republican Party discovered that the religious right was vital to a Republican majority and formed allia nces with conservative Christians, Jews, and Catholics. The Republican majority at the FCC did not support the idea that the First Amendment separated the public function of religion from the public role of the state, resulting in a more private position for religion in the American public sphere. In addition, some of the Commissioners and staff members believed that the religious applicants rights of free expression under the First
228 Amendment had been denied by earlier FCC (and FRC) attitudes and decisions regarding religion. The Moody Bible Institute, like other conservative religious organizations, may have existed outside mainstream American culture as a leader of the Christian fundamental movement. However, the Institute worked to achieve specific political goals despite its appearance as an outsider. By choosing to work with the existing political system at the FRC and the FCC, and by carefully avoiding controversy, the Institute sought to allay regulator concerns regarding propaganda and controver sial messages. In addition, the Institute reflected values that were the norm for conservative Protestant businessmen. Dwight Moody and Henry Coleman Crowell were successful businessmen who utilized tools and systems created in the world of business to d evelop, promote, and protect the work of the Institute. The Institutes appearance as an outsider may have been ameliorated by its Protestant Capitalist ethic and its careful political stance and strategy. Moody sought to address the problems of modernit y from its position as a moderate fundamentalist Christian educational institution. In addition, Henry Coleman Crowell, as an engineer, understood the technical problems of radio and developed effective strategies for dealing with the technocrats at the F RC. The Institute was better prepared to fight for its radio frequency than most broadcasters. The Paulist Fathers were a progressive organization within the Catholic Church. They also sought to address the social issues caused by indus trialization, urbanization, and immigration through education and social support functions. They sought to use WLWL as a tool to address social issues in New York City. Their progressive roots were close to the progressive roots of the USOE and Studebake r. However, as a Catholic organization, they appear to have existed further outside the Protestant mainstream than did Moody. They also
229 adopted a more visible and vocal stance that publicly worked in opposition to the FRC and the FCC in contrast to Moodys quieter, behind the scenes use of lobbying. Though many groups and individuals fought to create a special category of licensing and frequency protections for various types of nonprofit radio, the FCC decision in 1938 to create noncommercial educationa l radio appears to have grown out government interests rather than the interests of private citizens, social agencies, and religious groups. Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur organized the first federal efforts to explore the uses of radio for ed ucation. His decision to bring together representatives of the USOE, IRAQ, FRC, and industry leaders, in May of 1929, to discuss the possible uses of radio in public education created a synergy that aided Studebaker in his quest to create noncommercial ed ucational broadcasting.
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Laura Deen Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Audio/Radio Studies at the State University of New York in Fredonia, New York. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Brass Performance from Florida State University and an M.B.A. from the Universit y of West Florida. Her professio nal background includes fourteen years in public radio where she produced music and public affairs programming. Before returning to the University of Florida to pursue the Ph.D. in Mass Communications, she managed a public radio station and produced a commercial college football and basketball radio network. Her research interests include media history, media law and policy, and the role of religion and politics in American culture.