➦In 1735…In the American colonies, the defense of John Peter Zenger against libel charges in 1735 is often seen as the cornerstone of American press freedom. After the American Revolution, several states provided for freedom of the press, and the First Amendment (1791) to the U.S. Constitution declared that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.” Whether these acts were intended to prohibit prosecution for seditious libel or merely to prohibit prior restraint has been a matter of controversy.
➦In 1921...KDKA Pittsburgh aire the first tennis match on radio. Within eight months management figured out that sports on radio would bring in big sales revenues; so the Davis Cup match between Great Britain and Australia was aired on the radio.
➦In 1927...General Electric's WGY in Schenectady, NY, began experimental operations from a 100,000-watt transmitter. Later, the FCC regulated the power of AM radio stations to not exceed 50,000 watts on “clear channels” frqeuncies.
WGY was the flagship station of General Electric's broadcast group from 1922 until 1983. It is the heritage clear-channel occupant of the 810 kHz frequency and has a signal which covers much of the Northeast by day and much of the eastern United States by night.
➦In 1957…The Everly Brothers made their second appearance on CBS-TV's "The Ed Sullivan Show" singing "Bye Bye Love" and introduced their upcoming single, "Wake Up Little Susie," a song that was initially banned by radio stations in Boston and elsewhere because it was about two teenagers who accidentally fell asleep together at a drive-in movie. The song, however, does not say that Susie and her boyfriend had sexual relations. In fact, it strongly implies that they did not. They simply fell asleep because they were bored by the movie.
➦In 1966...a ban of The Beatles records went into effect at some radio stations. United Press International story on the developing radio ban, appeared in a Camden, New Jersey newspaper, used the headline, “DJs Ban The Beatles for Lennon Remarks.” The News and Observer newspaper of Raleigh, NC used that same day used a more descriptive headline: “Stations Ban ‘Sacrilegious’ Beatles.” Another that day, The Republic newspaper in Columbus, Indiana, ran the headline: “Christianity Will Go, Says Prophet Lennon; Beatles ‘More Popular Than Jesus’?”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Capitol Records, which then distributed Beatles recordings in the U.S., had already issued a statement explaining that Lennon was “quoted out of context and misconstrued.” Rather, Lennon was being “conjectural” on the topics of Christianity and rock `n roll, said the spokesman, and “only intended the broadest comparison…. He definitely intended no irreverence.” Nonetheless, the radio bans of Beatles music continued.
➦In 1983...WHTZ 100.3 FM moved its transmitter to Empire State Building in Manhattan.
New York City is the largest media market in the United States. Since the September 11 attacks, nearly all of the city's commercial broadcast stations (both television and FM radio) have transmitted from the top of the Empire State Building, although a few FM stations are located at the nearby Condé Nast Building. Most New York City AM stations broadcast from sites across the Hudson River in New Jersey or from other surrounding areas.
Broadcasting began at the Empire State Building on December 22, 1931, when RCA began transmitting experimental television broadcasts from a small antenna erected atop the spire. They leased the 85th floor and built a laboratory there, and—in 1934—RCA was joined by Edwin Howard Armstrong in a cooperative venture to test his FM system from the building's antenna. When Armstrong and RCA fell out in 1935 and his FM equipment was removed, the 85th floor became the home of RCA's New York television operations, first as experimental station W2XBS channel 1, which eventually became (on July 1, 1941) commercial station WNBT, channel 1 (now WNBC-TV channel 4). NBC's FM station (WEAF-FM, now WQHT) began transmitting from the antenna in 1940.
NBC retained exclusive use of the top of the building until 1950, when the FCC ordered the exclusive deal broken, based on consumer complaints that a common location was necessary for the (now) seven New York-area television stations (five licensed to New York City, NY, one licensed to Newark, NJ, and one licensed to Secaucus, NJ) to transmit from so that receiving antennas would not have to be constantly adjusted. Construction on a giant tower began. Other television broadcasters then joined RCA at the building, on the 83rd, 82nd, and 81st floors, frequently bringing sister FM stations along for the ride. Multiple transmissions of TV and FM began from the new tower in 1951.
In 1965, a separate set of FM antennas was constructed ringing the 103rd floor observation area.
When the World Trade Center was being constructed, it caused serious reception problems for the television stations, most of which then moved to the World Trade Center as soon as it was completed. This made it possible to renovate the antenna structure and the transmitter facilities for the benefit of the FM stations remaining there, which were soon joined by other FMs and UHF TVs moving in from elsewhere in the metropolitan area. The destruction of the World Trade Center necessitated a great deal of shuffling of antennas and transmitter rooms to accommodate the stations moving back uptown.
As of 2012, the Empire State Building is home to the following stations:
Television broadcasting: WCBS-2, WNBC-4, WNYW-5, WABC-7, WWOR-9 Secaucus, WPIX-11, WNET-13 Newark, WNYE-25, WPXN-31, WXTV-41 Paterson, WNJU-47 Linden and WFUT-68 Newark
FM broadcasting: WBMP (now WNYL) -92.3, WPAT-93.1 Paterson, WNYC-93.9, WPLJ-95.5, WXNY-96.3, WQHT-97.1, WSKQ-97.9, WEPN-98.7, WBAI-99.5, WHTZ-100.3 Newark, WCBS-101.1, WFAN-101.9, WWFS-102.7, WKTU-103.5 Lake Success, WAXQ-104.3, WWPR-105.1, WQXR-105.9 Newark, WLTW-106.7 and WBLS-107.5
➦In 1987...the Federal Communications Commission voted 4-0 to rescind 'The Fairness Doctrine' for radio and television broadcasters.
The Fairness Doctrine was a policy, introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission's view, honest, equitable and balanced. The FCC eliminated the Doctrine in 1987, and in August 2011 the FCC formally removed the language that implemented the Doctrine.
The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented.
The main agenda for the doctrine was to ensure that viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints. In 1969 the United States Supreme Court upheld the FCC's general right to enforce the Fairness Doctrine where channels were limited. But the courts did not rule that the FCC was obliged to do so. The courts reasoned that the scarcity of the broadcast spectrum, which limited the opportunity for access to the airwaves, created a need for the Doctrine. However, the proliferation of cable television, multiple channels within cable, public-access channels, and the Internet have eroded this argument, since there are plenty of places for ordinary individuals to make public comments on controversial issues at low or no cost at all.
The Fairness Doctrine should not be confused with the Equal Time rule. The Fairness Doctrine deals with discussion of controversial issues, while the Equal Time rule deals only with political candidates.