Business: TKO for RKO

Purged by a parent's payola

Should the sins of a corporate parent be visited on its subsidiary companies? Yes, said the Federal Communications Commission in a startling 4-to-3 decision last week that stripped RKO General of its valuable television broadcasting licenses in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. It was one of the harshest actions in the often sleepy agency's 45-year history.

The past behavior of RKO's parent, General Tire & Rubber Co., determined the decision. Ten years ago, General Tire signed a consent decree with the Justice Department, which charged it with forcing buyers of its tires to advertise them on RKO...

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