The Press: Great Mystery

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In December, the Federal Radio Commission set aside 20 transoceanic and 20 inter-continental wavelengths in the short-wave spectrum for the use of the U. S. Press. Soon, newspapers and press associations found themselves in disagreement over what waves should be whose. Hearings were held before the Federal Radio Commission in Washington, D. C., during the last fortnight. The Hearst representative charged that the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle had combined forces to snatch an unwarranted share of the wavelengths. The New York Times representative replied, among other things: "The Times, for reasons of its own, does not care to take Hearst news from Chicago." Another complication was the position of the giant Associated Press, a non-profit-seeking organization serving some 1,200 newspapers.

Finally, last week, partly through the good offices of Karl August Bickel, president of the United Press, an agreement was reached. The Federal Radio Commission was asked to allocate the 40 wavelengths as follows:

Two transoceanic and five intercontinental wavelengths each to the Associated Press, United Press (jointly with Scripps-Howard newspapers), International News Service (jointly with Hearst papers).

One transoceanic and two intercontinental wavelengths to the Consolidated Press.

The other wavelengths were to be divided among the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, New York World, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle, and American News Traffic Corp.

But this whole arrangement was blown into the air when the Radio Commissioners decided that the Associated Press, from the nature of its membership, could not be regarded as a "public utility" and was therefore ineligible to use the public ether.

Further confusion resulted when the Radio Commission was attacked on the ground that, with only three (out of five) members now in office, it could not legally take, any action at all. The commission's attacker was the newly formed National Radio Press Association, Inc. (TIME, March 4), which plans to gather news items throughout the U. S., write them, and sell them to radio broadcasting stations. The N. R. P. A. had asked the Commission for 20 wavelengths but in the confabulations of the rest of the U. S. press it had been wholly ignored.

Charks A. Sloan, president of the N. R. P. A., announced last week what was suspected last fortnight, that all of its capital stock is owned by Herbert Bayard Swope, retired-executive brain of the New York World, and "a group of wealthy and influential associates."


Standard Oil Co. of New York, Ward Baking Corp., Reid Ice Cream Co., R. Fischman & Sons (soda fountains), Trommer Breweries, Drake Bakeries Co. and Adolf Gobel, maker of skinless hot dogs, are some of the backers of a magazine now called The Wayside Stand, a monthly carrying news for wayside pop and hot-dog vendors. Not the least part of this magazine's program is to make the hot-dog stand contribute beauty to the countryside.

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