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[H. Con. Res. 215, 92d Cong., 1st sess., introduced by Mr. Van Deerlin on
March 18, 1971]
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION Whereas radio and television broadcasters are licensed to serve
the public interest, convenience, and necessity; and Whereas the Advertising Council and numerous radio and tele
vision broadcasters have, voluntarily and without charge, cooperated in presenting public service announcements for the Federal and State and local governments, and depart
ments and agencies thereof; and Whereas the United States Army Recruiting Command has com
mitted itself to the expenditure of $10,600,000 for a four
month radio and television recruiting campaign; and Whereas freedom of expression and vigorous and unfettered media
for the dissemination of news, views, and information are essential parts of this Nation's legal and social traditions and are absolutely necessary to the existence of any free demo
cratic society; and Whereas the receipt of significant sums of money by radio and
television broadcasters from a department of the Federal Government raises the specter of Government influence over
this sensitive media: Now, therefore, be it 1 Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate 2 concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that the 3 Federal Government, State and local governments, and de4 partments and agencies thereof should not expend public 5 funds to purchase time for the carriage of advertisements by
6 radio or television broadcast stations.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE,
Washington, D.C., April 20, 1971.
sentatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : Reference is made to your request for the views of the Department of Defense with respect to H. Con. Res. 215, 92d Congress, "Expressing the sense of Congress with respect to paid advertisements broadcast for the Federal or State or local governments or departments or agencies."
The proposal would resolve it to be the sense of the Congress that the Federal Government, State and local governments and departments and agencies thereof should not expend public funds to purchase time for the carriage of advertisements by radio or television broadcast stations.
Title 10, United States Code, Section 503, states that “The Secretary concerned shall conduct intensive recruiting campaigns to obtain enlistments in the Regular Army, Regular Navy, Regular Air Force, Regular Marine Corps and Regular Coast Guard." The President has established the goal of reducing draft calls to zero by June 30, 1973 and relying on volunteers after that date. In order to achieve this goal the Department of Defense has proposed a comprehensive program to make service life more attractive in order to increase enlistments and reenlistments. We have also requested Fiscal Year 1972 funds for a more intensive recruiting campaign, including an expanded advertising effort.
The achievement of an all-volunteer force will depend, in large part, on our ability to inform the youth of the nation and their parents of the facts about military service. The judicious use of advertising is a necessary part of a successful recruiting campaign.
The Department of Defense will have a continuing need for the public service time granted by broadcasters for recruitment advertising. We consider paid television and radio advertising as a possible supplement to public service time and not as a replacement thereof. Unfortunately, only about 10 per cent of the public service recruiting messages are broadcast during prime viewing and listening hours. In order to reach a wider audience, it may be necessary to purchase prime broadcast time.
It is the intention of the Department of Defense to use paid broadcast advertising only if it proves to be cost-effective compared to other means of attracting additional volunteers. The Army is currently conducting a threemonth test of the effectiveness of prime-time paid television and radio advertising. The military departments were directed to make no further obligations or expenditures for television or radio time unless the results of the Army advertising test are evaluated by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The evaluation of the Army test includes a measurement of the gain or loss in public service time. The Department of Defense believes that public-spirited broadcasters will recognize the need to continue providing public service time during and after the conduct of the Army's test.
After the Army's paid advertising test is thoroughly evaluated, a decision will be made as to future expenditures for broadcast time. In the event the test results are favorable, the military departments should have the opportunity to use paid television and radio advertising for recruiting to supplement the public service time granted by broadcasters.
In view of the above comments, the Department of Defense recommends that no action be taken on H. Con. Res. 215.
The Office of Management and Budget advises that, from the standpoint of the Administration's program, there is no objection to the submission of this report for the consideration of the Committee. Sincerely,
J. FRED BUZHARDT,
General Counsel. Mr. MACDONALD. Our first witness this morning is the Honorable Robert Bartley, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.
Mr. Bartley, it is nice to have you here.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT T. BARTLEY, COMMISSIONER, FEDERAL
COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION; ACCOMPANIED BY WILLIAM
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appear before you this morning to be of whatever assistance I can in your consideration of House Concurrent Resolution 215.
The Commission takes no position on whether the Federal Government, or State and local governments, should expend public funds to purchase time for carriage of advertisements by radio and television stations.
However, the Commission does encourage radio and television stations to broadcast public service programs and announcements. Broadcast stations generally carry a significant number and as the resolution notes:
*** the Advertising Council and numerous radio and television broadcasters have, voluntarily and without charge, cooperated in presenting public service announcements for the Federal and State and local governments, and departments and agencies.
The Commission has always required licensees to serve the needs and interests of their communities. Local needs and interests are in some instances inseparable from national needs and interests such as the raising of an army and the sale of E bonds. Although the Commission considers public service announcements as only one of several means by which the broadcaster can serve local needs and interests, they are a significant means. We do require that all applicants state the number of unpaid public service announcements they propose to carry during a typical week, and that each licensee keep as a part of his program log a record of these announcements, including the name of the organization on whose behalf the announcement is made. In order that the audience is made aware of the source of material broadcast, section 317 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, requires an announcement of who has paid for or furnished the material. Thus, the Commission's rules implementing section 317 provide that:
When a broadcast station transmits any matter for which money, services, or other valuable consideration is either directly or indirectly paid or promised to, or charged or received by, such station, the station shall broadcast an announcement that such matter is sponsored, paid for, or furnished, either in whole or in part, and by whom or on whose behalf such consideration was supplied.
If an agency should determine that additional advertising is required to carry out its mission and is prohibited from spending any portion of the advertising budget on broadcast media, the question might well be raised as to whether the money would simply be allocated to other media such as newspapers, periodicals and other advertising methods.
Government agencies have in the past purchased advertising time on broadcast stations to promote highway safety, to promote an event such as a State fair, to promote a Government-owned utility company, and to promote tourism. Our staff also received an indication
from the Department of Agriculture that it has bought air time to explain to farmers its land retirement, crop limitation, and marketing quota programs. The resolution would express the sense of Congress that all Government agencies be prohibited from purchasing broadcast advertising of this type.
That concludes my statement and I would be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. MACDONALD. Thank you very much, Commissioner Bartley. I have only one question and I don't know if you have the answer to it or not. That is on page 3 of your statement, as you point out, perhaps there is some sort of precedent for this, for the Government using public funds to promote the public interests.
Do you know if any of these purchases that you referred to by the Department of Agriculture or the tourist agency were ever bought in prime time?
Mr. BARTLEY. I really don't know and most of this is an accumulation of-just based on information over the years, and the staff has the Agriculture information, I think, fairly recently. I can check on it.
Mr. MACDONALD. Would you please.
Mr. BARTLEY. The other, as far as I know, goes back in time but it certainly has a precedent.
Mr. William Ray, Chief of our Complaints and Compliance Division, says it was some time ago, too. But it has happened and that was the only purpose of indicating it. Whether any are doing it now, I don't have knowledge.
Mr. MACDONALD. Does anyone know whether it will prove to be a smart move? Did it really do what the Agriculture people wanted it to do? In other words, was it successful ? Does anyone know about that?
Mr. Ray. I have no information on it. I point this out merely to indicate that other areas may be explored to find out what their accomplishment or how extensive it is, rather, and maybe how effective it was.
But we don't have that information. These were just indications of what they could suggest.
Mr. MACDONALD. Thank you, that is all.
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. Good morning, Mr. Commissioner. To what extent did the Army or Army recruiting service consult the FCC before it undertook the advertising campaign on radio and television?
Mr. BARTLEY. I think not at all, but subsequent to the time it was started, there was contact because we had had some queries from broadcasters as to the identification announcement, whether or not it was adequate. I am not personally familiar.
That was staff action and, Mr. Ray, as I mentioned a minute ago, can give you details.
Mr. MACDONALD. Excuse me, Mr. Van Deerlin, but why not have Mr. Ray do it? He is Chief of the Complaints and Compliance Division of the FCC.
Mr. Ray. Yes, sir. What happened was we received an inquiry or I received an inquiry by telephone from a member of the staff of the National Association of Broadcasters on this score. I don't know whether at this time the announcements had already been distributed to the station and orders had been placed for the purchase of time from them or not. The inquiry related to sponsorship identification of the announcement.
Shortly thereafter I received a telephone call from a representative of the Department of the Army on the same score and he and two other representatives came to my office and we had a meeting to discuss the question of sponsorship identification on the announcements. That was the only-or those two instances plus the followup on the sponsorship identification-were the only instances in which we were contacted on this thing.
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. I believe, Mr. Chairman, we shall shortly be seeing some of the television spots as they were prepared by the agency and they will contain this tag line and we will see what it contains.
I gather that the question was whether these should be viewed in the same light as political announcements, as far as who paid for them and so forth?
Mr. Ray. Yes, sir, whether they complied with the requirements of section 317, that any matter which is paid for shall be so identified and by whom, and whether the announcements as they originally were made carried sufficient identification of that kind.
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. It was the Army you dealt with, wasn't it?
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. Was your advice to them that they should identify the sponsor in precisely the same manner as a political advertiser would do?
Mr. Ray. Well, as any advertiser, I might say, Mr. Van Deerlin, that it was our opinion that the spots required a more specific identification than it apparently had when originally produced by the advertising agency. Thereafter, the Army notified us that it had taken steps to assure this.
Mr. VÂN DEERLIN. Commissioner Bartley, in judging the public service performance of broadcast licensees, does the Commission measure merely the mass of time and public service that the licensee provides or is there any weight given to the desirability of the time in which the public service announcements are carried?
Mr. BARTLEY. I believe not up until this time, sir. As a matter of fact, we may be moving in the other direction, because for a period of time the renewal forms asked for information concerning the spots before 6 o'clock in the evening and after 6 and that was dropped from the renewal forms sometime back.
I would say we pay practically no attention to it.
Mr. Van DEERLIN. So the public service announcements relegated, as Art Buchwald put it, to just before the Star-Spangled Banner at 1 o'clock in the morning would satisfy the Commissioner as to discharge of public responsibility by the licensee?
Mr. BARTLEY. As much as I enjoy Buchwald, I seem to hear it some other times than that, too.