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     Newton N. Minow, Chairman, FCC speaking at the N.A.B. convention on April
    3, 1962
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this is not one of those primetime offering up an innately convention we all remember last year however i understand that is a promise today will not be long as they re ran he comes to us from the that's right it's b it was almost a year ago but the javelin only rapper thank you now about thirty ninth annual gathering with the speech which disappointed fan please disarm and this made virtually all of his audience since sandy broadcasting in this just calmed them allows think about it it is also learn more about broadcasters' but nevertheless he still disappoint freezes and this major
broadcaster anthony always will because of the way he made the law well i have disagreed with complications think about cameron and many of you have disagreed with cromwell he is without question a public official are high quality and great integrity who is in syria devoted to the approval of protesting also you've been extremely cooperative with a baby we have been willing to put aside other pressing matters and talk about problems with the us he has attended the sessions about commitments when he could be helpful he has opened the whole hour meetings when he's been invited years old when a lot of our antibiotics for self regulation rating on many occasions subscription and support of our coal he is the shoulder to shoulder with us the networks to improve an increase broadcast editorializing and
four in moving shackles now denying us free access to information the united state's junior chamber of commerce elected movement was one of the nation's most outstanding young man of nineteen sixty one i was quite impressed by what one of its all manuel partner said of him when he was nominated for that are unbelievably low on you did a good opportunity to know and understand both strengths and weaknesses mr biewen of newton minnow he is not only really quite unable he is wise where you go and when director and papa john's mango in such a quantity and quality you have a citizen car and ladies and gentlemen the chairman of the federal communications
commission the art of living in the middle germany what's too generous introduction last year as some of you will recall i submitted your convention some ideas which sina striking sparks i like to think that one was the sparkle light and broadcaster responsibility course not everybody who just after i finished a worried looking man came up to me said mr leno i don't like your speech very much i
thank him for his opinion and move beyond that i was only half way up to forty one he grabbed me again and this time he whispered nervously but you know i think that you know your speech was prepared i thanked him again fours beautifully with larry came back again and this time he shouted user the more i think about it that speech was outrageous as ed part of a planned nearby said don't mind that so new he has no mind of his own he just repeats everything years ago nigel of that speech last year ray the blood pressure of some people until perhaps that's why we now have somewhat medical advice television this year that particular area is called ben casey and for consultation and i'm told that even dr frank stanton and install a couch in his office
that speech last year only two of those words to write the date since last may those two words those two words have been repeated over and over again on television on the air in a pressed summer the rochester tell me your sleep a part of you know the two awards that i mean public interest high thinking about the public interest is a help the occupation for all this for those of us who were directly concerned with broadcasting it is more than just helping it is mandatory you i have been thinking about the public interest has become increasingly apparent on the television too
we at the federal communications commission have also been thinking about it and i believe increasingly doing something about it now i want to say about the slate first i want to discuss with you today fifth of pick that fast over last year when i spoke almost exclusively about poetry and poets some of you involved in radio than white when i got to re radio broadcasters will likely be today i suggest that together we examine the problems the triumphs and the future of radio in this country a few years back it was predicted that radio was sick of radio was doomed to oblivion but we know now the reports of radios all and radios declined were grossly exaggerated radio today we just virtually every home in america during the span of a
week television or radio promoting stability radio quickly headed for the kitchen the bedroom the study the workbench the office the automobile the outdoors and with the development of pocket radio the grandstand the subway a fishing camp on the moment to help the other a gentle side of said that he was on a train going from new york to washington with david crow land of his flight in or jealous out seven he had a pocket radio with him and he was following the news of the flight and he was walking from this compartment to the dining car and during that time for land travel from hawaii to the pacific coast doesn't give you an idea of how radio general sought out was a village here on the train and radio which was keeping us in touch with her old lan what it means to this country more eyes are on foot we've
become a nation wired for sound radio became america's roommate americans traveling companion and america's best medicine for loneliness and boredom wherever you are a radio survivor radio survived television be because of its unique gets analysts say its immediacy its accessibility and portability but radio has not survived unscathed it's been subjected to very drastic changes changes still occurring radio has found a place many places in today's crowded schedule this fall into many large and small vacuum is wherever the gap exists but there are many of us to wonder if radio is found its proper place its more suitable most valuable service radio veterans tell me that the industry today is undergoing troubles reminiscent of the chaotic days of the nineteen twenties a lot of the
facts in nineteen forty six when our population seven hundred and forty one million people there were thirty four million radio calls an average of thirty two percent of the sets reaching about eleven million homes were you that night an average of sixteen percent reaching five and a half million homes were used during the day but by nineteen sixty one when the population was almost a hundred ad formula we have fifty million radio calls accept the news during the evening average only six percent and reached only three million homes by datasets in use average nine percent reaching for not happen tolls these figures of course do not reflect the enormous increase in the number of car radios indeed over twenty percent of regular thing to dais and automobiles there are now more cards with radio think of that more cars with radio over forty million and there were total united states home was with radio just eleven years ago but when we compare
the average radio audience with televisions average audience over twenty seven million homes in the evening prime viewing hours and over ten million homes in the daytime it is clear that a massive section of the massive audiences deserted radio or television others is only hire reveals both in nineteen forty six there were nine hundred and ninety six am stations excluding those old inoperative other networks these patients reported income before taxes the thirty seven million dollars in nineteen sixty three and a half times as many stations three three thousand four hundred and fifty one am stations excluding a gamble inoperative by the networks and they reported income before taxes a fifty one million dollars so you see we have a unique way more people more radios more stations with more audiences and smaller properties obviously some of your radio broadcasters too many of you are losing money
specifically in nineteen sixty the last year for which we have complete figures about one third of the radio stations reported a loss and further other stations reporting about almost thirty percent were barely in black ink reporting about the less than five thousand dollars paradoxically we find radio in a peculiar state of financial help despite these thin ice marginal figures for so many stations our backlog of new applicants files today even as we meet in this convention and the prices the station's continued to spiral up a contradiction of red ink and rising balance on let's look at the products the servers that radio is giving the basic format of course has become music plus news plus commercials perhaps i should say to the other way around some of the results of an astonishingly good sometimes a listener is treated to exceptionally varied carols it well
preferred newscast imaginative entertainment of drama the children's program and biting commentary breathtaking variety but in too many cases the results are incredibly rare and too many communities to trust the radio dial today is to be shot through a bazaar a glamorous have bob richman and commercials which legally pressure whistle grown and shout to many stations have turned themselves into publicly franchise jukeboxes aol's lobbyist the atlanta giving several penetrating speeches about radio during the past year reminders and i quote him you want driven from one city to another in your cars with radio listening to one station after another somewhat dull brewery poor became desolation others are wild isn't arcane blasting are continually with an insane symphony of sound and fury signifying what are they helping the broadcaster himself
who's played by too many bills to you accounts into the audience is this the wave of the future is radio destined to sink into a rocket launch she records face was shattered by adolescent disc jockeys in restoring inaccurate news reports this is mr coelho says question i think there are encouraging signs that this kind of operation has seen its worst days and nights in most areas of the country certainly in the larger cities the listener today was willing to a point and finally what's in the way of music serious music like plastic standard popular repertoire even rock'n'roll radio spot in as a news medium is an essential value to this country more people are wrapping up a major news event on radio and to have it to any other medium of communication radioactive they and enables a letter to participate in events both large and
small added to this radio has become an intensely local circuits and the stations that set the pace and return the highest office of the stations most closely identified with their communities and we're pleased that radio is finding its voice not only for news but also for expressions of opinion about important issues each year a few more stations began to work for allies to become a force in shaping events as well as reporting radio is slowly developing a new personality its own unique personality is trying on new clothes and sowing the seeds of a creative report but the question facing us at the commission is whether we have created conditions that will encourage the maturing of this new personality or will stifle and warns that whether we are compound rather than solving radios bottles that meets degas general dilemma as i see we
believe in free enterprise and all the benefits that flow from a competitive system we believe the nation benefits from as many voices in as many choices airwaves permit the commission's highest duty is to encourage as wide a diversity of services for the public as possible what we're finding out in our competitive system radio station saying that no mortality rate few radio stations every side voluntarily to leave the air radio stations do not fade away that just multiplied many seem to figure this way when i got to lose if i can't make it if i can sell commercial spot for a dollar a lot i can always find a buyer will try to sell over fifty cents and if he can make it there will be somebody else who tried selling for twenty five cents we'll work out a long term payout deal so i believe much cash to give it a try and the result is all too familiar to all of you a string of ious to several
pesto lovers who went through the same process more and more raucous commercials for the public and a licensee so preoccupied with servicing his debt that he can't get much attention to servicing his listeners needs and interests there's the business of the commission if there are jungle markets overpopulated by quick buck operators where you have to scream at the listener to survive is the commission responsible or is this the price that although she willingly paid for free competitive system will broadcast i said you're clearly that my vote is for a competitive system with all of its short term drawbacks its advantages are much more basic and enduring and supreme court wisely toll was twenty two years ago in the center's case to be concerned with competition economic implications of competition
only one competition crime the public interest the question before the house is always do the public interest and the public interest as we all know is very much the commission's the us india's the commission's only business although we know something should be done to protect the public interest we also know there's no simple answer to the problem last year i said that i knew that i hope that the fcc would not become so bogged down in among the papers and hearings and memoranda and orders in the daily routine that we close ties to the wider view of the public interest but i'm afraid we continue to be bogged down on paperwork we faced the largest backlogs in commission history for new or improved am facilities if you filed an application this afternoon for a new way a station you'd be lucky to find ten years could pick it up for processing for years but now we continue to regulate
case by case kilowatt like kilowatt transferred by transport we continue to spend at least six times radio americans really want to know in all seven of us epa whether an increasing partly two hundred and fifty watt station will interfere too much with another station in a community already well service stations we're so busy grinding out grants of new licenses that we need to step back and take a look at why we're doing it an intensive search for answers is overdue and a search for a policy that conform to the answers is impaired now this year in march radio broadcasting sport anniversary as an advertiser supported me this is your fortieth anniversary as an organization and colonel initial was that light not only begins authority it's a good age are venturing to do rhymes how we make a start he was also fourteen years ago in a radio chaos of the twenties
that herbert hoover then the secretary of commerce convened for landmark radio conferences in four successive years these conferences produced constructive and enduring results i propose today to the national association of broadcasters another such radio conference during the past year we had one informal conference at the request an initiative of robert collins get through to be most helpful to us on some questions before us well i suggest now is an informal face to face shirtsleeves working conference at which all sections of the radio industry would be invited first question i would ask would be whether a reading earlier should we pause in issuing new am licenses while we study the inflation our wares the police next question as one well stated by commissioner for a recent significant speech michelle ford
asked this question should our engineering standards you're processing line will be modified in such a way that the priority would be given to processing applications and areas where the number of services or the number of stations is minimal or should the economic question the men had on every case my own view is that an engineering standards must be tightened and are processing priority sharply revised the next question is whether we should encourage mergers in some communities and then the lead stations to permit operation based on sounder engineering standards i find great american the suggestion that is guided by the principles of no significant loss of service and avoidance of monopoly on to concentration of control the next we must be concerned about the future of the radio networks that works remain the stalwart backbone of radio zone national and international news gathering organizations well the
networks be encouraged to expand rather than contractor services if they were permitted or more radio stations the president rule which limits to set the number stations a network model was adapted when there were twenty five hundred am stations what they now own tenant well what effect would this have on servers to the public what effect would have on concentration of power in the medium of radio which is undergone such convulsive change the next and this is the question that the public has lost interest and what about the number of commercials there are many of you here today doing the public interest is a way of life or you maintain high standards on the frequency and volume of commercials comes naturally you advocate self regulation but i point to you today your own roberts we see record your cotton party of self regulation eon ag has made great progress on this the best year was bob sweetly reminds
you and i call him human nature being what it is its interest in self regulation is generally in direct proportion to the media pressures were outside regulation but again i quote mr sweetie in radio broadcasting for example our subscribers you see any research partnership at the present time because eleven hundred and fifty five am stations three hundred and twenty fm stations we actually have fifty five percent of the naacp membership that sell and thirty two percent of all the stations in the industry we have tremendous holes in our membership and practically every community in the country and even if our entire membership informs religiously through the spirit and the letter of such a radio call such a substantial part of the industry is completely outside of the jurisdiction of self regulation that it is virtually impossible for us to maintain industry standards in any practical sense the public is still being victimized by the word programming in shoddy
practices of a large segment of the industry which has no interest in standards and feels no compulsion to observe this is in the words of mr swayze when others say like forty million the time is as julia would've put up or shut up on self regulation if you are unable to achieve self discipline we may have to adopt a rule on commercials which does applied every one of those who asked what limits would be sad i say perhaps in a b corp itself could be our guidelines if i if our studies your prospects of improvement in the broadcaster's economic position i believe it would be in his interest and certainly in the interest of the listening public would consider some reasonable regulations involving clear and certain limit the commercial time the next what about financial corporations we approve transfers were the
buyers resources make a shoestring look like a mooring line are we kidding ourselves when we expect a tiny am station with a staff of a couple man and the owner and expect them to serve as a communications medium serving the public interest we must face up to it squarely a high standard of public service cannot be maintained by an understaffed station operating at a loss i haven't mentioned fm radio today because we already have some proceedings underway to guide us and making some decisions about iran's future fm is beginning to flourish after a dark decade we are determined not to let up in engineering standards to generate as they did in a year one question talked about for years which no one knows the answer is the fema amplification of service with a
rezoning ways to frequencies we reached your conclusions these questions and other employers are presently being studied worse there perhaps the conference that i have in mind should consider fm to live privately suggest that a bee can find largely two am service where you can see even from this but the questions about ron the answer is i'm sure that you can suggest other questions too and veterans this will indicate to you why i think our research to gather for solutions whether such a conference is desirable in effect will depend on the spirit brought to a bible of the industry and the government sharing a common goal we've developed policies that will preserve enhance and encourage the fullest possible use radio in the public interest over collins i put the suggestion of a conference do you'll be happy and eighty and we'll wait here so much radio at the
moment i know i could take a station break and tell you our work the best european commission you know we're a great deal of our promise and performance last year i made some promises to you about performance first and foremost we promise to do all we could to help educational television we've opened a new office at the commission to serve the educators countertop man from educational television got the education grants to its infancy we are proud and educational television station will begin this year serve the country's largest metropolitan area covering parts of northern new jersey new york and connecticut someday not too far that will be the heart of a nationwide educational network both the senate and the house have passed legislation or a deconstruction of educational stations has a landmark for education until there is no greater mission and a harness television to the
service of education it's the art of teaching to the art and science of communications and i believe we're on the way a second we promised a breakthrough the allocations earlier to use you age there are tests in the canyon city of new york over experimental station that the wage up on channel thirty one of star results are good at inequality of new age of reception and the tail results will be ready later this year and we make tangible progress in developing legislation to require that new television sets receive on television channels not just one seven the house a commerce committee has reported favorably on our bill and we think that this country will soon unlock the great potential of you wait yeah it is unthinkable that the united states now adding enough people each year felicity is larger the city of chicago should be satisfied to live with the
restrictions of the twelve channel ph of system why should the country be content with twelve chance when are seventy more channels of unexplored creativity an unlined excited ready and waiting to be used to work about president kennedy is vigorously back in your camera see religiously we promised to give paid tv ads chance less than a month ago the federal court of appeals for the colombian folk alley fcc's approval of a large scale experiment in hartford we want this will be the first of many experts court said i called it unless the future of television is to be confined to its present state the fcc must be reasonably allowed opportunity works permit at the event a matter of controversy for more than ten years it deserves the right not of the commission's chambers of the marketplace the final decision should be in the hands of those who build and
create and those who watch and listen for what we promised that there would be nothing pro forma about license renewals in the future other than some sharp reminders this year the licenses are not permanent and since last june fourteen stations have been put on probation it was short term rentals when necessary renewal hearings are being held in the home area of the broadcast since last may a renewal cases have been scheduled for local hearings for that we've acted to put some clamps on trafficking with broadcast licenses and stations these public trusts are not to be so like sacks of potatoes the fcc has been busy and i'm sure many of you think much too busy however as a newcomer to the government side of the table i often feel strangle in red tape and willingly diverted from larger issues driving too often we seem to be in
the phrase of ftc commissioner ellman squatting flies with sledge hammers the fcc i often think that we ever slept is with white water but were moving to reorganize we must act more probably more efficiently more effectively and we will we joined with the ftc in supplying you with information about advertising commercials which may be misleading we find ways to notify the public when broadcast licenses are up for renewal i think it only fair that cannot tell your audience on the air gets opportunity to submit comments to the sec about your service we've adopted standards for stereo fm broadcasting which is already providing an exciting new service to the public and opening opportunities for growth of the industry we've included a six year in korean network policies and practices attempting to unravel a complex structure of responsibility and
accountability networks which first the bottom of the programming or legally accountable of their stockholders not to the public our staff is studying the voluminous sharing record and we hope to come up with some recommendations to congress to clarify and pinpointed particular of precise responsibilities of stations and networks i want the past year on the networks study should not obscure the individual or for performance of the individual broadcast that may require with you some of the final words of the commission's nineteen sixty programming policy statement a policy which only last week won the approval of the court of appeal in the suburb of the city are nineteen sixties davis says michael a broadcaster is obligated to make a positive diligent and continuing upward in good faith to determine the taste needs and desires of the public and his community and to provide programming to meet those needs and interests this again is a duty personnel the licensee and may not
be aborted by delegation of responsibility to others perhaps we have relied on information obtained from individual hearing cases now materials supplied any individual broadcast applications but we recognize the need to broaden the base of our knowledge when we received substantial complaints from the public and we are conducting some local hearings not on station renewals but to give your audience an opportunity to express views on the service you are providing the extent to which you are meeting the needs interests and desires of your communities man does not live by ratings alone and neither should broadcasters more direct communication with the audience indicates that rating services are not the only indexed of public opinion popularity can be a miracle one of the year's most promising developments is the increasing communication between a broadcaster and his
community some broadcasters like mike your prologue of the faa dallas and found exceptionally satisfying rewards by putting on programs on the air in fighting the viewers' comments on the station service i'm up in the mosque the neatly athenians two thousand years ago our trouble comes from those who wish to please us rather than service conquest for more information started here in chicago as you all know a general hearing is being conducted by commissioner robert e lee of course you got word of the commission's new drop in policy far enough serious complaints in your community commissioner lee will drop in to see what's more we have a new program which is going to have hearings will travel seriously it would be inappropriate and unfair for me to comment specifically on the testimony awkward in
chicago returned because they're not get completed chicago broadcasters have not yet had their say but i must comment generally on public hearings and their function there are some of you were probably like us to ignore our responsibilities to the public interest some of you would like us to file complaints about the use of the public airwaves in the wastebasket regarding chicago we received substantial complaints from the three major religious faiths others citizens requesting a chance to comment on local servers and i say to you frankly and positively we will not ignore such complaints and neither should you the fcc has obligations to you an obligation to prayer to be reasonable to be just what our primary responsibility is to the public i must remind you that we work for the public cannot for the broadcasting industry you are
entitled to process and so is your public you will not be censored and neither will the public when we receive substantial complaints from responsible leaders of your community we have an obligation to find ways to encourage effective in total expression of their abuse to you and endure abuse to them and us about what the chicago area's are basically about we are exploring the facts in an informal and responsible way to provide a forum for the public to speak out and he brought you to answer and i'm confident that this will lead to mutual understanding between a broadcaster and probably the renewable revocation hearing is simply not the instrument to achieve his purpose legislative inquiry such as this one in the network investigation that we've been conducting are exactly the sort of function for which congress created an administrative agency instead of a community as cora no responsible broadcaster should fear the public use license to
serve no responsible broadcaster should tremble and wilt under criticism instead of listening to the good and rejecting the bat it's about time that the public get a chance to express its comments and opinions some broadcasters i don't have argued that these local very low track going nuts and crackpots and we have seen church civic business educational labor and charitable leaders come forward with you is differing views of both criticizing and praising broadcast service afp indication of freedom of work i save some broadcasters regard these citizens as fanatics in love no this is their view of the audience and i suggest that they may be in the wrong business last year i invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station on the air and stay there with their eyes glued to the screen until your station signed all spies them were no broadcast
or accepted my education although some criticize the television watchers announced protests some critics say short term the challenge cruel and inhuman i suspect however that the local audience can provide a cross section of opinions about every segment of the broadcast day from sign on to sign off we wanna know if these people detect any signs of change and improve they see some sprouts of greenery someone steaming of creativity more evidence is of conscience deepening portents of responsibility the public certainly is seeing an increasing number of public affairs programs being offered by network instead there's been some comments this is more the result some broadcasters interest in improving their images in washington rather than improving their programs for the public is it true that the american audience has an aversion for the
real world in which they live in the world of clashing viewpoints and divergent opinions upon solutions in this time of trouble in danger and national achievement i don't think so and i don't think you do either if that were true how we explain last forever a twentieth that was the day that radio and television brought to rescue activity to a halt during the flight in space a colonel john glenn broadcasting enable every american to share for wins new perspective of our planet the radio and television you made every one of us a partner in the encounter of courage and science in outer space and you put everyone of us in your debt or the service of the public interest something happened to a market that they have a way of measuring it is to go to your nearest elementary school after see the pictures drawn by the kindergartners and first graders the week
before colonel planes fly and we get there this will give you some measure of the power of podcasting and even the youngest mines and will give you some sober second thoughts about your greatest responsibility the kind of programming you're providing for our children we have much to learn from the great american audience television spends a great deal of time and effort measuring that audience while this has been going on the audience had been taking the measure of television and i think the audience is i hope you're moving in the right direction but you go a long way to go to catch up this in perspective the healthy national appraisal of television that's now going on is part of a larger appraisal what we as a nation are making of our total means of communication everything you do well irving of which you fail is the object of enormous attention to a larger issue is the use or misuse
of man's power to more site and so that it would not bail some of columbia university pointed out we debated political democracy about other you're two hundred years ago we debated immigration a hundred years ago we evaded educational democracy seventy five years ago and economic democracy twenty five years ago dr wilson tells us now that more education more leisure and the development of the mass media have shifted the focus to a great debate on cultural democracy how well as our system of mass communication serve the cultivation of cultural values in a market in a broader sense how well we serve the same as i say we serve them nowhere near well now even as we debate this question we move to still another level international communication on a massive scale that the fcc where the heart working with private enterprise to
communicate through outer space the first commercial space communication satellites should be in orbit next march's of moral killed yesterday with dreams and our vision for a peaceful use throughout the world a few weeks ago i was privileged to speak to delegates from some fifty countries at an international conference dealing with the balm of space so my conclusion systems since then i've been unable to put the meaning of this where a lot of my mind more than a hundred years ago henry david thoreau wearing great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from maine to texas may in texas that maybe have nothing important to communicate either isn't such a predicament is the man who was arrested been reduced to a distinguished gentleman but when it was presented in one and every trumpet was going was hand on that he had nothing to say so it was just a roar one hundred years ago today
in maine where building your troubles are now call ground stations which lies thousands of feet and they're stretching out to receive radio signals hundreds of miles in the sky we must not waste these newer trumpets find ourselves with nothing to say new broadcasters are the center of the national debate and what a lucky place that is to be you are in the eye of the hurricane you're a public trust has the obligation to move forward here now today a perfect this magnificent instrument of broadcast the public must have its say in your planning and you're building it must because you are much more an industry for the nation you are a theater art concert hall our newsroom our stadium a picture window to the world usually the national conscience your guide our children you have it in your hands and parts to
shape history and my guilty of asking too much or broadcasting or are you really a resting too little it at ah or a professor you
Newton N. Minow, Chairman, FCC speaking at the N.A.B. convention on April 3, 1962
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Newton N Minow gives a speech on broadcasting, radio and television, on how Americans use the medium and how it should be used.
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Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station: New York, N.Y.)
Publisher: WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Speaker: Minow, Newton N., 1926-
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Chicago: “ Newton N. Minow, Chairman, FCC speaking at the N.A.B. convention on April 3, 1962 ,” 1962-04-03, The Riverside Church , American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 20, 2024,
MLA: “ Newton N. Minow, Chairman, FCC speaking at the N.A.B. convention on April 3, 1962 .” 1962-04-03. The Riverside Church , American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Newton N. Minow, Chairman, FCC speaking at the N.A.B. convention on April 3, 1962 . Boston, MA: The Riverside Church , American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from