1965 National Association of Educational Broadcasters Convention; Special Interest Session: Academic Freedom in Broadcasting
How they present here will be very much interested in discussing some of the points he raises. Jerry ever will read his talk for him. Our recorder at this session. The second gentleman on my left is George bring up from of e.g. UC in Cincinnati in our first speaker will be Richard Hafner who was formerly general manager vice president of Channel 13 and is now a university professor of communications and public policy at Rutgers University. So we will begin with Mr. Hefner discussing the various evolving aspects of academic freedom in broadcasting. Thank you it was thank you it was going to reach into my pocket and pull out a long
speech but with that introduction I decided I'd better not. It really isn't true but I hope that I can write some of the questions that you referred to. I was unable to attend the session this morning but I can assume that if Bob Shea on and John Siegmund participated then many salient points were made and I think it goes without saying that most of us who have been involved with educational broadcasting are concerned with this major prime problem of academic freedom. Now I don't say prime problem because one might begin a session such as this by saying that educational broadcasting was born free but everywhere is in chains and our job is today to find out why. I don't think that's true at all. I don't think the point that we have to make it today is that as one searches through the spectrum of educational broadcasting radio and television one finds many instances of violations of what we could claim to be academic freedom. I don't say that at
all. I do think however that over the past many years as educational broadcasting has been developing we have never sufficiently given thought to the question of academic freedom as it relates to this extended expanded form of the classroom. By and large my own experience and I think I must judge if you'll forgive me by my own experience. We are very unfortunate indeed to have been fortunate indeed in having enjoyed a maximum of freedom and a minimum of official inhibition but official inhibition shouldn't be an our concern the limitation of the limits that one might place upon academic freedom. And I think we have to go a bit beyond the returns to analyze this problem. Again I keep referring to using this word problem. And again I don't mean to infer that we're faced with it in any horrendous to any horrendous extent at this moment and yet I think back to many of the volumes that have
been written on broadcasting educational broadcasting. I think of the comparatively recent projection into the then next 10 years of educational television in particular. I was thumbing through that volume again the other evening. And was astonished to find that nowhere could one find salient meaningful hard hitting reference to the whole question of content in terms of freedom content in terms of controversy content in terms of what limitations one might begin to find. Subtly perhaps sophisticated limitations perhaps upon academic freedom. I come from an institution now Rutgers University that is severely been suffering the jitters over the past few months in terms of the issue of academic freedom. You probably have been following your own newspapers the account of a political campaign that has been based almost solely upon a university professors statement concerning the Vietnamese conflict
that raised the hackles. I think quite correctly I mean quite correctly those hackles were raised on a great many people. The result was that one of the candidates for governor New Jersey is now demanded that the incumbent who is running for re-election fire this professor and we are coming to a point I think where more and more we are involved in public statements or statements by academic people on public issues. And I think we're going to be pressured more and more in the direction of some limitation upon the freedom of the of the academic. I think I am most concerned about this question and I'll use that word this time instead of problem this question of academic freedom because of something that happened here last year when there were extended discussions if you remember at this meeting of financing educational broadcasting. And I remember as one of the participants in one of the panels that there seemed to have
been a very pronounced sea change in the attitude of a great many people on this matter of finance. We've all suffered so intensely over the past decade from limitations of funds upon available funds that I think a great many of us are willing. I don't think this last year it was quite clear. Last year a great many people were willing to subscribe to the notion that we may look to governmental sources for funds for educational broadcasting without what had one time been at one time was the traditional concern for the notion that who pays the piper calls the tune because there was such a overwhelming. Lack of concern last year with this old notion that who does pay the bills may in some subtle way or other determine content in broadcasting educational broadcasting. Because of that almost total lack of concern I began to feel that at that time that we had to give Now
some thought to what we mean by academic freedom in broadcasting educational broadcasting. If indeed the future means that increasingly our source of supply of funds for the conduct of educational broadcasting will be federal state and local governments then it seems to me that we have to think once again in the perhaps just begin to think about this question of academic freedom on the air. Some years back when there was what turned out to be an abortive effort to establish educational television in New York City before Channel 13 became an educational station the old Metropolitan Educational Television Association with which I was associated We had what I think was a prime example of the kind of pressure that can be brought and perhaps the kind of pressure that is brought more than we are willing to admit at this particular time.
Perhaps some of you remember the case at that time fortunately made the press. I say fortunately because it was an unsuccessful attempt to impose restrictions upon what I would consider to be academic freedom. We did a program which I must say was not a very good program called Faces of war. And we did it in cooperation with the New York Public Library an institution that receives much of its money much of its support from the city government. We submitted a script to the library it seemingly was approved we were tracing the faces that meant it put upon more. Since ancient times of course we are putting the program not on our own journal we didn't have when we were putting it on WCBS TV. CBS outlet in New York City the night before that program was to go on the air I received a telephone call indicating that a trustee of the library that read the script had just read the script and was concerned that the academic expression of the thoughts we which wished to
present might be misconstrued by the public and pressure might then be brought upon the city council which might then attend at the next go around for appropriations. Limit the monies that it would appropriate for the New York Public Library which was participating financially in the support of this program. And calls went through us to change the script and we refused because it went through literally to Mr. Paley and Dr. Stanton at CBS to throw the program off the air on the grounds that it was a pacifist document. They of course refused. The library withdrew its support and we went on the air with a mediocre program which then was Herat of course because of the involvement of the issue of freedom. Now there was a prime example of who pays the piper calls the tune or attempts to call the tune. And it seems to me that we're likely as we go more and more into public support of educational broadcasting to find either outright or rather subtle efforts that one
might call what one might call limitations upon academic freedom. I think that one of the things we have to do right now while we're still rather much in the clear is begin to formulate our own ideas as to what the appropriate extension of the traditional doctrine of academic freedom in the university is as it pertains to educational broadcasting. Does the student the listener the viewer gain from total freedom on the part of the person in the station addressing that is the basic question before us I think. And I think we have to put aside this question the question of whether we don't have somewhat different and I don't mean greater but somewhat different responsibilities than does a professor in the cloisters who cloistered halls of academe as we reach out on an open circuit
broadcast system to many many many people who have not been involved in the prior training that your college students and my college students in our elementary school and high school students have received. I think that this is going to be in the near future a very very very basic issue as educational broadcasting comes to play in larger and larger role in our total communications structure. It seems to me quite clear that as problems have developed in the cloistered halls of academe they must of necessity develop an open circuit radio and television that claims to be educational. It seems to me therefore that we have to put to ourselves the basic question of just precisely how much of the traditional doctrine of education of academic freedom. Can and must we bring into educational broadcasting. Do we say that the academic on radio the academics on television has
precisely the same rights. Academic freedom that he has when he is in the classroom. Or do we say that we must define academic freedom differently. When one exercises it on the air I think that this is a very very basic question I think we'd be foolish not to understand at this particular moment that whatever we face at the moment in terms not of violations but of affirmation of academic freedom on the air. As time goes on and as we come closer and closer to finding that more and more of our funds come from a single source that of government. That we must begin to think through and develop just as the American Association of University Professors has developed just as other academic groups have developed concepts traditions rules guidelines for academic freedom. So I think that this organization and similar organizations must
begin to think upon this issue must begin to answer some of the fundamental questions. The most basic of which is does the traditional concept of academic freedom which has throughout the centuries more or less protected the freedom of the academic and the right to learn of the student. Does it extend thoroughly and completely and without modification. When we find ourselves involved in educational broadcasting that I think is the one basic question that we should discuss here today and I think I prefer saving other comments until I hear the other speakers and hear the questions that are asked. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Mr. Hefner. Those of us who for many years have worked in major state universities have
seldom felt that we were in those groves of academe which there was no question of academic freedom. We have always felt sensitivity to the fact that we are states Oregon and have legislators breathing down our necks and listening and watching to our every move and frequently we have looked at other organizations in the noncommercial field such as they so called listener supported stations with some envy. Believing that they can do anything they want and that isn't it wonderful that they can deal with so many controversial topics without ever getting into trouble.
We defend ourselves many times by casting aspersions at such organizations and saying that that's all they're interested in is controversy and stirring it up and they're not really concerned with basic discussion of issues but merely in raising a lot of smoke. You know to gain attention whether this is true or not I'm sure it's up to the individual to decide on the basis of the evidence. But it is true. I'm sure that some of the listener supported stations have plenty of problems when it comes to this problem of academic freedom even though they may not be directly associated with universities or using consistently on their programs academic personnel. As I explained to those of you for the benefit of those who came in late Mr. Hoffman the
president of Pacifica Foundation cannot be here today because of a death in the family. Bae has sent us a speech which will be read for us now by Jerry Sater. I might precede the reading of Mr Hoffman's text by saying to you that he called me this weekend just after his father in law died and expressed his deep regrets that he could not be with us here today and offered very graciously to send this text so that it could arrive in time so that he could share his thoughts with you today and ask please that you not refrain yourselves from commenting on any of the thoughts that he has put down here but rather that you listen to him as you would have had he been here today. But Truth first said the Bishop and self-interest second. Then you will serve truth put truth second and your desires first
then you will always fail truth when it matters. The Republic needs broadcasters who put truth first Americans and men and women everywhere are in the midst of great and revolutionary change times of transition are always times of trouble when trustworthy information becomes necessary to survival. Broadcasters who operate the communication system in which most men and women depend for their information about their world can be the means of human survival. They can also be agents of human extinction. At the moment they come down on the side of desire and self-interest and survival is in doubt. The great issue about academic freedom in broadcasting is simple. The people who accept the obligation to put truth first have limited resources. The people who serve desire can and great wealth. It is nobody's fault the fault is in the system and the arrangements that determine who gets rewarded for what. What is on it in a country will be cultivated there. As Aristotle observed
and as we have discovered ever since. What is cultivated in a country well beyond what is on it in America is the desire of consumers. It is a country that proclaims the customer is always right. What is cultivated in America is the under ability of consuming and those who cultivated best are given our highest awards. When you want to know what people put first see what they are doing. Our words have a slippery relationship to our actions. We talk more in justification than in appraisal. We rationalize more often than we think. Rationalization and justification follow action. They do not set the conditions for it. America is a land that flows with myth and money and a good many of the myths are created to justify the distribution and possession of the money. We put our money where our hearts are. We have two arrangements for supporting the cost of operating broadcasting stations. Support is either voluntary or involuntary taxes levied on citizens and
dispersed the government and taxes levied on consumers and dispersed through advertising agencies between them pay for most of the broadcasting that is done. Money volunteered by contributors which I suspect is the main source of revenue for most of the stations operated by those in this audience do not come in huge amounts. Educational radio and television is not ranked high among the desires of most Americans. However good for them our programs would be they prefer others they arrangements for financing broadcasting reflect the general sentiment of advertising supported broadcasting is a lot more money than listener supported broadcasting. And I do not hear many complaints from the citizens at large. The reasons people like witches and Cowboys better than Shakespeare in public issues are complex but one ingredient in the mix is surely that we are so badly educated. But it's been cultivated here is a taste for witches and cowboys so we honor those who provide them to us. Which isn't Cowboys gratify us at once. Shakespeare is an acquired taste. It is hard for
most people to acquire a taste for Shakespeare because they have so few chances to experience its place. The decisions about what will be broadcast in that great medium called commercial broadcasting are based on what will sell what will sell is not necessarily what is true good or beautiful. We put selling first and the true and good and beautiful second. Selling usually wins and always wins when the matter is important. Commercial broadcasting falls into that category of Enterprise my friend W. H Ferrie calls mass comm Mass Comm a short for mass communication and mass communication is by definition trying to move masses mass com addresses its massive audience in a manner calculated to bring about a statistical change in their buying or voting behavior. Communication has a different way. It seeks human contact it tries to convey a message to somebody not motivation to everybody. It assumes participation. Its object is information
or persuasion. That is education. Match.com aims at indoctrination mass comics a lot of noise about freedom of broadcasting. It wants freedom aright but it wants to use freedom in its own way. It wants to put selling first. It often sounds as if it were directed toward freeing communication among citizens and sometimes it is really so. But among the mass come broadcasters freedom turns out usually to mean trying to make sure the FCC does not restrain its unlimited right to make a profit. As chairman William Henry of the FCC told the National Association of Broadcasters he waited in vain for their rush to the defense of the licenses of the Pacifica stations. But he heard an awful racket when he proposed to limit them to six commercial minutes per hour of prime time. Mass Comm broadcasters derive their rights to do what they do not from the traditions of free speech and from the people's rights to know. But from that position as men who serve the community by doing business. They are enterprises in a society
that owe as much as of its quality and richness to the hard work and intelligence of entrepreneurs in this country. We encourage innovation and ambition and diversity of product by making the rewards of enterprise great. And by doing our best to ensure easy entry to the market for a number of producers. Monopoly we have thought was the enemy of freemen both because it limits the choice of consumerism because it concentrates economic power on Julie. We thought that the common good was served by losing the entrepreneur has to make good for themselves. We thought their pursuit of their private goods would bring goods for all. And history seems to have shown in general that we were right but the rights of citizenship are of a different order. We have been confused because some businessmen have been operating in a field where citizens not businessmen have special protections and immunities. The First Amendment has never been thought to give a man special protection in the manufacture of automobiles or the extraction of steel. But when businessmen decide to sell information and
to compete for the money of consumers by winning the minds and loyalties of men they have talked as if their calling was holy. They've claimed that their businesses ought to come under grants of rights covered by the First Amendment. Their right as citizens doing the work of citizenship is not in question. As citizens business men have the exact freedoms all the rest of us have as businessmen they come under a different branch of law and theory of rights and they are and should be regulated in their business practices for the sake of the common good. Mass Comm. cannot be protected against the FCC or any other government regulating agency on the grounds that it is in the communicating business. On the contrary because it is in the communicating business and because communicating is critical to the security of the Republic mass comes business must be regulated for the sake of the right of the people to know. The ethics of business are not good enough for public communication. Communication about public matters cannot be treated like haggling in the marketplace.
There is a form of art in thought that is appropriate to the marketplace and another that is appropriate to the discussion of public affairs. It is said that publishers should be free to publish what they wish because since there is no natural monopoly of printing presses and the means of distributing what is printed. All ideas and opinions will be free to circulate. But the same theory cannot be applied to broadcasting. Broadcasting requires a franchise using a piece of the peoples there requires that others be denied use of it. Everybody not somebody owns the frequencies and the people's agent their government must decide who is most likely to increase the common good by using one of the peoples limited frequencies. I realize there's no argument about this issue. The commercial broadcasters are shown not by their words but by their deeds. How jealously they guard the rights of the FCC to allocate frequencies now highly they value the exclusive rights to use them. It is important to state the principle however because the character of our discussion depends upon it. We are here to examine academic freedom
as it applies to broadcasting academic and other freedoms apply to broadcasting in the context of a form of communication that is licensed in order that it can be made usable in the absence of licensing. There would be no broadcasting freedom at all. Academic freedom applies to one kind of broadcasting only educational broadcasting business broadcasting is incidentally and disastrously educational. Its aim is not teaching but indoctrination and its freedoms are to rely not upon the tradition of teachers but of merchants educational broadcasting is broadcasting whose aim is enlightenment enlargement of thought improvement of human capabilities and the circulation and distribution of public issues. Its claim to the right to broadcast is founded on the right of the people to know its aim is service to its public its theoretical base. The First Amendment and the limits upon it are those of citizenship in its full range of the suits.
It must serve the interest of the people in their chief function as citizens. It is the work of citizens to judge to judge that government this society and its institutions to be a judge requires knowledge of what is judged. The people have to know that they may judge. They have to judge that they may be citizens. They need many instruments for seeking information and political wisdom among these educational broadcasting can be of great value. Some historic court brought the broadcasting into existence in the United States during one of the country's more confused eras. Some strange national irrationality or lack of foresight handed over the people's frequencies to selling agencies. It was thought according to the theory implied by the original Communications Act that radio station owners could be bribed into serving the public interest in exchange for a license to use most of their hours for their personal purposes. It was believed they could be forced or cajoled into serving the purposes of the Republic with the remaining hours so educational
broadcasting came late and was a stepchild. It is like most step children poor and disregarded. The case can be made that the proper relation between educational and commercial broadcasting has been inverted from the beginning since there are a few channels for communication the Republic might well have chosen to reserve all but a few for public purposes. It might have allowed those who wanted to broadcast for their personal purposes a few frequencies for experiment. It could have reasoned that private enterprise which has so often been inventive and daring might set a standard and stimulate innovation. But we have fallen into the opposite pattern. The private entrepreneur enterprises have most of the frequency they have made broadcasting extremely profitable and so they have made money so they have money to spend on the exploitation of the medium. I am doubtful that the pattern can now be reversed. I am more doubtful that we can reform commercial broadcasting. It will go on doing what it has been doing and it will go on struggling to avoid the few
obligations to public service that it apparently has. You might ask one of my going to address the subject of academic freedom in broadcasting. My answer is that I have been addressing it. Of course speech should be free inquiry should be encouraged. Criticism especially of the going institutions in the offices and power ought to be required as a regular service. The whole range of human art and thought ought to be exhibited nothing that men and women anywhere are doing or thinking or making should be excluded but especially those products of human invention that are little exposed should be brought to light. Broadcasting Stations are a powerful means of communication. What should be communicated is all those important and curious opinions and reasons and sounds and sights that expand our intellects and sensibilities. Of course speech should be free of course educational broadcasters has a have a positive obligation under the First Amendment to use that grant of immunity to engage in public discussion and controversy but the
exercise of such freedom by educational broadcasters takes money it takes much more money than any one of us has ever had. Money will not cure the ills of educational broadcasters. It will make it possible to cure for every educational radio station in this country that is unrestrained by the pressure to please somebody. There are 20 that are beholden to some board of trustees some group of supporters some government body. There is room for specialized educational radio to extend classrooms or churches to deal with limited subject matter. But there is much more room. There is an aching void for radio that takes as its standard the opportunity to raise the basic issues to ask the hard questions and to search for the unpleasant truths. This kind of radio takes money and it has almost not freedom to broadcast in the absence of the means to use it for the public benefit is perfectly academic. It's the kind most of us have too much of. The thrift Pacifica Foundation stations have I would
guess among the biggest program budgets of radio stations in the United States. I speak here for three big and powerful radio stations. It costs almost as much to run one of our stations for a year as advertisers pay for one hour of network television prime time. But our stations are feeble compared to what they could be. None of us has yet begun to think about the capacities of out medium. None of us has done more than exploit the struggling musicians and dramatist and actors and writers and commentators whose need to reach an audience makes them prey to our microphones. We could be providing a forum for the most serious political discussion anywhere in this country. Radio offers possibilities that television will never match for undistracted serious conversation. We could be seeking out the new composers and freeing them with a little money to make their special contribution to our public taste. We could be forcing science and technology to explain and justify themselves. We could be discovering the meaning of the absurd in the light in black humor we skim the surface of these fields of human activity and
take only what is cheap or free. We could be exploring challenging and achieving with all listeners that degree of understanding that would enable those who take citizenship seriously to master their art. We do not. Not because we lack intimations of the way to begin but because we are broke. As I have said I have little hope that commercial broadcasting will reform. I have equally little hope that educational radio will amount to much as long as it has to depend for its sustenance on the uncertain handouts of those who have no obligation to support it. Since the present situation is nobody's fault it is the fault of the arrangements. The solution is to change the arrangements. Let us relieve commercial broadcasters of any legal obligation to broadcast programmes aimed at public information or unlike them and we have seen that their commercial requirements corrupt their efforts to make such programmes more often than not. Let them instead pay some modest percent of their gross income say 10 percent into a public fund. That would be
available to put a foundation under educational broadcasting. This would produce for educational broadcasting about one hundred eighty million dollars more or less which unless my figures are wrong would more than double the entire annual expenditures for educational broadcasting. Commercial broadcasters with then be free to give up the pretense of public service which would reduce the hypocrisy level in the mass media by several orders of magnitude. If the arrangements were equitable and just as they could be the underpinnings to educational radio and television would release them from their servitude to fundraisers. I'm not sure Pacifica Radio which as you know is supported primarily by its listeners would be willing to accept the support of a National Foundation. We have treasure the independence we have enjoyed by virtue of our many sponsors none of whom is important enough to our survival to make us subservient. Pacifica is free radio freer than any government owned and operated stations of which we know anywhere in the world. Freer than most commercial stations though there are no limits on those
not imposed imposed by their owners. We are freer than many educational stations which sadly seem subject to pressures almost as limiting as those of comers. The restraints on Pacifica Radio are of our own making. They are our own fault and they exhibit our lack of character and intellect and insight they result also from the lack of resources. But that may be in the end that in the end may be resolved without assistance of a financing scheme such as the one I have proposed. Perhaps other educational stations would also prefer to stand aside from the financing that could be distributed through a National Foundation funded from levies on commercial broadcasters none would need to fear the common services that could one such funds were available be provided for all network connection of educational stations of which we had an exciting example during the recent German elections. Could be one regular result programmes centrally produced and distributed to all broadcasters is another. Money would be in hand to establish the many new educational radio and
television stations the new leisured could make valuable for millions of Americans of most importance. Is that a National Educational Network equivalent to the BBC's Third Programme in AIM and scope could broadcast programmes professionally quality and unrestricted in content. Money donors could not control money donors could not control would enable educational broadcasters to put truth first the new Americans. We could make through such general public education might be at last equal to the tasks and opportunities ahead of me. Thank you. I should say that the opinions expressed by the writer are not necessarily those of the reader not necessarily the final speaker on our panel. Using Mr. Hawkins
definition as a representative of Match.com but I hasten to add a very good friend of national educational radio. MR. As an interesting background in a variety of informational media. Having been connected with newspaper work with television with public relations for radio and television with say OWS connection with magazines as a freelance writer and back once again to radio in 1963 he returned to WTOP here in Washington and at the present time is serving as General Executive of the Post Newsweek stations
in charge of information promotion advertising and public cultural and community affairs for WTOP radio and GOP TV. And I should add I suppose there Jacksonville Florida station WJ x T. With great pleasure we introduce friend of noncommercial radio Mr. Wright. Wow I have two points to make before I get to this prepared text. The first is a paraphrase of I think Mr. Milton Hofmann Hofmann the spear Meachem have need of the now. I'm so sorry the gentleman isn't here that we can engage in a dialogue in his speech. And the second one is that I have been accused by various friends of mine of having a very Talmudic soul for a Scotch-Irish So I ask you to bear with me as I
go through the beginning of this. Freedom is like free love. Every man has a general idea as to the area it embraces. But it can mean so many different things even when the word academic somewhat narrows the scope of the area covered the full range of any man's interpretation comes into play. To some freedom can be a license to wallow in excesses beyond the realm of that which is desirable by any standard including his own in a self-created uncertainty of their excesses they find happiness a brooding discontent with themselves and what they have done. The trick to freedom academic or otherwise is to enjoy it fully without stretching it or yourself out of proportion. Now admittedly if you reach the point of being forced to make that judgment most human beings live foetus lives securely tucked inside the very center range of their capabilities. Let something disturb their personal sense of safety and like the fetus they kick back without really abandoning their
position. This is the dilemma most human beings work within guidelines created by ourselves and safely positioned well inside the range of what is possible. The really damning thing about this philosophy of the majority is that the more time spent in this crippling self restraint the more shrinkage occurs the capability. This unwillingness to test fully the range of one's capabilities takes precedence in my mind over the plaintive bawling of many for more freedom. The reasons for the shocking state of affairs are not hard to discover. We live in a century in which finds man attended an apathetic animal not giving a damn whether the bell is ringing for him them or anybody at all. And he won't worry until someone comes over and grabs a hold of his arm. His attitude as dictated partially by the press of population growth which constantly is reducing as percentage of importance in the human action. Also by the fact that government whatever the nation has assumed a larger role in controlling the individual as it attempts to deal with larger numbers through
modern technology. This trend towards the containment of man and man self containment is reaching its fruition in his reduction to a number or series of numbers. But it could be said to have begun with the introduction of last names to choose the most obvious of starting points. John himself became John the son of John the citizen of or John the maker of of course John have always been these things. But now he was officially so. Most of John's reaction to this categorization was to continue to be whatever they were labelled at least initially. This is simply human nature or human nature at its least complex. The label commercial broadcaster seems semantically accurate for that aspect of American communications which was placed by the government into the hands of private entrepreneurs who are expected to make a profit from their operation. This is the way our system is evolved. The commercial broadcaster exists to make money is labor strikes me as a proper designation altogether honorable under our free enterprise system.
On the basis of logic Mr Hoffman and absent us I have never understood that myth that the people own the commercial broadcasters frequency or channel unless it is under the doctrine of eminent domain under which the people through their government can take possession of everything. But why frequencies are channels more so than for example railroad right of ways. They're not spelled out in these exact words. Railroads were granted thousands of acres in the last century in the public interest convenience and necessity. Lionel expostulate sion by politicians or others. Now the theory that the people own the Union Pacifics real estate holdings that were derived from federal granting with a mind still simple in the absence of complicated legal training. I believe that both the railroader and the commercial broadcaster possess true ownership of their granite properties excepting eminent domain and also accepting that they attempt no injury to the public good. I am not seeking an abrogation of
the commercial broadcasters responsibility to do more than simply bemused as audiences and inundate their conscious and subconscious with Bear and baby food commercials and we've even come to Brazil years. Now we do a hell of a lot more than that isn't enough. I have to ask by whose standards by yours or mine Mr. Hofmann is the Federal Communications Commission or the people's. If this is a democracy and if in a democracy all things exist for the people and the general welfare and in the general interest then the general response of the people through their listening and viewing seems to indicate that commercial broadcasting is meeting the wants and demonstrated needs of most of the people most of the time. Let us examine your label educational broadcaster. If this nation and its several communities had no right to expect something different from you than they receive from your commercial colleagues then there would be no separate grants of licenses for educational stations. Now you must reach your own understanding of what this something different is.
Through dialogues and experimentation you must resolve what is for me the uncertain role of the educational broadcaster. It would perhaps be improper for me as a commercial broadcaster to intrude at length this much I will venture you must not allow yourself to be limited by a label as our friend John was. Some of you are certainly hampered by a lack of elbow room. I don't know whether this condition exists because you are not given enough freedom because there is a shortage of money or because you do not take advantage of those freedoms you have. I know that there are those then there probably are not in this room who have curled up into an educational fetus safe from criticism but equally safe from real accomplishment. I said they're probably not in this room not gratuitously but because I think that kind of person would not show up at a panel in title academic freedom. I know there are also others who are genuinely Haras by regulations of major and petty and sometimes by petty people. From what I have seen of the campus brand of
politics there is by comparison a certain honesty and cleanness about the cliche figure of the already ailing Politico handing out bad cigars and self-serving patronage. I refuse to accept however as fact that there is not a way around strangling regulation and the politicians whether their desks are in are school or they're in a state legislature. In the first place chances are very good that regulations and the politicians who make them for the educational broadcaster exist not with the recognition of the realities but in fear of the possibilities. Indeed there is something to fear about the power you have in ways it's comparable to that exercised by the British Broadcasting Corporation. I can illustrate by repeating a story told by John A Ses who is now president of Post Newsweek stations. But during the last great war started the American Forces Network in Europe the AFN was brought into being when American forces moved into the British Isles and some not because it was necessary to have the BBC assign frequencies for the soldier stations
then Colonel Hayes did a lot of sitting down with the British broadcasting power structure on one occasion he was in with their neighbor bobs of the programming department and the topic under consideration was a possible gardening show. As Mr Asia likes it no one was sure that anyone in all of Great Britain wanted a programme on gardening. They weren't really sure that anyone needed him but they went ahead with the program because they decided that was the kind of thing the people really up to me. Now you have the power to make decisions on the same basis. Recognizing the realities. There are a limited number of things that people want from educational stations. There are not many who recognize that they even have a need. This leaves you freedom to program some things they ought to need. If this smacks of a kind of reverse switch on thought control and a vision of totalitarian broadcasting dances for your mind forget the commercial stations exist as a deterrent to your broadcasting power. As you well know which really means you free to proceed as you choose. Now your freedom is a very precious
commodity to the commercial broadcaster. The world is too much with him. It counts on your capability to do things he cannot do. The broadcasting world in this country doesn't indeed exist half slave and half three and it doesn't cure. I'm not saying that commercial stations are all slaves and you are entirely free. But the fact remains that the commercial broadcaster is most limited in his range of freedom. He's limited by the competitive squeeze of the great number of stations on the air a long way from being a monopoly. The distrust of some politicians born of a fear akin to the fear that other politicians have of you is a limiting factor. He's limited not by a monolithic Madison Avenue but scores of advertisers each of whom wants an acceptable atmosphere for his product and atmosphere are restricted to his specific marketing needs. Limited by radio TV critics of the daily press who unfortunately frequently have no fondness for the media. Whatever their programming efforts and limited by the people's interest and desires I say the people because there is no such thing as
the audience. Certainly not in radio which is return to the original concept of communicating with a single person rather than masses or the family group not even a television. The people are not a faceless mindless lump call audience. They are the same citizens of diverse interest who buy a multiplicity of magazines and attend or stay away from motion pictures ballets and concerts. Mr. Burroughs did not mention I used to be in the ballet business and in the symphony business too. The commercial broadcaster who has attempted to program on the basis of what the people often need finds himself kicked right in his raise on debt. He needs you and your freedom to complete the totality of American broadcasting as it must be in every one of your communities there is at least one commercial broadcaster who understands this reality who is more than willing to help you protect your rights as a broadcaster in the educational sphere. A surprising thing I discovered on re-entering the commercial broadcasting business two years ago was the great lack of communication between the
commercial and educational people within a community. I went through the program while I was sitting over there and I discovered for example that I'm the only commercial broadcaster schedule for these entire conferences outside of the fact that my station and others are picking up the tab for some blues on Wednesday night at a cocktail party. My appearance here today was started by a long distance talk with Ed Burroughs in Ann Arbor Michigan last January on the subject of Thomas Sterns Elliot and a memorial program which led me to Jerry Sandler which brought me to here which is a long way around anybody's barn. Earlier I expressed some doubts that you were using all the freedom you have. I ask you not to hide behind your educational label but seek your full proper dimensions according to the particular needs of your communities. I told you that the commercial broadcaster values your freedom and have given you the reasons by telling some of the non-governmental restrictions that inhibit his freedom and latitude not because they must be obvious to you who also rebroadcasting magazine. I have not conjured up the
specter of that rose with ever increasing thorns. The daily intrusion of federal agencies into our affairs. Precisely because he is cell bound up by rich and bloody parchment died by pronouncing it. The responsible commercial broadcaster is more than willing to come to your aid. The power that he wields can be of great assistance in liberating you from the insolence of office of petty politicians on campus and off. As has been the case in scores of communities it can take a hand in raising funds to ensure your financial health. As he chafes under limit his limitations and is constantly forced to fight for his own freedom as set forth not only in the First Amendment but in Section 326 of the Communications Act. It can help you to measure the realities of your own position but do not wait for him to begin the relationship. Approach him if nothing else results the occasional frictions between the educational and commercial broadcasters can be generally eliminated through communication. At its very best with
intelligence and understanding on both sides the commercial broadcaster can help you not only to enjoy fully the academic freedom you now possess but to a new era of direction and growth for educational broadcasting. Thank you to you. Me thank you very much Roy Meacham. I should point out for your benefit Roy that that is quite an unusual situation in terms of an APB Conventions our history over the years has been to have many many representatives of commercial stations. It always however does lead to the kind of dialogue which I sense is somewhat behind the scenes of Mr. Hoffmann's and your remarks which I hope is not necessarily the proper subject under discussion here that neither one of us is
free but we are less free than you are. There is a problem of course of communications between commercial and noncommercial stations but I think we both face similar problems and have areas of mutual interest which we should go about solving. Mr. Blanco sitting at my left over here I have also had considerable experience in commercial broadcasting as well as in educational broadcasting and I notice he's been writing a small manuscript of his own. So perhaps before I open this to discussion from the floor I have to ask George if he would like to react or to raise some questions on the basis of what has been said up until now with that or are you planning to publish or is it to just know when I was making a few
notes here. Thank you Stan. I agree with Mr. Mason. Many communities in most communities I think that there's sometimes a reaction between the commercial stations and the noncommercial spaces to strange dogs meeting one another very badly and certainly warily around that they decide that the other guy's a little too rough for him and walk away. Directors of the firm against the fly over against any well seen that happen in those few cases where there has been. Some meeting between the two camps of the as it were. There's been very concrete progress made. We've had some of that situation in my home city of Cincinnati. We've had cooperation from commercial stations on many levels. We in turn of the neighbor loses them
unexpected way. Problem with academic freedom which you guys have. Other way he spoke of being always worrying about the hot breath on her neck the state legislature or whatever who had to appropriate money. We have an even closer to the US because we're in the midst of a university and we've got a city council living right their town they can move faster. The state legislature and sometimes This produces a very interesting result is that they get into the area of controversy. Frankly we have by solved. We hope we're on the way to in the area of the natural support. We do receive considerable support but some we deal with
unsolicited from our listeners and rest the other day comes from an allocated endowment request to the university and one of our support is direct tax money which is handed over to the university by the community. Nonetheless. Every politician is in Sana'a he was at the has a vested interest in what we put on the air and every citizen who sees his tax bill go up thinks it's going to go up gets a red neck here he hears something he doesn't like because as your own experience would probably indicate in this educational broadcasting field you seldom hear when you do something right. Little boy when you do something wrong when someone thinks you know I do think I agree that with what has been said that we do have a broader
responsibility and I think many of us have exercised and the phrase you used the hiding behind the educational label is something I think we do to. Far more of the time than is healthy. As a next commercial man I chafe under the some of the restrictions that I find both the ideal situation and here I get his view is worth listening to. Let's get along and do it as professionally as possible and let the chips fall where they may. I wish I can say that all the time. I would just like to say couple of more words before you throw this up to the audience. It seems to me that we have one of two problems here. I felt like saying if Mr Hofmann were here I'd say to him Mr. Meacham let you and he fight. And we could watch or we could participate you're talking about one thing and that's fine. And the
arguments concerning cultural democracy. On those that should go on the need to go on we need to have a continuing dialogue on this question of the relationship of the broadcast a commercial or educational to his public and what it wants and what it needs etc.. But I think that if we're going to talk about academic freedom and broadcasting we have to be rather precise and we have to ask ourselves certain questions one are we talking about freedom of the broadcaster the educational broadcaster we arrogating to ourselves as educational broadcasters the traditional academic freedom of the university. Or are we talking only about the university person as he appears on our educational broadcasting facilities and saying that his traditional rites of freedom within the classroom are to be protected on the air which is it. Are we going to permit an instructor in a university to come on an educational station and make comments that he makes ordinarily and regularly in terms of his academic responsibilities and
obligations and opportunities in his classroom about perhaps some aspect of American history or some aspect of the history of the of the Catholic Church perhaps as happened in one broadcast and permit him to do this even though he is now reaching not just his students in the classroom you know within the university but many many hundreds of thousands of other people hopefully and that he is doing harm in certain ways. To the well-being of the station in terms of what it ordinarily does. And I think these are some of the questions that we have to ask ourselves I think there's a very specific question I don't think we ought to permit ourselves the luxury of indulging in this question of cultural democracy up or down or decide that this is what we're going to argue about. I think the matter of academic freedom educational broadcasting is terribly important. If we don't begin to consider it now in its specifics I suggest that when the time comes that we have to deal with it in terms of our own individual stations and
perhaps some of us have already we're going to be lost. I think we need to take a lesson from the rest of the academic community the rest of the educational community and to find precisely what it is that we mean by academic freedom as it relates to educational broadcasters for the broadcaster or for the academic. I think that's the prime question. I wish I could feel that the academic community would or was taking the leadership in this field. I sometimes feel that they are behind far behind some of the broadcasters who want to engage in greater academic freedom but I would like to get the reaction of some people not just necessarily your sad stories of what is happening in your areas but to put this on a positive basis. What have you done if at all possible to meet this
person or the band upon yourself and the feeling that you have from your audience. This gentleman here. I am here. I think we. Need that breather. Well you're right. Rob.
Right. Oh oh. If you don't respond I don't really understand it unless it is the fact that you are dealing with with the electronic means of communication. Any approach which would suggest that this is a new problem for the academic community. There is more than ample historical precedent for the academic community to go beyond the confound of the campus to
communicate with the people. You can go back to the Middle Ages when it was a priest teachers of the universities who went out into the various communities and into the marketplaces and sometimes got boiled in oil for their efforts to communicate with the people to awaken their minds and awaken their at Aleck's. You don't have to go that far back. You can go to the last days of Czarist Russia when they students and the professors of the. Of the universities form something which I think was called an old Nicky and they went out to communicate with the people and to teach them. It is simply now that you have a different means this question of that. DEMICK freedom beyond the limit of the campus is not something that now you have to begin a dialogue and consideration. The ample precedent does exist. What I think you do have to figure out for yourselves is not within this lateral forgive me for this Mr after not within this very vertical. I mean definition but I think you have to figure out. You have the freedom.
The difference is now that you are and I don't guess this is really a difference either because many of those priest teachers were communicators in their way they were preachers they have powerful voices and a great means for getting thousands of people around. I think you have to figure out now is how do you implement this academic freedom which you really have. And when I said he was it if you ain't got it there exists a body which in their selfish interest want you got it. I don't think it's a new problem. Mike Royce Freudian slip here the confines of the Careful. He said. I would like to preserve or alter I think that was a Friday and slept there. But this gentleman here.
Many years ago when I was young and innocent and Tarleton saw yes it was needed. The question of what our editorial policy should be. And I began by thinking there shouldn't be any editorials and I ended up thinking that there certainly should be for the purpose of stimulating provoking dialogue given we use the word again. But I find it very difficult to believe that a University station any more than a university president or university provost in the midst of a election campaign for instance should commit the university. Two Way position in such a campaign. Rather than arouse its own particular his own particular point of view. No my answer would be no and it's no because I think that Mr. Meacham is terribly terribly wrong. I like the damn trouble is that we think we know what academic freedom as we think it means freedom and it does not. It's a very very specific terms of as a
very very specific context in history and I think it would be terribly unfortunate if we confuse the question of academic freedom with this older and much more important question I grow of freedom in general and I think our tendency is to weave these things together. Within the confines of our own room and I think this is very unfortunate I think it is not true that traditionally freedom has an academic freedom as extended as far as the priests and the monks and the professors want to tell you we have not only a body of tradition but we have a body of law concerning this whole matter of academic freedom. And now we are going to expand it no we are not going to expand it we're going to interpret it in one way or another. I'm sorry you call for dialogue again but I hardly think of the history of the matter in the grades that we have if we have it what is it and how does it differ from our constitutional rights.
Let's say under the First Amendment and other amendments all we do if you want something is visible all we talking let's say about a university professor teaching on educational radio or educational television a course in American history or international relations. Are we not talking about his specific freedom academic freedom to say precisely what it is he would say in the classroom. If you are saying that this goes by definition on radio because it's called educational radio I think you're quite wrong. I think we're going to make it that it would not make it that and I think we better examine the implications of making it that because it can stand it can extend far beyond those things that we want to hear because academic freedom anything more really than the freedom of the of the better educated mind for that that the point of view which is brought about through the process of educators it's not something which is artificially confined to the Groves. It's not any of the teachers tell their pupils underneath the tree but I beg your pardon it is
all legal academic freedom are we talking about freedom here are we talking this is what we get with this is what I did. The confusion between leaders started at this point so that we get to the confusion between the leader mans of Mr Hofner to limit the rights of the. Commercial broadcasting and the specific question I mean let's not mix them together I think we get what you like and I don't miss you. I think this is me. No I'm just going to say that the question here also in in about this business of editorializing by a station. And if I might just make a personal comment that as I see it part of academic freedom is a multiplicity of opinion and therefore it is extraordinarily difficult for a station to arrive at what is an editorial opinion to represent the university if you will for which they work the minute they editorialize taking a certain point of view and pretend that this
is the consensus of the institution for which they work. To me this is a denial of academic freedom. Could we have missed a meeting with Everything's the University station should have. There's an interesting historical reason why the question was put to me the question was do I think that university station should editorialize and one of the reasons that I think probably profs that is the time Mr hafter was a consultant to CBS and they were debating on whether or not to do editorials are stations were doing it. Now I think that there are matters upon which my University station shouldn't editorialize. I think that these they're very careful areas. I don't think that for example that the best of our educated minds I reject entirely your thesis that academic is limited to the academy. That's too narrow an interpretation of the word academic to suit my mother. I think that there are some areas though as I was about to say politics is one area for example in which
the best of education does not necessarily give the best of knowledge wisdom and understanding. I think that there are other matters. One matter which jobs immediately to my mind is something I'm very much concerned about as I said within that as is I'm concerned about the public apathy. I think this is one subject I think that upon certain chosen subjects you're damned right I think the odd editorial who chooses these well-educated mines. Should we go on with more questions from the audience. I don't know who is first here I've lost track there. Your Did your version. You vs. a guy I will say all right if you use your mind. Overall yes. There you go. Say we use the
hard verse. You know the result. Sir I would let my wildest dream from the several years I spent in certain universities you know gang myself. You know our great difficulty. I'm in my wildest dreams proposed use of met through the faculty senate or whatever you call the right. Why not. The company cited translation of wheat editorialized on this. You cannot even get a green light in the same door upon a different nation anything which is possible with a lot of money going to various departments this is one responsibility that the educational broadcaster not shipped all over the into the factory side you need a university station then the management of a university on station should take it upon itself in the name of the university to editorialize. He's doing it in the name of the station isn't a station in your own station yet organized in the name of water management.
Right through the ownership and the ownership and management of the University station is not the general manager of the other ship was vested in the university with the matter WHAT was vested in the responsible individual and the men who managed the gels. Do you mean to say that you would have. The you know the ownership to my station. Why if I was in The Washington Post up right now when we get ready we have to realize we do not run out of 15 15 hours really that's where the Post newspaper is located and consult with every editor with the editorial writers we don't consult with the president of the company. We don't run up to New York to consult with Newsweek which is another part of our operation. But that's because the editorial policy and I think you would see this that the general philosophy and political approach of those who will write and deliver the editorial in the name of the only ship and management that was needed is accepted that it is not true because you know one thing the Washington Post can come out one way and we can come out here on the repeal of 14 Bay we're poles apart
we have just a few minutes left there are questions over here I don't know the gentleman on the right. I like the rest reply so hostle has said I'm ready for this. Oh you expressed them well do you get the idea here. Oh radio channels or TV show are not making this film about Jack your life and I think the viewers why do you think there is white list of the state of these or is about one of them where this is stated is where the manager your receiver stays or whoever signs of Newsweek has as I stated first saying that they don't understand and he said it's not whether or not it should be sold is another quest for this. Quite clearly excited low serve rather. You know I think I mean. I understand you're right we got them phrased to looking
useful to the user. I know I know I know jolly well that it is allowed me to believe that when I was quite young there was I have questioned the living presence 7 times or seven times I went quiet when there was a much bigger give away are real in the face of all these hundreds of thousands of acres many many people very very rich and they turn around and use those riches inside the sense that we got hold of the entire commission system because of the fact that these railroad bearer I heard heard you know it was valid at all. We have one more that might have bought back their possession of these we have one more question I think we'd better go over here. The gentleman back there I think was ready. Yes he's seen me play. Oh my God.
Oh yeah oh oh. Oh oh oh well you know you were right. Why. They are how they
write right. Even our own people are all really mean. Mazen gentleman I'm terribly sorry and it's obvious that we have got an interesting discussion here and I hope you will continue it. But officially we're going to have to call a halt we have one announcement here from Jerry Sanders. We break another form of inverted academic freedom the gag rule. Tonight at 8:00 o'clock in this room those of you who have requested an opportunity to hear the commercial right to hear some of the material that was used in our live German election broadcast we will have a two hour session here from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. and also
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 4356 (University of Maryland)
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- Chicago: “1965 National Association of Educational Broadcasters Convention; Special Interest Session: Academic Freedom in Broadcasting,” 1965-11-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 27, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-s46h5m6s.
- MLA: “1965 National Association of Educational Broadcasters Convention; Special Interest Session: Academic Freedom in Broadcasting.” 1965-11-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 27, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-s46h5m6s>.
- APA: 1965 National Association of Educational Broadcasters Convention; Special Interest Session: Academic Freedom in Broadcasting. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-s46h5m6s