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Ashbacker Radio Corp. v. Federal Communications Commission

United States Supreme Court
326 U.S. 327 (1945)


Facts

In March 1944, the Fetzer Broadcasting Company filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (defendant) an application for permission to construct a broadcasting station in Grand Rapids, Michigan to operate at 1230 kc with 250 watts power. In May 1944, before the FCC had decided Fetzer’s application, Ashbacker Radio Corp. (Ashbacker) (plaintiff) filed an application to change the frequency of its station WKBZ of Muskegon, Michigan from 1490 kc to 1230 kc. The FCC could not grant both applications because the broadcasts would have interfered with one another. In June 1944, the FCC granted Fetzer’s application without a hearing. That same day, the FCC designated Ashbacker’s application for a hearing, which it was entitled to have under § 309(a) of the Federal Communications Act. Ashbacker then filed a petition for hearing, rehearing and other relief against the Fetzer application, which the FCC denied.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Douglas, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Dissent (Frankfurter, J.)

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