United States v. Storer Broadcasting Co.

351 U.S. 192 (1956)

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United States v. Storer Broadcasting Co.

United States Supreme Court
351 U.S. 192 (1956)

  • Written by Peggy Chen, JD
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Facts

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (defendant) enacted a rule known as the multiple-operations rule. This rule was intended to prevent the concentration of broadcasting licenses in the hands of a few owners. Specifically, the multiple-operations rule stated that an application for an additional radio-and-television-broadcasting license would be denied if the applicant already owned more than a certain number of stations. The rule was applied automatically to an application, without a hearing. However, applicants could file a request to have the rule waived. If the waiver request set out adequate reasons why application of the rule would be inappropriate, the FCC would hold a hearing on the request. Storer Broadcasting Company (Storer) (plaintiff) owned seven standard radio, five FM radio, and five television stations. Storer filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of the multiple-operations rule. A provision in the federal Communications Act of 1934 required that the FCC give applicants a full hearing before denying an application for a broadcast license. Among other arguments, Storer claimed that the rule violated the statutory hearing requirement because the rule allowed license applications to be denied without a hearing. The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and struck certain provisions of the rule. The United States Supreme Court granted the FCC’s petition for certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Reed, J.)

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