In Re Application of MANHATTAN BROADCASTING CO., INC., MANHATTAN, KANS. Requests: Channel 269A; 1.6 kW(H); 1.6kW(V); 395 feet For a Construction Permit
File No. BPH-7656
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
33 F.C.C.2d 934
March 13, 1972 Released
Adopted March 8, 1972
BY THE COMMISSION: COMMISSIONER BARTLEY DISSENTING; COMMISSIONER JOHNSON DISSENTING AND ISSUING A STATEMENT; COMMISSIONER H. REX LEE ABSENT., COMMISSIONER WILEY NOT PARTICIPATING.
[*934] 1. Now under consideration is the captioned application. Since the applicant is the licensee of the only commercial broadcast station in Manhattan, and since the applicant's principals control a daily newspaper published in the city, a possible question as to concentration of control of the mass media is raised. Since we propose to grant the application without a hearing, we shall set out below our reasons for so doing.
2. Manhattan has a population of 27,575, according to the 1970 census. Topeka, with a population of 125,011, is the nearest large city. It is about 45 miles east of Manhattan. The applicant is the licensee of station KMAN (AM), Manhattan, a 500-watt daytime-only station. No other commercial broadcast stations are licensed to Manhattan. There are two educational stations, both licensed to Kansas State University. These are stations KSAC and KSDB-FM. Station KSAC operates as a daytime only station pursuant to a share-time agreement with station WIBW, Topeka, and has a daytime power of 5 kW. Station KSDB-FM may operate on an unlimited basis, but according to its most recent renewal application, operates from 4:00 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday, and noon to midnight on Saturday. Since the station has a transmitter power output of ten watts, its coverage is very limited. Other broadcast stations providing service to Manhattan are as follows. Manhattan is within the Grade A contours of Topeka television stations WIBW-TV, channel 13 (CBS), KTSB, channel 27 (NBC), and KTWU, channel 11 (educational). Television translator station K70EN, Manhattan, rebroadcasts the programming of station KAKE-TV, channel 10 (ABC), Wichita. Manhattan is within the 1 mv/m contours of stations WIBW-FM, Topeka, and KJCK-FM, Junction City. Manhattan is also within the 2 mv/m contours of standard broadcast stations WIBW and WREN, both Topeka, [*935] and KJCK, Junction City, which is a daytime-only station. A cable television system is operating in Manhattan which provides ten television stations to its 6,300 subscribers. An additional one-time fee will provide FM stations to cable subscribers who desire this service.
3. Messrs. Fred and Richard Seaton, who are officers, directors, and 75 percent owners of the applicant, own 68.8 percent of the Seaton Publishing Company, Inc., which publishes the Manhattan Mercury. The Mercury has a Monday through Friday circulation of 9,903 and a Sunday circulation of 10,182. n1 The Kansas State Collegian is also published in Manhattan during the academic year. The Collegian is issued evenings, Monday through Friday, and has a circulation of 14,500. The applicant, in support of its application, also indicates that other newspapers published in major cities are delivered to local residents. These are: the Kansas City Star, a morning daily, which is delivered to 1,350 local citizens; the Kansas City Times, an evening daily, delivered to 1,050; the Wichita Eagle Beacon, delivered to 1,200; the Wichita Eagle Beacon Sunday, delivered to 2,000; the Topeka Capitol, delivered to 1,742; and the Sunday Topeka Capitol, delivered to 2,070.
n1 These figures were obtained from the 1971 Ayer Directory -- Newspapers, Magazines and Trade Publications, Ayer Press, Philadelphia.
4. Channel 269A was allocated to Manhattan in 1963. It has been vacant ever since. In addition, it appears technically feasible to add at least one additional Class A channel in Manhattan. The applicant states that it would not apply for the channel if anyone else were interested. The applicant has submitted letters from the public which support the applicant's proposal or express a need for additional service for Manhattan, particularly at night. Other letters have been sent directly to the Commission expressing similar views.
5. In sum, therefore, we find that Manhattan has no station licensed to it to provide nighttime service, except a 10-watt educational station with limited coverage. Residents of the area have indicated that there is a need for additional nighttime service. The Manhattan Mercury, controlled by principals of the applicant, has significant competition, in part, from the local college newspaper and, in part, from out-of-town newspapers. Residents of the area receive competing AM, FM and TV signals off the air, and FM and TV via cable. The applicant is the only party that has shown any interest in operating a station on the channel in the nine years it has been allocated to Manhattan. If another party becomes interested in the future, it appears that it is technically possible to add another Class A channel for Manhattan to the table of FM allocations. In these circumstances, we do not believe that it is necessary to explore the concentration of control question in hearing.
6. We find that the applicant is legally, technically, financially and otherwise qualified to construct and operate as proposed. Accordingly, the captioned application IS GRANTED, in accordance with specifications to be issued.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, BEN F. WAPLE, Secretary.
[*936] DISSENTING OPINION OF COMMISSIONER NICHOLAS JOHNSON
In this case the Commission approves the application of Manhattan Broadcasting Company, Inc., Manhattan, Kansas, for a construction permit for a new FM commercial station in Manhattan. Manhattan Broadcasting Company is principally owned by Messrs. Fred and Richard Seaton, who are the principal owners of Seaton Publishing Company, Inc., publishers of Manhattan's only daily newspaper, the Manhattan Mercury. Manhattan's only current commercial radio or TV station is KMAN (AM), which is also owned by Manhattan Broadcasting Company.
In other words, if you have anything to say to your fellow citizens in Manhattan, you'll probably have to clear it with the Seatons.
Without casting any aspersions whatever on the character or journalistic capability of the Seatons, I still cannot avoid the conclusion that an unhealthy amount of control over the mass media in Manhattan, Kansas, will have been placed in the Seatons' hands. For a city of 27,500 people to have not only their newspaper and their AM station, but also their FM station as well, controlled by one set of persons is, in my mind, extremely unwise policy.
Although the particular details of this application remove it from the strict purview of our one-to-a-market rules, since the AM station is a daytime-only facility, n1 certainly the spirit of the media concentration rules, as well as a simple small dose of common sense, would dictate that we turn down this application. If an FM station is going to be profitable for the Seatons, it will be profitable for someone else in Manhattan, as well. And then there would be at least two voices to be heard in Manhattan.
n1 28 F.C.C. 2d 662 (1971).
Thus, I dissent to the Commission majority's action.