Federal Communications Commission v. Allentown Broadcasting Corp.

349 U.S. 358 (1955)


P was presented with two applications for construction permits for standard broadcast stations. One application was filed by the Easton Publishing Co. for Easton, Pennsylvania, and the other by D for Allentown, Pennsylvania. Both were for the same frequency. Simultaneous operation of the two stations would cause mutually destructive interference. Eventually, a second set of hearings were held in 1951 by an examiner whose initial decision recommended that the D application be granted. The examiner based the decision on the evasiveness of Easton’s witnesses. Easton filed exceptions to that decision and P issued its final decision, disagreeing with its examiner and granting the station to Easton. The crucial factor was that D had three local stations; Easton only one. The Court of Appeals reversed. The court held that P's findings of fact that overruled findings of the Hearing Examiner were erroneous. It held that there was no substantial evidence in the record to support the determination that 'the ability of the applicants to serve their respective communities was about equal.' P appealed. P asserts that, when mutually exclusive applicants seek authority to serve different communities, P first determines which community has the greater need for additional services and then determines which applicant can best serve that community's need.