Category Archives: Law

Texas City Disaster, 1947

Parking lot a quarter mile from the blast. Wikipedia photo.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history, the Texas City disaster of April 16, 1947, which started as a fire aboard the French-registered vessel SS Grandcamp docked at Texas City, Texas, with 2200 tons of ammonium nitrate. The disaster killed at least 581 people, including all but one member of the Texas City fire department.

Smoke was spotted in the cargo hold of the Grandcamp at about 8:00 AM. The captain ordered his crew to steam the hold, which probably made matters worse by converting the ammonium nitrate to nitrous oxide.

Spectators gathered, believing that they were a safe distance away. The sealed hold began to bulge, and water splashing against the hull began to boil.

The cargo detonated at 9:12 AM, with a blast leveling over a thousand buildings on land and destroyed the Monsanto chemical plan and ignited refinery and chemical tanks on the waterfront. Bails of twine from the cargo were set afire and hurled around the city. People in Galveston, 10 miles away, were forced to their knees, and the shock wave was felt as far as 250 miles away.

The ironically named SS High Flyer was docked nearby, and the blast set fire to that ship’s cargo of ammounium nitrate. Fifteen hours later, that ship exploded.

As might be expected, the blast destroyed much of the city’s communication infrastructure, and amateur radio operators quickly responded to fill the gap.  Many of these stories are detailed in the July 1947 issue of QST (pages 38-40).

B.H. Standley, W5FQQ, on the air at city hall, along with city clerk Ernest Smith, Nurse Mrs. E.L. Brockman.

B.H. Standley, W5FQQ, on the air at city hall, along with city clerk Ernest Smith, Nurse Mrs. E.L. Brockman.

By noon, the first amateur portable and mobile stations had moved into the city and were on the air, working in conjuction with Army, Navy, Coast Guard, U.S. Engineers, FBI, and local and state police. Links were quickly set up between City Hall and stations in Houston and San Antonio. Most traffic was handled on 75 meter phone and 80 and 40 meter CW. W5KMZ reportedly handled over 200 messages, mostly involving needed medical supplies. As the hours went on, additional traffic was handled by W5FQQ at the mayor’s office, with over 300 messages passing on behalf of city officials, the Army, Red Cross, and Salvation Army.

An impromptu three-way net was established on 3989 kHz between Texas City, Galveston, and Houston.

Two hams, W5FQQ and W5EEX, had been advised to evacuate but remained at their stations. They narrowly escaped death when the High Flyer lived up to its name with its explosion. W5FQQ was on the air at the time of the blast, and the blast was heard by W5IGS in Houston. 21 seconds later, the Houston station experienced his windows shaking.

W1AW declared the emergency to be over 11 days later, on April 17.

As might be expected, considerable litigation followed, much of it under the Federal Tort Claims Act for alleged negligence of the U.S. Government. The case ultimately made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Dahelite v. United States, 346 U.S. 15 (1953), in which the court held that the Government was not liable, since all of the claimed government negligence amounted to discretionary acts.



Old Glory: Banned in Boston

1917MarchElecExp

We recently carried an image , a smaller version of which is shown at the right above, of the SS Kansan, illustrating how the U.S. flag was illuminated to make abundantly clear that the ship was a neutral vessel.  The image appeared on the cover of the January 1917 issue of Electrical Experimenter.

Newsstand readers in Boston, however, didn’t see the flag.  Instead, some of them saw a sticker of Santa Claus.  Massachusetts law forbade the sale of goods displaying the flag, so news dealers were forced to obscure it.  In this case, Santa Claus got the honors of being the censor.  The image above is taken from the magazine’s March issue, which explained the odd juxtaposition.

Justice William O. Douglas, 1947

1947Feb24Life

Shown here 70 years ago at the soda fountain of a drug store near the U.S. Supreme Court is Associate Justice William O. Douglas.

The 17 year old soda jerk serving him is his daughter, Mildred Douglas, and the picture appeared in the February 24, 1947, issue of Life magazine. According to the magazine, she was somewhat abashed by the publicity, and announced that she took the job for the money, earning 65 cents per hour. Her younger brother, Bill, 14, had a paper route.

Douglas was four times married and three times divorced. He divorced Mildred’s mother, also named Mildred, in 1953.  The children were subsequently estranged from their father, and the younger Mildred was later quoted as saying that the Justice “never talked to us like we were people” that “when he got angry at us, which was often over the slightest things, he would simply not speak to us for days on end,” and that she “didn’t like him very much because of the way he treated my mother.”

When the elder Mildred died, the Justice was not immediately informed, since neither sibling felt the desire to inform him.



Editorial Endorsement: Gary Johnson for President

Today, we interrupt our normal programming and announce our endorsement for President of the United States.

I am a lifelong Republican, and have voted for every Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1980. In some cases, I cast my vote enthusiastically. In other cases, I only reluctantly voted for the nominee. But in each case, I believed that the nominee more or less reflected the principles of the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. I am also a card-carrying Republican, both as a precinct officer and delegate to the Minnesota state Republican convention (although the party would certainly be within its rights to remove me for publishing this endorsement.)

For the first time in 36 years, I will be voting for someone other than a Republican for the nation’s highest office. This year, I will be voting for the Libertarian nominee, Gary Johnson. It is with a certain amount of sadness, but also with hopefulness, that I publicly endorse him.

Obviously, this amounts to a vote against Trump, and I want to explain why I am voting against him. It is not because I subscribe to the conventional wisdom and believe that Trump is Another Hitler, because I don’t think he is. I might be wrong, but it seems to me equally likely that Hillary Clinton would actually turn out to be the Another Hitler. I don’t think she is either, but it’s just about as likely.

The real reason I’m voting against Donald Trump is because he fails to embody the principles for which the Republican Party has stood for over 150 years. First and foremost, the Republican Party is the party of Liberty–and that includes both personal and civil liberties as well as economic liberty. A free people best govern themselves when personal decisions are left to the individual, with an absolute minimum of government coercion.  That’s what Republicans believe, and it’s what I’ve always believed.

In the economic realm, this means that every person should be able to succeed or fail on his or her own merits. And as a conservative, I believe that the Free Market is in the least worst way of determining who should succeed and who should fail. If there’s no market for my product or service, then the public is best served if I fail and abandon that product or service in favor of another. My resources and my talents are wasted if I devote them to something the public neither wants nor needs. And the best way to deliver that message to me is to have consumers stop patronizing me.

If another casino is what we need, then the free market should bear that out for someone who wants to take the risk to open one.  But the full coercive power of government shouldn’t be called upon to decide that a casino is the highest and best use for private property.

I have no doubt that Donald Trump was a successful businessman. But he did not become a success by means of the free market. For the most part, he became successful because of what are euphemistically called “public-private partnerships,” or what we used to call Mercantilism. (Or what we could call Fascism, as the word was originally defined.)  He was successful because the full coercive power of the state sided with him. Perhaps another real estate developer would have been more successful, but we will never know that. The other real estate investor didn’t get the imprimatur of the regulators.

Hillary Clinton is no better. The only difference is that she sat on the other side of the table in many a “public-private partnership.” Her attitude is best exemplified in a 1993 quote in which she said, “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized entrepreneur in America.” This was in reference to whether health-care mandates would drive small businesses out of business. It didn’t matter to her, because she dismissed those businesses as “undercapitalized.” But they are undercapitalized only because they are not established players in a given industry. I used to believe the Democrats when they said that they cared for the little person in the fight against big business. But I started to notice that the largest established players in any given industry tend to favor greater government regulation. This is because the established players can bear the costs of overregulation, unlike their “undercapitalized” competitors and startups. It’s merely another way in which the government is able to pick winners and losers. The established competitor is favored by regulation, and innovative newcomers are locked out of the market.

There’s only one logical choice for President, and that is someone who exemplifies those principles that the Republican Party once stood for, and that choice is Gary Johnson. He’s a fiscal conservative, but more importantly, be believes in both personal liberty and economic liberty. He was a successful businessman, not because he received a favored position in a “public-private partnership,” but because he provided goods and services that the public wanted.

I don’t agree with Gary Johnson on every issue. Fortunately, however, he is not running to be the absolute dictator; he is merely running for President of the United States. He cannot act unilaterally on most issues. And critically, he seems to understand the Constitutional limitations of his office and would not act unilaterally.

I won’t catalog every issue on which I disagree, but I will mention the most troubling. Gary Johnson is apparently pro-choice. I am pro-life, and I believe that the state has a legitimate duty to protect innocent human life. To the extent that President Johnson acts in accordance with his stated principles, I will oppose him.

But I’m also aware that the President of the United States does not perform abortions, nor does he order that they be performed. He has no power to permit or outlaw abortion. Donald Trump claims to be pro-life (although he declared himself to be staunchly pro-choice in the past).  But whether or not the president is pro-life has little effect on whether innocent lives will be slaughtered. The nation’s policy on abortion should be, in my opinion, properly vested in the state legislatures, who have legislated criminal codes since before the beginning of the Republic. The policy is currently vested (improperly, in my opinion), in the judiciary. But it’s not currently vested in the federal executive branch, nor should it be. So in a sense, whether or not Gary Johnson is pro-life is irrelevant. More importantly, as a proponent of limited government, Johnson himself should see it as irrelevant to his office.

Donald Trump’s sole redeeming quality is his apparent willingness to appoint conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. For example, one of the names that is allegedly on his short list is that of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras.  As a committed federalist, Stras, or someone like him, would be an excellent choice for the nation’s high court. Again, Trump’s pledge to nominate someone like Stras is the candidate’s sole redeeming quality.

But frankly, I don’t trust Donald Trump enough to vote for him based upon one single pledge. And given Gary Johnson’s apparent willingness to embrace the U.S. Constitution, I do trust him to appoint constitutionalist judges, even if he has not yet named names.

Roe v. Wade won’t be overruled by the executive branch, no matter how zealously pro-life the president happens to be. And it certainly won’t be overruled just because the candidate says that he’s pro-life, despite a long history of saying that he’s pro-choice. In my opinion, Roe v. Wade is a constitutional aberration that ought to be overruled. I believe that a constitutionalist judge would agree if the issue were squarely presented. And I believe that Gary Johnson is the most likely presidential candidate to appoint constitutionalist judges.

In short, Gary Johnson is not a perfect candidate. But he is the closest to a perfect candidate that I’ve seen in the past 20 years. More than any other candidate in the race, he best exemplifies the values of the Republican Party, whether or not he bears that label.

And no, I don’t believe that I am “wasting” my vote by voting for Gary Johnson. I have never voted for a candidate merely because I though he or she was going to win. In fact, as a Republican in a staunchly Democratic state, I rarely vote for the winning candidate. For example, I don’t believe that I have ever voted for a candidate for the state legislature who actually won. In every single legislative race since 1980, I have voted for the loser every single time.  For 18 straight elections, I have consistently voted for the losing candidate.  I’ve volunteered for losing candidates, knowing full well that they were going to lose.  I’ve even served as the campaign treasurer for a losing candidate, knowing full well that she was going to lose.  But I never considered my vote wasted. The purpose of the whole exercise is to determine who the majority supports.  And for that process to work, the people voting for the minority candidate must see their candidate lose.

This year, it’s quite likelty that I’ll be voting for the losing candidate for President.   But that’s nothing new for me.  Even if I do vote for the loser, I won’t consider my vote wasted.

However, I am not convinced that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the next President. I’m not the only person who believes that there should be another choice. I’ve seen as many Gary Johnson signs as I have seen signs for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I’ve seen more support for Gary Johnson on social media than I’ve seen for either of the other candidates. If all of those people vote for Gary Johnson, then he might win. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy to vote against him merely because he will lose.

It seems unlikely that Gary Johnson will be the winner as of election night. But it seems quite plausible to me that he will carry enough states to deprive either of the other candidates a majority in the Electoral College. If that happens, then our Constitution calls for the President to be selected by the House of Representatives, voting by State. In that case, the House will be called upon to select the President from among the top three in the Electoral College. In that scenario, it seems likely that Johnson would be elected, as the only palatable compromise candidate. No Democrat is going to vote for Donald Trump, and very few Republicans are going to vote for Hillary Clinton. Johnson is probably the only candidate who can win. Or to put it another way, members of the House would be wasting their vote by casting it for either Trump or Clinton.

Currently, Gary Johnson has more endorsements by major newspapers than Donald Trump. Most recently, the Chicago Tribune endorsed Johnson. For whatever its worth, OneTubeRadio.com now joins them in endorsing Gary Johnson for President.

Tomorrow, we return to our normally scheduled programming, consisting of pictures of old radios.

This page was prepared and paid for by Richard P. Clem. This page is not endorsed by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Minnesota attorney Richard P. Clem is solely responsible for the content of this page.

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Endorsements: Craig Foss for Minnesota Supreme Court, Ryan for Congress, in the August 9 Primary

I’m sure most OneTubeRadio.com readers have been eagerly waiting for my endorsement for the contested Minnesota Supreme Court seat, so here it is.

There are three candidates running in the primary election. Voters are asked to vote for one candidate. One will be eliminated from the race, and the remaining two candidates will appear on the November ballot. This is the only statewide primary election.

The incumbent is Justice Natalie Hudson, who was appointed to the bench in 2015 by Governor Dayton. Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court, she served from 2002-2015 on the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and before that as an Asistant Attorney General. She began her legal career in 1982 as a staff attorney for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services. I will probably be voting for Justice Hudson in the November general election. You can read her response to questions by the Minnesota State Bar Association at this link.

Justice Hudson faces two challengers, Craig Foss and Michelle MacDonald.

Mr. Foss unashamedly states that he wants to become an appellate judge because “the demand for legally blind attorneys is not high. So I decided to see if I could get elected to a job.” He is a duly licensed attorney in the State of Minnesota, and has been since 1995.  He therefore meets the minimum legal and constitutional requirements for the position he seeks.

Ms. MacDonald is also a duly licensed attorney and has been since 1987.  Therefore, she also meets the minimum legal and constitutional requirements to appear on the ballot.  Ms. MacDonald also ran for Supreme Court in 2014 and sought, and obtained, the Republican endorsement. I was present at the 2014 state Republican convention when she was nominated, without discussion, after the now dissolved judicial elections committee recommended her nomination. (For the record, I did not vote for her during the otherwise unanimous voice vote.) Unfortunately, the committee recommended her without disclosing that she was then facing criminal charges. She was ultimately found guilty of some (but not all) of those charges. When her criminal charges came to light, the party backpedaled its support and refused to offer her a spot at the Minnesota State Fair. Ms. MacDonald showed up anyway and created a scene.

In 2016, she once again sought the Republican endorsement. This time, with her record known to all of the convention delegates, the party wisely decided not to endorse. In fact, it went a step further and disbanded the judicial nomination committee.  I voted with the majority on both of those votes.

For these reasons, I recommend voting against Ms. MacDonald in the upcoming primary. It is very likely that Justice Hudson, because of her incumbent status, will be one of the two top votegetters in the August 9 primary. Therefore, to ensure that Ms. MacDonald does not appear on the November ballot, I will be voting for Craig Foss. There will be two candidates in the November general election. In my opinion, Ms. MacDonald does not have the required judicial temperament to serve on the state’s high court. On the other hand, I have no reason to believe that Mr. Foss would not serve fairly and impartially. Indeed, his disability would probably bring an unrepresented point of view to the high court. I doubt if I’ll vote for him in November, but if he’s elected, I have every reason to believe that he will take his position seriously and will serve with distinction. He would not be an embarrassment to the state or to the legal profession.

Therefore, I endorse Craig Foss for Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court in the August 9 primary election.

I also endorse Greg Ryan in the Republican primary for U.S. Congress in the 4th District (St. Paul area).

Attorney Richard P. Clem is solely responsible for the content of this page. This page is prepared and paid for by Richard P. Clem, and is not paid for by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

14th Amendment 150th Anniversary

14thAmend

Today marks the sesquicentennial of the passage by Congress of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on June 13, 1866, which was ratified on July 9, 1868.  Section 1 provides:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

 

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WOW Omaha Turns 18, 1941

WOW1941Radio station KXSP, Omaha, first came on the air in 1923. The station is probably best known for the WOW call letters that it bore from 1926 to 1999, representing its owner, Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society. When it first came on the air, those call letters were not available, since they were assigned to the steamer Henry J. Bibble. Instead, the station signed on as WOAW. When that ship was scrapped in 1926, the station took over those call letters.

When the station reached the age of majority eighteen years later, it held a birthday party, and invited six young Omaha women who were born the same day. The six are shown here, and they are, from left to right, Blanche Zaloudek, Roslyn Levy, Jacqueline Giles, Helen Rummelhart, Elaine Kinzli and De Lorse McCarty. They appeared in the May, 1941, issue of the station’s program guide, Radio News Tower.

Seven years later, the young woman on the left had married, and was known as Blanche Howard. Her uncle, J.F. Zaloudek, died in Kansas without a will, and Blanche was one of the heirs. She inherited a portion of some property in Wilson, Kansas. Shortly thereafter, Blanche, along with one of the other heirs, was back in court. It turned out that her uncle had a judgment against his brother, another one of the heirs. She went to court to seek to enforce this judgment, and the case ultimately went to the Kansas Supreme Court. In its opinion in the case, Zaloudek v. Zaloudek, 171 Kan. 72, 229 P.2d 727 (1951), that court held that Blanche and the other heir didn’t have standing to revive the judgment against the brother.

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NPOTA: North Country Scenic Trail, Jay Cooke State Park, MN

JayCookeToday, I did a National Parks On the Air (NPOTA) activation of the North Country National Scenic Trail, a hiking trail that extends from eastern New York to North Dakota.  My operating location was in Jay Cooke State Park, Minnesota, about 25 miles south of Duluth.  My operating location is shown here.  The radio itself, my  Yaesu FT-817, is barely visible propped up by the bright blue canvas bag, in front of the dark blue bag.  The 12 volt battery is on top of the bright red bag, and my lunch is inside the dark red bag.  The cable going up to my antenna is visible, but the antenna, a 20 meter dipole tied to trees with string, while in the frame, is not visible.

During NPOTA, amateur radio operators set up portable stations at National Park units and make contact with other amateurs at home.  The event has been very popular, and there have been hundreds of thousands of contacts made from the parks.  Since the event includes all units of the National Park Service, the North Country Trail qualifies as a “National Park,” allowing me to operate from one of the Minnesota state parks crossed by the trail.

During today’s activation, I managed only four contacts, the furthest being Mississippi.  According to the Reverse Beacon Network, my signal was getting out.  Unfortunately, many chasers don’t bother looking for stations.  They wait until they’re spotted on the internet, and then work them.  So making that first contact can be a challenge.  Since I was only there for a brief stop over lunch, I didn’t bother persisting to make six more contacts.  But I’ll be operating from this spot again on June 5 as part of the Light Up The Trail event being done in conjunction with NPOTA.  During that event, stations will be set up at various locations along the North Country Trail.  I decided to do a trial run today, since I’m in Duluth to present a Continuing Legal Education program on Friday morning, and then serving as a delegate to the Minnesota Republican State Convention on Friday and Saturday.

The swing bridge at Jay Cooke State Park was washed away.

2012 flooding of bridge. USGS photo.

Swinging Bridge prior to 2012 flood. Wikipedia photo.

Jay Cooke State Park was originally created in 1915 by a donation of land from the St. Louis Power Company. It remained undeveloped until the 1930’s, when the Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the park’s structures, including the iconic Swinging Bridge over the St. Louis River. The bridge was destroyed by flooding in 2012 but subsequently rebuilt according to the original plans. As you can see from the picture at the top of the page, my operating location was near the bridge and near the River Inn visitor center in the picture shown below, also constructed by the CCC.  The North Country Trail passes over the Swinging Bridge, putting my operating location well within the 50 yards from the trail required by the NPOTA rules.

River Inn Jay Cooke.JPG

River Inn Visitor Center, Jay Cooke State Park. Wikipedia photo.

This stretch of the St. Louis River consists of a long rapids impossible to traverse by canoe. Therefore, both Native Americans and Europeans portaged around the rapids, and this portage remained in use until the 1870’s.

Starting in the 17th century, the portage was used heavily by fur traders, since it formed part of the route from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River basin.  The voyageurs had to traverse the 6.5 mile portage through the area, carrying two or three packs weighing about 90 pounds each.  It took three to five days to cross the portage, and the voyageurs doing so would be covered with mud and insect bites.  My activation today was not quite so strenuous.  It required me to carry my complete station, including battery, radio, and antennas, weighing a total of about 10 pounds, a total of about 100 yards from the parking lot to the picnic area.  And even though I got mostly skunked, I bet the voyageurs who traversed the area a few centuries ago would never dream that it would someday be possible to toss a wire into a tree and talk halfway across the continent with a piece of equipment that would have made only a small dent in their 90 pound packs.

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13th Amendment Ratified, 1865

13thAm

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, forever ending slavery in the United States.  On December 6, the reconstruction Georgia legislature ratified the amendment, marking the 27th, meaning that two thirds of the states had done so.  On December 18, 1865, Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed that the amendment had been adopted.

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1941 ASCAP Boycott

1940AscapBoycottAd

Seventy-five years ago, American broadcasters were gearing up for some big changes in 1941. The engineers were busy ordering crystals and getting ready to retune their transmitters on March 29, 1941, to the new frequencies mandated by NARBA.

But the program director had even bigger things to worry about, because of the ASCAP Boycott, which was to start on January 1, 1941, and would last until October 29, 1941.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) was formed in 1914 to enforce the 1897 copyright law. In the days of live performances, this had been easy, since the royalties were just based on a percentage of the box office sales. But the phonograph, and later radio, complicated things considerably. But after almost a decade of haggling, a tenuous truce was in place between ASCAP and the broadcasters. The stations grudgingly agreed to pay 5% of advertising revenue in exchange for a blanket license to perform all ASCAP music. But the truce didn’t last long, and in 1940, worried that radio performances were cutting in to phonograph sales, ASCAP announced that it was going to triple the broadcast fee. The broadcasters decided that enough was enough, and at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention, the broadcasters decided that they would boycott ASCAP. Therefore, as of January 1, 1941, most of the stations’ existing music libraries could not be used. This included both recorded music and the sheet music used in the still common live performances by orchestras and studio pianists and organists.

Virtually every part of a station’s programming was affected. Even most program theme songs were controlled by ASCAP and had to be changed. Jack Benny had to stop playing his signature “Love in Bloom” on the violin, and Burns and Allen had to stop using their theme “Love Nest,” written by ASCAP co-founder George M. Cohan.

JeanieWithTheLightBrownHair1854.png

Jeanie in 1854, before her hair turned gray. Wikipedia image.

The stations had two alternatives, and had to act fast. First, they could make use of public domain material. This is why the Lone Ranger rode to the tune of the public domain William Tell Overture, and the Green Hornet flew to the music of The Flight of the Bumblebee. One notable beneficiary on stations’ play list was “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,” penned by Stephen Foster in 1854. Time magazine quipped that the song had received so much airplay that Jeanie’s hair turned gray.

Stations also turned to foreign music such as “Perfidia.” And since ASCAP had generally believed that “hillbilly” and African-American music were beneath their dignity, these genres quickly found a home on the American airwaves.

In order to get radio airtime, performers had to make the same choices. It’s no coincidence that Glenn Miller’s orchestra made 1941 hits with “American Patrol” and “Song of the Volga Boatmen,” both in the public domain.

For new music, broadcasters turned to the fledgling Broadcast Music International (BMI), a rival licensing agency founded by the broadcast industry in 1939. BMI recruited composers whose ASCAP contracts were about to expire as well as new composers, and made these available to broadcasters on more favorable terms.

A substantial portion of the December 15, 1940, issue of Broadcasting magazine was devoted to helping broadcasters gear up for the boycott.  For example, the ad at the top of this page Standard Radio touted, during the “music emergency,” its music library of 2046 non-ASCAP taxfree selections including performances by artists such as Duke Ellington and Ray Herbeck, with the promise of 100 new releases per month.

An editorial in the same issued called it a war, not unlike the war raging in Europe:  “Zero hour approaches in the war over music.  War is hell in any language, and there are hellish days ahead for the adversaries in the conflict precipitated by a hitherto arrogant, brass-knuckled ASCAP that now must know it overplayed its hand.  The rank and file broadcaster is not thinking about an ASCAP deal.  Like the Italians, ASCAP attacked with untenable demands.  And like the Greeks, the broadcasters are on the march.”

And in this war, the broadcasters knew that ASCAP would be ruthless.  Every broadcaster knew that the ASCAP lawyers would retaliate heavily for even the most innocent minor violation.  The broadcasters had to ensure that not one note of an ASCAP-licensed competition could go out over the airwaves.

The magazine carried the advice sent out by CBS to its affiliates about the steps that needed to be taken to avoid even an accidental infringement of any ASCAP music. It stressed that the program producer or director had to personally inspect “all music on the conductor’s stand against his certified music sheet. No other music may be broadcast.” It stressed that it was particularly important to be careful with remote broadcasts. And for protection in case of later accusations, it was especially critical to keep a meticulous log of all music broadcast.

And dead air was better than an ASCAP lawsuit, so “the program producer must have the right to pull the plug on the slightest deviation from a certified music schedule.”

Ad libs and improvisations were not to be allowed. “If it isn’t on paper and certified, it is not be be broadcast.” And stations couldn’t forget that last-minute substitutions of talent might be required. “All staff artists, organists, and pianists, who might be required to fill in, must clear a sufficient number of work sheets to meet such needs.” Organists on dramatic shows would need to immediately submit a folio of cue music sufficient for their needs and be reminded that no other music could be played unless it had been cleared.

Even at non-musical remotes, the stations would have to be careful. If a station knew that music might be played in the background at a baseball game or political rally, it was not to be picked up. Since most band music was controlled by ASCAP, “the chances are we will have to forego those portions of a special event during which the band is playing, unless you can build and work from a soundproof booth.”

All recordings would have to be checked, and the ASCAP material be put away for the duration of the emergency. If a record had an ASCAP song on one side and a non-ASCAP song on the other, then tape would need be placed over the infringing side to keep it from being accidentally played. Even the emergency records kept at the transmitter site would need to be checked. A failure of the studio to transmitter link could not be allowed to serve as a reason for the ASCAP lawyers to swoop in.

1940MarksThe magazine also contained some good news.  There were already 3400 records licensed by BMI would could be safely played.  The magazine also announced the signing of a contract between BMI and the Edward B. Marks Music Corp., shown here, transferring that publisher’s catalog of over 15,000 songs to BMI.  This freed up such compositions as “Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight” and “Ta Ra Ra Boom Der Ay” for broadcast.  Benny Goodman’s theme song, “Let’s Dance” was among those included in the Marks deal.

References

Read More at Amazon

The following songs in this post are available at Amazon where you can listen to a free sample or download the MP3:

 

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