An ease-up on radio, big trucks
Washington — The Supreme Court, in an important decision for the broadcast industry, ruled 7 to 2 that the Federal Communications Commission need not review proposed format changes before granting a radio station license. The justices struck down a federal appeals court ruling that ordered the Fcc to hold hearings on radio license renewals and transfers if there is public opposition to plans to change the station's entertainment format. The high court's ruling was a defeat for community and cultural organizations.
But the justices upheld a major FCC "policy statement" that declared the public interest is best served by allowing market forces and competition among broadcasters to control diversity in radio formats.
In another decision, the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 that a state cannot ban 65-foot twin-trailer trucks from travelling on Interstate highways within its boundaries. At issue was whether an Iowa law prohibiting the huge trucks for safety reasons unconstitutionally burdens interstate commerce. Writing for the majority, Justice Lewis Powell held that the truck-length limit was a burden on commerce the state could not constitutionally impose.