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Opinion of the Court.
In March, 1948, Capital Transit experimented with "music as you ride" radio programs received and amplified through loudspeakers in a streetcar and in a bus. Those vehicles were operated on various lines at various hours. A poll of passengers who heard the programs showed that 92% favored their continuance. Experience in other cities was studied. Capital Transit granted Radio the exclusive right to install, maintain, repair and use radio reception equipment in Capital Transit's streetcars, busses, terminal facilities, waiting rooms and division headquarters. Radio, in return, agreed to contract with a broadcasting station for programs to be received during a minimum of eight hours every day, except Sundays. To that end Radio secured the services of Station WWDC-FM. Its programs were to meet the specifications stated in Capital Transit's contract." Radio agreed to pay Capital Transit, after a 90-day trial, $6 per month per radio installation, plus additional
2 Typically, the equipment includes a receiving set and six loudspeakers in each vehicle. The set is tuned to a single broadcasting station. The loudspeakers are so located that the radio programs can be heard substantially uniformly throughout the vehicle. The volume of sound is adjusted so as not to interfere with the signals or announcements incident to vehicle operations or generally with conversations between passengers.
3 Uncontradicted testimony listed approximately the following numbers of vehicles equipped with transit radio in the areas named in October, 1949: St. Louis, Missouri, 1,000; Cincinnati, Ohio, 475; Houston, Texas, 270; Washington, D. C., 220; Worcester, Massachusetts, 220; Tacoma, Washington, 135; Evansville, Indiana, 110; Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 100; suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 75; Allentown, Pennsylvania, 75; Huntington, West Virginia, 55; Des Moines, Iowa, 50; Topeka, Kansas, 50; suburban Washington, D. C., 30. Baltimore, Maryland, was listed but the number of vehicles was not stated.
"(a) Program content shall be of good quality and consonant with a high standard of public acceptance and responsibility, it being understood that all programs shall be carefully planned, edited and
Opinion of the Court.
compensation dependent upon the station's receipts from sources such as commercial advertising on the programs. In February, 1949, when more than 20 installations had been made, the service went into regular operation. At the time of the Commission's hearings, October 27November 1, 1949, there were 212. On that basis the minimum annual payment to Capital Transit came to $15,264. The potential minimum would be $108,000, based upon 1,500 installations. The contract covered five years, with an automatic five-year renewal in the absence of notice to the contrary from either party.
This proceeding began in July, 1949, when the Commission, on its own motion, ordered an investigation. 37 Stat. 983, D. C. Code (1940) §§ 43-408 through 43–410. The Commission stated that Capital Transit had embarked upon a program of installing radio receivers in its streetcars and busses and that a number of protests against the program had been received. Accordingly, the Commission was ordering an investigation to determine whether the installation and use of such receivers was "consistent with public convenience, comfort and safety." Radio was permitted to intervene. Pollak and
produced in accordance with accepted practices employed by qualified broadcasting stations.
"(b) Commercial announcements shall not exceed sixty (60) seconds in duration, and cumulatively shall not exceed six (6) minutes in any sixty (60) minute period.
"(c) Broadcast Station shall agree to cancel or suitably to modify any commercial continuity upon notice from Capital that said continuity, or the sponsor thereof, is objectionable. Broadcast Station shall further agree that it shall give notice to Capital within twentyfour (24) hours after the acceptance of each new sponsor.
"(d) Capital is to receive without charge fifty per cent (50%) of the unsold time available for commercial continuity as provided in sub-section (b) hereof, (said free time not to exceed three (3) minutes in any sixty (60) minute period), for institutional and promotional announcements."
Opinion of the Court.
Martin, as protesting Capital Transit passengers, also intervened and they are the respondents in No. 224.
The Commission concluded "that the installation and use of radios in streetcars and busses of the Capital Transit Company is not inconsistent with public convenience, comfort, and safety" and dismissed its investigation. 81 P. U. R. (N. S.) 122, 126. It denied reconsideration. 49 Stat. 882, D. C. Code (1940) § 43-704. Pollak and Martin appealed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. 49 Stat. 882-884, D. C. Code (1940) §§ 43-705 through 43-710. John O'Dea, as People's Counsel, Capital Transit Company and Washington Transit Radio, Inc., were granted leave to intervene. That appeal was dismissed but Pollak and Martin took the case to the Court of Appeals. 49 Stat. 883, D. C. Code (1940) § 43-705. That court partially reversed the judgment of the District Court and gave instructions to vacate the Commission's order. manded the case for further proceedings in conformity with its opinion which included the following statement:
"In our opinion Transit's broadcasts deprive objecting passengers of liberty without due process of law. Service that violates constitutional rights is not reasonable service. It follows that the Commission erred as a matter of law in finding that Transit's broadcasts are not inconsistent with public convenience, in failing to find that they are unreasonable, and in failing to stop them.
"This decision applies to 'commercials' and to 'announcements.' We are not now called upon to decide whether occasional broadcasts of music alone would infringe constitutional rights." 89 U. S. App. D. C. 94, 102, 191 F. 2d 450, 458.
The Court of Appeals, en banc, denied a rehearing. The Commission, Capital Transit and Radio petitioned
Opinion of the Court.
this Court for certiorari in No. 224. Contingent upon the granting of certiorari in that case, Pollak and Martin, by cross-petition in No. 295, sought to prohibit Capital Transit from receiving and amplifying in its vehicles not only "commercials" and "announcements," but also the balance of the radio programs. We granted certiorari in both cases because of the novelty and practical importance to the public of the questions involved. 342 U. S. 848. We have treated the petitions as though they were cross-petitions in a single case.
1. Further facts. In this proceeding the courts are expressly restricted to the facts found by the Commission, insofar as those findings do not appear to be unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious.5
After reciting that it had given careful consideration to the testimony bearing on public convenience, comfort and safety, the Commission said that
"From the testimony of record, the conclusion is inescapable that radio reception in streetcars and busses is not an obstacle to safety of operation.
5 "PAR. 66. In the determination of any appeal from an order or decision of the Commission the review by the court shall be limited to questions of law, including constitutional questions; and the findings of fact by the Commission shall be conclusive unless it shall appear that such findings of the Commission are unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious." 49 Stat. 883, D. C. Code (1940) § 43-706. On appeal to the District Court
"the Commission shall file with the clerk of the said court the record, including a transcript of all proceedings had and testimony taken before the Commission, duly certified, upon which the said order or decision of the Commission was based, together with a statement of its findings of fact and conclusions upon the said record, and a copy of the application for reconsideration and the orders entered thereon: . . . ." 49 Stat. 883, D. C. Code (1940) § 43-705.
We treat the Commission's certification of its findings and conclusions, expressed in its statement of December 19, 1949, as meeting the above requirement. 81 P. U. R. (N. S.) 122, 124-126.
Opinion of the Court.
"Further, it is evident that public comfort and convenience is not impaired and that, in fact, through the creation of better will among passengers, it tends to improve the conditions under which the public ride." 81 P. U. R. (N. S.), at 126.
Bearing upon its conclusion as to the public comfort and convenience resulting from the radio programs, the Commission cited the opinions of car and bus operators to the effect that the "music on the vehicles had a tendency to keep the passengers in a better mood, and that it simplified transit operations." Id., at 125. The Commission also said that its analysis of accidents "reflects the fact that the radio does not in any way interfere with efficient operation and has not been the cause of any accidents, according to the testimony of . . . a safety supervisor." Ibid. Likewise, the Commission set forth the following as one premise for its conclusions:
"A public opinion survey was conducted by Edward G. Doody & Company, from October 11, 1949, to October 17, 1949, in order to determine the attitude of Capital Transit Company customers toward transit radio. This survey employed the rules of random selection and was confined to interviews aboard radio-equipped vehicles. The principal results obtained through the survey, as presented in this record, were as follows:
"Of those interviewed, 93.4 per cent were not opposed; that is, 76.3 were in favor, 13.9 said they didn't care, and 3.2 said they didn't know; 6.6 per cent were not in favor, but when asked the question 'Well, even though you don't care for such programs personally, would you object if the majority of passengers wanted busses and streetcars equipped with radio receivers,' 3.6 said they would not object or