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All the cases which I am familiar with have
off on the other point. Since they are prevented from censoring, are they liable ! There has been disagreement on that.
Mr. HALE. If a responsible Federal court holds that a station cannot censor and is liable, it seems to me a monstrous injustice.
Mr. HEALD. That has been done; yes, sir.
We have the Supreme Court of Nebraska which was the first case holding that. But they held it on the ground that the man could delete libel and disagreed with the Communications Commission.
Mr. HALE. That is all, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Heald, could you tell me, if you know, can the stations get protection by liability insurance at a reasonable cost?
Mr. HEALD. They can get protection. It is rather difficult to get.
my knowledge, at the present time there is only one agency that distributes such insurance, and I think it is on a limited scale. I do not happen to have that information. I would be glad to also submit that to you.
Mr. HARRIS. Very well, you may do that for the record. (The information referred to is as follows:)
REPORT ON STATION LIBEL AND SLANDER SURVEY
On June 30, 1954, we mailed to all NARTB members, both radio and television, a questionnaire on libel and slander insurance. A copy of the questionnaire is attached to this report.
In the following table the designation “large” under the “radio” heading means stations with power over 5,000 watts; “medium” means stations of 500 to 5,000 watts, inclusive; and “small” means stations of 100 to 250 watts.
In table 1 above in summary, 50 percent of radio station members responded and 30 percent of television stations responded. With the lone exception of the State of Delaware, we had responses from 608 members of every State in the country.
In table 2 below are shown the number of stations having claims or suits in respect to libel, slander, etc., from 1949 to 1954 to date (to date meaning through the end of June).
Summarizing table 2, it will be noted that neither radio nor television had any claims or suits in 1949; in 1950 radio stations had 5; in 1951 radio stations had 2; in 1952 radio stations had 9; in 1953 radio stations had 5 and television stations had 2; and in 1954 radio stations had 6.
In response to the question asking the number of stations insured against libel, slander, etc., the following table shows the return received from the 608 statious responding.
In table 3 above, 19.7 percent of the responding stations indicated they had such insurance, and 78.4 percent that they did not have such insurance. Of the large radio stations, 30 percent said they were insured; of the medium radio stations 17.7 percent said they were insured ; and of the small radio stations 14.9 percent said they were insured. Of the television, and radio and television combined stations answering, 36.4 percent said they were insured. The small and medium radio stations showed a ratio of insured to noninsured about half that of the large radio stations and the television operations.
Table 4, following, shows the limits of the policies of the insured stations.
$25,000$25,000, $1,000 deductible $25,000, $5,000 deductible $25,000, $2,000 deductible $25,000 to $50,000. $25,000 annually, $1,000 each claim. $25,000 per corporation, $2,500 per assured. $25,000 to $50,000 and $100,000. $50,000.$100,000. $100,000, $2,500 deductible$100,000, $5,000 deductible $100,000 to $200,000.$100,000 to $300,000. $100,000 total, $50,000 each claim. $200,000, $2,500 deductible. $250,000 to $500,000...$300,000 $300,000, $2,500 deductible $300,000, $5,000 deductible $300,000, $10,000 deductible. $300,000 annually, $2,500 each claim. $2,500 each claim.. No answer..
2 1 1 3 1 8 6 5 1 1 1 3
Analysis of the answers in table 4 above show that:
38.3 percent had a policy of $100,000 with $2,500 deductible
5.0 percent had policies of $300,000 with $2,500 deductible The most-used policies, therefore, were the four listed here, and these comprised 69 percent of the responding stations with the balance of 31 percent being made up with the various other types of policies reported.
In table 5 below is shown the reported yearly cost per thousand dollars of coverage, with a range of costs and average costs.
Further analysis of the results on costs show that the large radio stations had a median cost of $1.29 compared to an average cost of $2.43; the medium radio stations had a median cost of $2 compared to an average cost of $2.89 ; and the small radio stations had a median cost of $1.56 compared to an average cost of $1.47; and finally, the television stations had a median cost of $2.13 compared to an average of $2.76.
Referring to table 5 we noted in the reporting some discrepancies in cost per thousand. This may be due to a reporting error or a variation by States in charges. To illustrate this, 2 reported a cost of $1.56 for a policy of $100,000 with no deductions, and 8 reported $1.56 for a policy of $100,000 with $2,500 deductible. Furthermore, there are some wide variations in costs and it would be well not to place too much reliance on the averages.
In table 6, which follows, there are shown the companies in which stations are insured :
Analysis of table 6 shows that Employers Reinsurance Corp. of Kansas City has 85 percent of the station business, Seaboard Surety Co. has 5 percent, Fireman's Fund has 2.5 percent, and the balance of 1.65 percent was the remainder comprising no answers to this question.
Table 7 shows the number of stations having settled claims in the past 5 years. In 5 years only 9 out of 605 stations answering reported settling claims.
In table 8 there is shown the kind of claim, the amount of settlement, and the year of all reported settlements.
The total value of settlements in 512 years amounted to $13,400, with the largest settlement being $3,500.
And now, most important in this report, is the fact that of this $13,400 in settlements, only $100 was made by those stations having insurance; the balance of the settlements was made by 8 stations not carrying any insurance. The station making the settlement of $100 pays an annual fee of $300, and the experience here is that—as the settlement was made in 1951-in 342 years the insurance company took in $1,050 and paid a claim of $100.
In table 9 following there are shown the stations reporting having claims or suits based upon political broadcasts.
Table 10 shows the year that claims or suits based on political broadcasts occurred :
While in table 9 one station reported a claim, it did not give us the year, so that in table 10 the total is 7 by reason of this discrepancy. None of the stations reported making any settlement on the claims made upon political broadcasts.
In table 11 there are shown the number of hours per week stations were on the air.