FCC V. WOKO, INC., 329 U. S. 223 (1946)

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U.S. Supreme Court

FCC v. WOKO, Inc., 329 U.S. 223 (1946)

FCC v. WOKO, Inc.

No. 65

Argued November 22, 1946

Decided December 9, 1946

329 U.S. 223


A corporation, which had operated a radio station for some years and appeared to have rendered public service of acceptable quality and to be able to continue, was denied a renewal of its license by the Federal Communications Commission on the ground that it could not be entrusted with the responsibilities of a licensee because the Commission found that it had misrepresented the true ownership of its capital stock in applications and testimony before the Commission over a period of years.


1. The denial of the license was not unlawful, arbitrary, or capricious within the meaning of 47 U.S.C. § 402(e), providing for judicial review, even though the Commission failed to find that the concealment was of material facts or had influenced the Commission in making any decision, or that it would have acted differently had it known the true facts. Pp. 329 U. S. 226-227.

Page 329 U. S. 224

2. The fact that stockholders owning slightly more than 50% of its stock were not found to have had any part in or knowledge of the deception cannot immunize the corporation from the consequences of the deception, though it may be a proper consideration for the Commission in determining just and appropriate action. P. 329 U. S. 227.

3. That its action in this case constitutes a departure from the course which the Commission has taken in dealing with misstatements and applications in other cases is a consideration appropriate for the Commission in determining whether its action in this case is too drastic; but the Commission is not bound to deal with all cases at all times as it has dealt with some that seem comparable. Pp. 329 U. S. 227-228.

4. A denial of a license because of the insufficiency or deliberate falsity of the information lawfully required to be furnished is not a penalty, and is not illegal, arbitrary or capricious within the meaning of 47 U.S.C. § 402(e). P. 329 U. S. 228.

5. The fact that the Commission failed to make findings as to the quality of the station's service in the past and its equipment for good service in the future did not make its action arbitrary or capricious in the circumstances of this case. Pp. 329 U. S. 228-229.

6. The Commission is not required to grant a license on a deliberately false application. P. 329 U. S. 229.

7. It is the Commission, not the courts, which must be satisfied that the public interest will be served by renewing a license. P. 329 U. S. 229.

153 F.2d 623, reversed.

The Federal Communications Commission refused to renew the license of a radio station because of willful misrepresentations to the Commission as to the ownership of its stock. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed. 153 F.2d 623. This Court granted certiorari. 327 U.S. 776. Reversed, and remanded to the Court of Appeals with direction to remand to the Commission. P. 329 U. S. 229.

Page 329 U. S. 225

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