President Dwight Eisenhower Appoints a Chairman For the FCC

George McConnaughey was in charge of renegotiating federal defense contracts when he was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission by President Dwight Eisenhower. McConnaughey had also served as chairman of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission and president of the National Association of Railroad and Utilities Commissioners.

McConnaughey believed in as few controls...

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President Dwight Eisenhower Appoints a Chairman For the FCC

George McConnaughey was in charge of renegotiating federal defense contracts when he was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission by President Dwight Eisenhower. McConnaughey had also served as chairman of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission and president of the National Association of Railroad and Utilities Commissioners.

McConnaughey believed in as few controls of business as possible. He held that the Commission did not have the authority to regulate programming and supported lengthening license terms to five years. He took a stance against government tapping citizens, an issue that still remains important today.

Chairman McConnaughey’s time at the FCC was quiet, however there were storms on the horizon regarding the Commission’s relationship with the broadcast industry. Broadcasters were scandalized by the bribes to disk jockeys for playing certain songs and by rigged contest shows. The FCC was also debating pay television, the role of ultrahigh frequency channels, and accusations that licenses were renewed regardless of a station’s performance.

Document signed, Washington, October 4, 1954, being the original order designating McConnaughey Chairman of the FCC: “Pursuant to the provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, I hereby designate George C. McConnaughey as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, for a period of one year.” His term was renewed at the end of that period.

This is the first first presidential appointment document for the head of the FCC that we have ever handled, or can recall seeing.

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