A group called the Boston Broad-casters which includes Oscar Handlin, Winthrop Professor of History, and Robert G. Gardner '48, director of Harvard's Film Study Center, are optimistic about their chances of obtaining the WHDH-TV license in the near future.
The Federal Communications Commission will set a date for hearings on the relicensing of Channel 5 sometime this week. Since 1956 the station has been operated by the Boston Herald-Traveler Corporation on a series of temporary permits. Last September, when the F.C.C. extended the WHDH license for four months, it agreed to consider new applications.
In addition to the Boston Broadcasters, applications have been submitted by the greater Boston Television Corporation, the Charles River Civic Television Company, and the Hub Broadcasting Company. The Herald-Traveler has reapplied for the license.
Robert B. Choate, publisher of the Herald-Traveler and current owner of WHDH, said in a telephone interview Friday that "our record of public accomplishment leaves little doubt that the F.C.C. will again award us the license." To the charge that WHDH suffered from mediocrity he retorted, "Absurd. Our performance has been outstanding."
Gardner, however, was doubtful about Choate's chances. He claimed that the Herald - Traveler - WHDH complex was generally unhealthy, and said, "diversification of the mass media insures vitality while concentration breeds stagnation." He said that his group would revamp Channel 5 to make better use of Boston's educational resources.