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U.S. Supreme Court

Fisher's Blend Station, Inc. v. State Tax Comm'n, 297 U.S. 650 (1936)

Fisher's Blend Station, Inc. v. State Tax Commission

No. 628

Argued March 9, 1936

Decided March 30, 1936

297 U.S. 650


1. The owner of a radio broadcasting station, in conducting under federal license the business of broadcasting advertising "programs" for customers for hire, to listeners within and beyond the State, is engaged in interstate commerce and cannot be subjected to a state occupation tax measured by the entire gross receipts of the business. P. 297 U. S. 651.

2. Even though the sounds making up the performances or programs broadcasted are furnished by the customers, it is the broadcaster who effects their transmission by supplying and operating the broadcasting apparatus whereby electro-magnetic waves, vibrating in correspondence with the spoken sound waves, are generated and transmitted to the receiving instruments of the listeners for whom the programs are intended, there to be converted again into sound vibrations. P. 297 U. S. 653.

3. There is no basis in this case for holding that the broadcaster merely furnished the customers the broadcasting facilities, and that it was the customers who did the broadcasting. P. 297 U. S. 653.

4. The communications broadcasted are no less complete and effective, nor any the less effected by the operator of the transmitting station, because he does not own or command the apparatus by which they are received. P. 297 U. S. 655.

5. The tax in question is not levied upon or measured by the generation of electro-magnetic waves by the station operated, but by the gross receipts for the service it performs, which includes both the generation of the energy and its transmission as a means of communication interstate; it is therefore unnecessary to decide whether the State could tax the generation of such energy, or other local activity of the operator. P. 297 U. S. 656.

182 Wash. 163, 45 P. 2d 942, reversed.

Appeal from a judgment of the state supreme court which reversed a judgment enjoining the enforcement, as against appellant, of a state tax. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 297 U. S. 651

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