On December 11th and 12th of the year 1933, William S. Paley of CBS and David Sarnoff of RCA met at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City with representatives from all the three wire services, ANPA (American Newspaper Publishers Association) and NAB (the National Association of Broacasters). But they could exactly write out a contract, that could be considered restraint of trade. It proceeded as a gentleman's agreement, collusion in other words. The terms were summarized very well in the book Media At War: Radio's Challenge To The Newspapers by Gwenyth L. Jackaway, with I further summarize for brevity below:
- Networks were to cease gathering their own news.
- The wire services would provide service to the PRB (Press Radio Bureau) to edit into announcements for use on radio.
- Radio stations would pay for use of the PRB
- Bulletins could be no longer than 5 minutes in length
- Morning bulletins could not be aired before 9:30 AM
- Evening bulletins could only be aired after 9:00 PM
- New bulletins could not have local sponsorship
- Urgent bulletins were permitted to violate the above
- Radio commentators were not permitted to cover news less than 12 hours old
That lasted about as long as you'd expect. Local radio stations outside of NAB largely ignored the agreement, and larger network broadcasters felt pressure to compete and bent the rules. Newspapers returned the favor, by refusing to carry news about radio, unless it was slandering radio. That came to an end, only as newspapers discovered it was just easier to buy the radio stations...