The Supreme Court tuned off yesterday a former local radio station that sought restoration of the broadcast license it had lost partly for airing false or misleading advertising of "spiritual" baths and references to the Scriptures that were disguised tips on the illegal numbers game.
The station is WOOK-AM, owned by United Broadcasting Co. Inc. The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously in February 1976 for a license revocation - the first in the Washington area.
In denying United's application for renewal of WOOK-AM's license, the FCC cited a long history "replete with violations" of the agency's engineering and technical rules and unkept promises of compliance.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, upholding the FCC, said the history of rule violations was "a sufficient reason for disqualification" and declined to consider other issues. That decision was left standing by the Supreme Court yesterday.
United Broadcasting had invoked the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion to defend WOOK's airing of the challenged material. It included appeals by clergymen who bought air time to urge listeners to send in money for items such as a "special money - drawing root," a $10.50 "Seven Day Blessing plan" and a package for the tub that would let John the Conqueror Spiritual Bath."
In addition, some of the clergymen offered listeners who sent in "donations" three-digit references to the Scriptures that would confer "financial blessings" - in the form, the FCC said, of alleged winning numbers in illegal lotteries.
WOOK's license has since been transferred to another broadcaster.