Paul A. Porter

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Paul A. Porter
Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
In office
December 21, 1944 – February 25, 1946
Nominated byFranklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byE. K. Jett
Succeeded byCharles R. Denny
Personal details
Paul Aldermandt Porter

(1904-10-06)October 6, 1904
Joplin, Missouri
DiedNovember 26, 1975(1975-11-26) (aged 71)
Washington, D. C.
NationalityUnited States
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Bessie Edgar Banton (div. 1956)
Kathleen Winsor (1956–his death)
Alma materUniversity of Kentucky
Kentucky Wesleyan College

Paul Aldermandt Porter (October 6, 1904 – November 26, 1975) was an American lawyer and politician. He served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1944 to 1946;[1] the following year he joined Washington, D.C. law firm Arnold & Fortas, now known as Arnold & Porter. In addition to his career in public service, he became a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors, serving from 1947 to 1963.[2]


Born in Joplin, Missouri, Porter's family moved to Winchester, Kentucky when he was very young, he graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College and attained a law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law. While in law school, he worked as city editor for the Lexington Herald. Fresh from law school, he joined the law firm of Judge J.M. Banton, where he was assigned to work on the Al Smith presidential campaign in Clark County, where he lived. After the election, he joined General Newspapers, where he worked on acquisitions, he was married to Bessie Edgar Benton, a friend from childhood and the daughter of J.M. Banton;[3] they had two children; the couple divorced in 1956, and Porter later married Kathleen Winsor.

Porter served as the Democratic National Committee's head of publicity for the party's successful 1944 election campaign, which saw Democrats increase their majority in the House of Representatives and the reelection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Prior to his work for the Democratic Party, Porter had held a number of jobs in the Roosevelt administration, starting with the Department of Agriculture, from 1933 to 1937, he left the government to work as Washington counsel for CBS, taking leave in 1940 to join the National Defense Council.[citation needed] In 1942, Porter left CBS to join the Office of Price Administration as deputy administrator, and then assistant director of the Office of Economic Stabilization under Fred M. Vinson.[4][5]

FCC service[edit]

Porter was nominated by President Roosevelt on November 16, 1944, to fill out the remaining term of departing FCC chairman James Lawrence Fly, and took office on December 21 of that year under a recess appointment after the Senate failed to take up the nomination before the end of the Congressional session. Roosevelt designated Porter as FCC chairman at the same time, succeeding interim chairman Ewell K. Jett.[6] When the next Congress assembled in January 1945, Porter was renominated and was unanimously confirmed on January 18, 1945.[7] Porter did not serve out his full term, which would have expired on June 30, 1949, instead leaving the FCC in February 1946, he was succeeded as chairman by sitting commissioner Charles R. Denny.[8]

President Harry Truman appointed Porter to head the American Economic Mission to Greece, with the rank of ambassador, in 1946. Two years later, he represented the United States at the Middle East peace talks in Geneva.


On November 21, 1975, Porter was eating dinner at a restaurant with his wife and friends when he choked on a piece of lobster, he went into a coma, and died five days later at George Washington University Hospital.[9] Porter's personal papers are in the Truman Library.[10]


  1. ^ "Commissioners from 1934 to Present". Federal Communications Commission. 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Our Respects To— Paul Aldemont Porter". Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 26 (10): 34, 36. March 6, 1944.
  4. ^ "Porter Slated to Take FCC Post Dec. 15". Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising. 27 (21): 13. November 20, 1944.
  5. ^ "Porter Well Qualified for FCC Job". Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising. 27 (21): 13.
  6. ^ "Porter Assumes Chairmanship of the FCC". Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising. 27 (26): 13. December 25, 1944.
  7. ^ "Senate Unanimous In Porter Approval". Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising. 28 (4): 70. January 22, 1945.
  8. ^ "Complete list of FCC Commissioners from 1934 to Present". June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  9. ^ "Paul Porter dies; headed FCC under Roosevelt, was prestigious member of Washington bar". Broadcasting. 89 (22): 26. December 1, 1975.
  10. ^ "Paul A. Porter Papers". Retrieved 2011-12-16.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Lawyer Paul Porter Dies After Choking on Lobster". Los Angeles Times. 1975-11-27.
  • Lawrence, B. H. (1988-12-19). "Law for the Future; Arnold & Porter Offers `Legal Supermarket'". Washington Post.
  • Flannery, Gerald V. (1995). Commissioners of the FCC, 1927-1994. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. pp. 72–74. ISBN 0-8191-9669-X.
  • Paul A. Porter at Find a Grave Edit this at Wikidata
Government offices
Preceded by
Ewell K. Jett
Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
Succeeded by
Charles R. Denny