Bipartisan Effort Pushes for Local Media Support

(Image credit: Future)

WASHINGTON—Supporting local media—including TV stations, radio stations and newspapers—has become a bipartisan effort in D.C., highlighted in part by a recently issued letter from four House Representatives to their colleagues and President Donald Trump calling for action.

Reps. Debbie Dingle (D-Mich.), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Marc Veasey (D-Texas) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) have sent out a pair of letters to other members of Congress and to President Trump asking that federal advertising funds be redirected to local media outlets to support them during the current coronavirus pandemic.

“Local media outlets are devoting around-the-clock time and resources to reporting and informing our communities on every aspect of COVID-19, even as they themselves are suffering enormous losses in revenue as all the businesses they rely on for advertising are also faltering or closed,” the letter to House colleagues reads.

“Congress can help ensure that people have the information they need most by directing current federal government advertising funds to local news and media outlets,” the letter continues.

In the group's letter to President Trump, they outline three specific efforts to support these local media outlets:

  • Direct your Cabinet secretaries to review any resources intended to be used for advertising campaigns and have them expedite such activities with local media outlets; 
  • Direct federal agency advertising dollars for existing and new federal programs where community outreach is needed for spending with local media, including those serving minority and rural communities; and 
  • Incentivize a portion of stimulus funds provided to businesses for their recovery efforts for advertising on local media 

“Advertising plays an incredible role in local economies, and its importance to the sustainability of local broadcast and newspapers cannot be overstated,” the letter to Trump summarizes.

This call for federal advertising funds for local media follows a joint effort by the NAB and other media organizations for similar support from federal advertising funds.

In addition, a letter from 19 senators to Senate leaders called for any future stimulus packages to feature support for media outlets. The American Consumer Institute has also requested both houses, the president and vice president that the Paycheck Protection Program be extended to local TV and radio stations, as well as additional coronavirus stimulus relief efforts.