WASHINGTON—As Congress works to pass another coronavirus relief package, Reps. Brendan Doyle (D-Pa.) and Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), the founders and co-chairs of the Congressional Broadcasters Caucus, are pushing their colleagues to include support for local broadcasters.
Both TV and radio broadcasters have been praised for their work during the pandemic to help share information with their local communities. It has also been widely recognized that they are doing so as they have seen significant financial impacts because of the lack of ad revenue.
“The local radio and TV stations that give us the stories we need to know deserve our support and I am urging my colleagues, show them that they are essential by ensuring they have what they need to weather this storm,” said Emmer.
One of the primary things the Broadcasters Caucus is pushing for is the expansion of broadcasters eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program. Under the CARES Act, small broadcasters were covered under PPP, but stations that are a part of large ownership groups were not, no matter their individual size. This has been a consistent point of debate when it comes to PPP and funds given to small businesses.
Emmer and Boyle argue that hotels and restaurants were able to count their employees based on individual locations for the purpose of PPP. They believe that broadcasters should be allowed that same practice.
This idea is covered in The Local News and Emergency Information Act, a bipartisan bill that has been introduced in both the House and the Senate. Emmer and Boyle request that this provision be included in any final coronavirus relief package.
“Ensuring that small broadcasters, including those that may be owned by station groups, have access to Paycheck Protection Program will help them continue to serve their communities and provide lifeline information,” said NAB’s President and CEO Gordon Smith. “NAB and America’s local radio and TV stations thank Reps. Emmer and Boyle for fighting to help broadcasters remain on the air and free to their local audiences.”
Emmer and Boyle’s official letter to Congressional leaders is available online.
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