More Lawmakers Push For Financial Aid For Broadcasters


Did you know there was a Broadcasters Caucus in Washington? If not, you do now. Several members of that Caucus have sent a letter to the House and Senate leadership pushing for financial relief for broadcasters.

Representative Tom Emmer (left) of Minnesota and Representative Brendan Boyle from Pennsylvania, who co-chair the Broadcasters Caucus, sent a letter to House and Senate leadership urging that a portion of the funding provided within the upcoming Coronavirus relief package be dedicated to support local broadcasters who have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic.

NAB CEO Gordon Smith praised the move. “During these unprecedented times, broadcasters have been hit hard by an unparalleled blow to the advertising revenue that funds local journalism and emergency news coverage. Ensuring that small broadcasters, including those that may be owned by station groups, have access to the Paycheck Protection Program will help them continue to serve their communities and provide lifeline information. 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.”

“The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted every American, but for those whose job it is to keep us informed – like our local radio and TV stations – this outbreak has been exceptionally difficult.” said Emmer. “They have been tasked with getting us up to date information during a time of high stress where the information they share could literally save lives.”

Emmer concluded, “However, these outlets rely on advertising revenue to survive – a revenue source that has become less available due to the hardships businesses nationwide have experienced. The local radio and TV stations that give us the stories we need to know deserve our support and I am urging my colleagues to show them that they are essential by ensuring they have what they need to weather this storm.”

“During this pandemic, local television and radio stations have proved an invaluable resource in the dissemination of lifesaving information for households across the nation,” said Boyle. “Broadcasting outlets continue to play a crucial role in helping people navigate this unprecedented crisis. This bill would provide temporary essential relief to many local broadcast operations that will allow them to continue serving the public good as we emerge from this pandemic.”


  1. While all certainly true, the article doesn’t mention the fact that a significant portion of local radio news comes from non-commercial and often unrated stations, who nevertheless are also dealing with shortfalls in listener donations and underwriting. I would add to Fred’s comment that direct federal buys should include paid PSAs on non-commercial stations who have a news presence in their communities. Operating outside of commercial competition, these usually shoe-string operations might be even more in need of federal assistance than commercial stations. Some are too small to qualify for Corporation for Public Broadcasting assistance and operating at a level where even a few hundred dollars can make a difference.

  2. Is any of the gov money going to go into the hands of the announcers who have worked EVERY DAY, some of us from our couch at home when we had the virus? I agree broadcasters need help, but come on, this is just for owners… again.

  3. Radio faces serious obstacles until it pays for its use of sound recordings. Paying only song writers is admission of a job half-done, a duty half-met.

    • Once again, somebody feels the need to inject a pointless comment that has nothing to with the issue at hand.

      Artist royalties have zero to do with the COVID wreckage to radio stations.

      Get a life.

      • The comment by Sam was especially irrelevant to those of us who operate News/talk stations.
        I have an opinion regarding the efforts of Congress to assist broadcasters. I certainly applaud their efforts but they must remove private ad agencies from the middle. Otherwise, most stations will receive nothing while a few stations in each market who buy the book will get it all.
        Ads should be purchased directly the federal agencies, going right down the list of every station in every market, buying 30 second spots at LUC rates and paying when the order is placed.
        Otherwise, the private ad agencies will ride the float for 60 to 90 days and take up to 30% off the top. It’s happening in California with electric utilities who are buying ads during the pandemic.

    • Broadcasters don’t pay songwriters. They pay Performance Rights Organizations. They pay for the rights to play the music. The PROs, on the other hand, only pay songwriters. That’s not the broadcasters’ problem. In the meantime broadcasters pay SoundExchange for digital rights. But that’s because the law is different. In both cases, it has NOTHING to do with broadcasters. Everything is legal.


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