Broadcasters Push for Local Journalism Tax Break Bill

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Architect of the Capitol)

Local broadcasters are urging the Senate to provide tax credits to stations that staff up their newsrooms, citing, in part, Big Tech's "devouring" of their local ad market.

In a letter to Senate leadership, all 50 state broadcaster associations called for passage of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act.

They said the bill "would provide local newsrooms a lifeline that would enable them to sustain, and in some cases, significantly improve the critical public service these local media outlets provide their communities."

The associations said that lifeline is needed in part because their advertising market has been disappearing, "devoured by massive online technology platforms."

The bill, which was introduced last month by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, along with Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), would provide tax breaks for stations as well as small businesses that support local media with their ad dollars.

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The goal, according to the bill's sponsors, is to "revive and sustain trusted local media," in which broadcast TV and radio play a central role. The credits go to support local newspapers, digital news operations, TV and radio.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.