Skip to main content

HEROES Act Passes House, Senate Prospects Dim

The House has passed the HEROES (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) Act, which would count individual TV and radio stations as small business in terms of forgivable loans even if they are part of larger broadcast groups that, as a whole, would not qualify. 

Broadcasters and newspapers have been pushing for that access to funds, but the victory is likely only symbolic since Republicans in the Senate have said it was DOA there, and the President has signaled he would likely veto it if the $3 trillion COVID-19 aid bill, of which the small business loans for media outlets is a tiny part, made it so his desk. 

“NAB applauds House passage of the HEROES Act that includes expanded access to Payroll Protection Program loans for local media outlets," said National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith "As local radio and TV stations and hometown newspapers struggle with historic advertising losses, it is critically important they have access to resources to support lifesaving journalism that keep families and communities out of harm’s way." 

While the HEROES Act is unlikely to become law, separate, stand-alone bills that would create the expanded PPP access and that have bipartisan support, have been introduced in both the House and Senate. 

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.