House Broadcast COVID-19 Aid Bill Introduced

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Architect of the Capitol)

House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and ranking member Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) have introduced a stand-alone bill that would make radio and TV stations that are part of larger broadcast groups eligible for forgivable small business loans.

There is a provision to that effect in the mammoth $3 trillion Democrat-backed HEROES Act COVID-019 aid bill, but even that acronym will not get that bill through the Republican-controlled Senate or the President, so stand-alone bills are broadcasters' best chance for some of that COVID-19 money.

A similar bill was introduced in the Senate earlier this week.

The National Association of Broadcasters has been pushing hard for the aid, no matter what the vehicle.

“NAB thanks Reps. Cicilline and Sensenbrenner for introducing bipartisan legislation that would help local media outlets weather unprecedented advertising losses," said NAB president Gordon Smith. "Today’s legislation builds on the letter these legislators led last month with bipartisan support of more than 120 of their House colleagues.

"Expanding eligibility for Payroll Protection Program loans for local radio and TV stations and newspapers would support lifeline journalism and fact-based reporting of the COVID-19 pandemic."

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.