Legislators Push DOD for Ad Bucks for Local Media

Capitol Building
(Image credit: Capitol Hill)

As legislators in the House and Senate Armed Service Committees try to hammer out a final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, they are getting some advice from colleagues about using some ad dollars on local broadcast and print media.

The authorization includes the Department of Defense's almost two-thirds of the roughly $1 billion the federal government spends on advertising and marketing.

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In a letter to committee leadership four members of Congress--a Republican and Democrat from both the House and Senate, argue that given the pandemic-related challenges for local media, the Department of Defense can boost those important businesses. "Right now, the need for reliable news and information is as important as ever," they said. "Our radio and television broadcasters and newspapers provide local and national news, emergency alerts, educational programs, and more to all corners of the United States – information that can and often does have security implications."

But they add that given the loss of ad revenue during the pandemic, the long-term viability of local journalism is at risk.

They are asking specifically that the following language in the House bill  be what is ultimately used: "It is the sense of Congress that the Chiefs of the Armed Forces, in coordination with the Recruiting Commands of the Armed Forces, should give all due consideration to the use of local broadcasting and traditional news publishers when advertising."

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.