NAB Applauds Inclusion of More Broadcasters in COVID-19 Aid

(Image credit: NAB)

The National Association of Broadcasters is applauding the inclusion of new help for TV stations in the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020 that appears headed for passage and to the President's desk for a signature.

“NAB applauds the inclusion of provisions in COVID-19 relief legislation that would expand eligibility to Paycheck Protection Program loans for local media outlets, including those radio and television stations which were previously excluded," said National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith. "These provisions, in addition to the bill’s second round of PPP funding for which many stations will also be eligible, help local broadcasters maintain their operations during this difficult time and continue to provide news and information critical to local communities as vaccine distribution commences across the country."

In the original CARES Act, only single and struggling stations and newspapers could get small business loans, Broadcasters and publishers had wanted the government to treat struggling individual stations or papers as small businesses, even if they were part of larger groups that would not qualify if viewed from that perspective.

The new relief package would do that, though capping the loans to individual stations at $10 million per group.

According to NAB, these are the specific broadcaster-related paycheck protection provisions in the bill:

"Allow individual TV and radio stations to apply for PPP loans as long as the individual TV or radio station employs not more than 500 employees per physical location;

Permit the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make loans up to $10 million total across TV and radio stations owned by a station group (consistent with current SBA regulation);

Require newly eligible individual TV and radio stations to make a good faith certification that proceeds of the loan will be used to support expenses for the production or distribution of locally-focused or emergency information; and

Waive any prohibition on loans to broadcast stations owned by publicly traded entities."

That is in addition to the second round of small business loans--up to $2 million--that some broadcasters could also be eligible for. They go to businesses with 300 or fewer employees and at least 25% revenue loss in any 2020 quarter.

“We want to thank Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer for his tremendous support for local broadcast journalism during these critical and difficult COVID negotiations," sdaid David Donovan, president of the New York State Broadcasters Assocaition. "Because of his leadership, local stations throughout New York and the country will be able to continue providing life-saving information to their communities. Local stations that were ineligible under the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will now be able to obtain a loan.  Many broadcast stations that secured an initial PPP loan have exhausted these funds but remained on the air to provide life-saving information to their communities.  The legislation allows these local stations to secure a “second draw” PPP loan.

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.