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Texas Congressional Delegation Stands with Local Broadcasters

- Ad Spending, PPP Expansion Garners Strong Support

Local broadcasters have been garnering overwhelming support from the Texas Congressional delegation over the past couple weeks for two different efforts to help stations overcome the financial strains stemming from the COVID19 pandemic.

A proposal to direct billions in federal ad dollars to local newsrooms – broadcast and print – is the focus of one effort that, in part, acknowledges the extraordinary drain on ad revenue supporting journalism by online giants like Google and Facebook over the past decade.

The evaporation of billions of dollars in planned advertising this spring is now further jeopardizing some news operations’ survival. Ad spending by federal agencies under this proposal would likely address the pandemic and related health and safety matters.

Separate efforts in the House and Senate garnered the support of both Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, as well as 19 Texas members of the U.S. House – a majority of the delegation. Both measures are instructive to federal agencies and do not require legislation.

Meanwhile, a proposal to expand broadcasters’ eligibility for the forgivable Payment Protection Program loans offered through the Small Business Administration reaped the support of 125 members of the U.S. House in a letter to leadership this week, including eight Texans from both parties.

The PPP expansion is critically important to stations whose companies employ more than 500 people across the country. While the CARES Act financial rescue provisions included exceptions from the so-called “affiliation rule” for restaurants and hotels owned by companies with more than 500 employees, they did not do so for broadcasters.

This change, if accepted by House and Senate leadership, is contingent on Congress’ adoption of a fourth financial rescue package following the one just enacted last week. However, Senate Republicans are attempting to hit the brakes on further financial rescue packages so it’s uncertain when that might occur.

TAB has been consistently engaged with key staffers for the Texas Congressional delegation on these multiple requests, working in partnership with the NAB. These efforts and, especially, strong response from station owners and GMs to TAB’s calls to action have been key to our success so far.

Broadcasters are encouraged to thank those lawmakers who are standing up for local broadcasters and journalism as the country strives to overcome the extraordinary economic challenges of the day.

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Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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