Many did not receive funding in the first round, while large broadcast groups seek to be eligible for the next offering
It was clear from the start that Congress had not found enough money to prevent small businesses – defined as those with fewer than 500 employees – from feeling the pain inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. As lawmakers continue to negotiate a second round of funding, broadcasters of all sizes are speaking out, hoping to secure their share of the loans to avert another financial disaster.
Hawaii Media Owner George Hochman believes Congress should allow more funding for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program under the Coronavirus Help, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Hochman spends airtime encouraging listeners to express their own support for PPP, broadcasting a spot 18 times a day from 6 a.m. to midnight on its 15 stations in the Hawaiian Islands.
Listen to the Hochman spot now using the media player below or Download them here.
Hochman encourages other small radio stations to participate in this effort.
“Owners / managers, get on the air, use your airwaves to keep your listeners away and support this program. Now is the time to use the power of our voices and let the public know they need to call their representatives and tell them to pay off “the SBA Paycheck Protection Program” and do it now, so that their employees can return to work. ”Hochman wrote in an email to Radio World.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Broadcasters is supporting a bipartisan letter from U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) who urges their colleagues to open up future SBA loans to broadcasters and news editors with more than 500 employees.
The original PPP legislation excluded any company of this size or larger from applying, but the NAB and Senators say local media are particularly affected by the pandemic, although they play a vital role in informing listeners, viewers and readers.
Senators explain why they called for the exception in the letter: “Even though these media outlets may belong to larger groups, they operate independently.” Therefore, they write, “waiving the SBA membership rules for local newspapers and broadcasters and ensuring that financial assistance goes to the local branch, not the parent company, would allow these small local operations to be eligible for essential financial assistance ”. This change would allow broadcasters the same exclusions created for the hotel and restaurant industries, which tWashington Post reports have already drawn strong criticism.
An NAB press release quoted NAB Chairman Gordon Smith as saying, “U.S. broadcasters are providing reliable and credible rescue coverage to keep citizens safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but local stations are suffering from advertising losses of historic proportions that will undermine this critically important service. . We urge congressional leaders to support this proposal to provide immediate SBA loan eligibility to more local radio and television stations, ”
A similar effort is being led by the Chairman of the US House Antitrust Subcommittee, David N. Cicillin (D, RI) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R, WI) in the other chamber of Congress.It is important to note that 97% of the initial program’s $ 349 billion was allocated in less than two weeks, according to the Financial Times. However, the amount of funding put in place for the next round is likely to be considerably smaller – closer to $ 310 billion, according to CNBC, despite increased demand as the effects of COVID-19 have affected more sectors.