Broadcasters' Group Applauds COVID-19 Relief Expansion From Congress

Gordon H. Smith
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NAB president Gordon H. Smith

NAB CEO Gordon Smith said said that the bill will "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."

The new pandemic relief bill, which is set to be put to a vote on Monday, expands eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program to include many local TV and radio broadcasters.

In a statement Monday, National Association of Broadcasters CEO Gordon Smith said he "applauds" the changes, adding that "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."

The new bill allows radio and TV stations to apply as long as they to not have more than 500 employees per location, and also permit the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make loans up to $10 million total across TV and radio stations owned by a station group. The bill also waives the prohibition on loans to stations owned by publicly-traded companies.

The bill also requires that newly-eligible stations "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."

Separately, the bill authorizes $475 million in funds for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for fiscal 2023.