Yesterday, Congress voted to approve a COVID package. NY Senator (Senate Democratic Leader) Chuck Schumer has been at the forefront of the negotiations. The legislative package not only helps all New Yorkers, it includes specific provisions that help local broadcast stations throughout the state. It helps everyone employed in broadcasting and ensures we can continue to provide life-saving information during the pandemic.
Senator Schumer was unwavering in his support for local stations throughout the COVID negotiations. Including provisions to help local broadcasters was not easy. Despite considerable opposition, he continued to fight for us. Without Senator Schumer, this would not have been possible.
Here are the broadcast related provisions:
Expanded PPP Eligibility for Broadcasters – Approximately 121 radio stations and 41 TV stations in New York were not eligible to receive a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) last year. These stations will now be eligible for a PPP loan.
- Larger companies may obtain a loan for their local stations, provided each individual station employs no more than 500 employees per physical location
- SBA loan limit of $10 million nationally per broadcast group owner
- Local broadcasters are exempt from the rule prohibiting loans to publicly traded companies
- Stations must certify that loan proceeds will be used to support expenses for the production or distribution of locally-focused or emergency information
- These stations will also be eligible for second draw loans
“Second Draw” PPP loans – Many stations stayed on the air this year because they obtained an SBA loan under the PPP. These stations are now eligible for another “second draw” loan. Here are the basics
- Stations are eligible to obtain up to $2 million per loan
- To be eligible, stations must have less than 300 employees at any location
- Stations must have incurred a 25% revenue loss comparing any quarter in 2020 to the same quarter in 2019. Revenue comparisons will be made at the local level.
Extension of Section 1112 of the CARES Act – Many stations have been operating under a traditional Small Business Association (SBA) loan. This section provides for the SBA to pay, not just defer, principal and interest on SBA 7 (a) and 504 loans. This program will be extended.
Broadcasters Included in Hardship Provisions – Broadcasters have been included in the special hardship provisions in the bill. Under this section, existing borrowers will receive 8 more months of debt payments, capped at $9,000 a month. Any new SBA loans going forward will have 6 months of debt payments capped at $9,000 a month.
Also included in the bill is a 5-year, $75 million vaccine public awareness campaign managed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), that lists television and radio first amongst eligible mediums. This campaign will be a national, evidence-based campaign to increase awareness and knowledge of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for the prevention and control of diseases, combat misinformation about vaccines, and disseminate scientific and evidence-based vaccine-related information, with the goal of increasing rates of vaccination across all ages, as applicable, particularly in communities with low rates of vaccination, to reduce and eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases.
These provisions help all New York broadcasters remain viable during this pandemic. This is a huge win for local journalism and stations.
Again, we thank Senator Chuck Schumer getting these provisions included in the COVID legislative package. Our job is to continue providing the public with life-saving information during this pandemic.
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