NAB COVID-19 Advocacy in DC Update

An advocacy update from NAB EVP of Government Relations Shawn Donilon:

I thought it would be helpful to provide an update from Washington on the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis, as well as NAB’s advocacy efforts to help you and your members best manage the operational impact of this crisis. Please feel free to share this with your members.

First and foremost, please know how proud all of us at NAB are to represent broadcasters during these trying times. We will be sharing stories of unparalleled service to communities through the attached backgrounder. This information is also accessible through NAB’s coronavirus response toolkit that we sent to you previously. Also highlighted are NAB’s coronavirus PSAs that many of you are running. From Congress to the FCC to the White House, so many are expressing their sincere thanks to broadcasters for using their airtime for this purpose.

Our ask of policymakers is to ensure that during this time of crisis, when America needs trusted and reliable information most, broadcasters are able to remain in operation and on the air with the necessary supplies and credentials to bring information to the public. Thus far, we have two positive items to share that you are already aware of:

  • The FCC easing the deadline for local TV stations in Phase 9 of the broadcast spectrum incentive auction repack because of equipment delays or tower crew unavailability.
  • The DHS providing Access and Fuel letters (see attached) from its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to help facilitate newsgatherers’ access to studios and transmitters.

Now we are engaging with Congress and the Administration around economic stimulus packages to help ensure that the resulting relief addresses the needs of those broadcasters that are hit hardest by this crisis. To date, Congress passed a first phase of legislation addressing the needs of the healthcare sector, is finalizing a second phase aimed to address the needs of individuals and working families, and the Administration has taken certain actions like deferring tax payments for certain individuals and businesses. Now Congress is focused on a third phase of legislation that intends to provide relief to industry. We expect such a legislative package to help ensure the availability of business loans, provide deferments (and in certain cases relief) from tax payments and deadlines, and to include a variety of other measures aimed to ensure that business can mitigate risk during this ongoing crisis. NAB just joined a broad range of business interests in sending the attached letter earlier today. We want to assure you that NAB will be engaged in these discussions as they evolve, with a goal towards ensuring remedies are included that help enable broadcasters to manage this crisis.

If there’s one thing we can ask you to do now during this difficult time, it would be to share with your Members of Congress the broadcast response backgrounder and additional stories of broadcasters serving your local communities. You can do this through email or social media. If you go the social media route, please do not forget to tag your members of Congress.

Shawn Donilon
Executive Vice President, Government Relations
National Association of Broadcasters
1771 N Street NW
Washington DC 20036
Phone 202 775 2143

Advocacy  Education  Innovation