WASHINGTON — Congress has expanded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) eligibility to local news outlets. The provision backed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and included in the coronavirus relief package signed into law by President Trump makes more than 2,000 newspapers and 3,300 television and radio stations nationwide newly eligible for PPP loans.
“The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the crucial need for local news outlets. Ensuring our hometown newspapers, television affiliates and radio stations have access to Paycheck Protection Program loans will help keep Arkansans informed,” Boozman said.
The measure fixes the Small Business Administration (SBA) affiliation rule that prevented local news outlets owned by larger parent companies from qualifying for PPP funding. News outlets are now eligible for PPP loans as long as a radio or TV station has no more than 500 employees or an individual newspaper does not exceed 1,000 employees.
“This provision preserves Arkansans’ and citizens across the country access to local news by enabling local broadcasters to access funds. PPP funds keep journalists and other support staff on the job. Local broadcasters rely heavily on advertising by area businesses for revenue to pay employees, and with many businesses closed or operating at reduced capacity, news organizations’ ability to provide community news is at risk. Thanks to the support and leadership of Senator Boozman Arkansas Broadcasters and news organizations will be there to record and encourage the revival of civic life” said Luke Story, Arkansas Broadcasters Association Executive Director and Lesli Griffin, Arkansas Broadcasters Association Board Chair.
“Arkansas's newspapers have demonstrated over and over again during this crisis that they serve a critical responsibility in our communities. Expansion of eligibility under the Paycheck Protection Program to include more Arkansas newspapers will help maintain these vital information sources and preserve local jobs. We appreciate Senator Boozman for leading this effort,” said Ashley Wimberley, Arkansas Press Association executive director.
The provision is based on the Local News and Emergency Information Act of 2020 introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and cosponsored by Boozman. The senators have been strong advocates on behalf of the local new industry, including authoring a letter to Senate leadership last April urging a fix to the SBA’s affiliation rule.