WASHINGTON —Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today thanked radio and television broadcasters for their tireless efforts during the coronavirus outbreak, including running public service announcements on social distancing, airing educational programming to help with distance learning, expanding COVID-19 reporting, and holding fundraisers to help those who have faced financial hardship due to the virus.
“As always, in times of emergency, broadcasters are stepping up to serve their communities and help keep people informed, healthy, and safe,” said Chairman Pai. “From airing PSAs on social distancing to supporting distance learning with educational programming, broadcasters are going above and beyond the call of public service. I want to especially recognize those reporters who are on the front lines, often putting themselves in harm’s way, to obtain vital information on COVID-19 to ensure their viewers and listeners have the most up-to-date and accurate information. We’ve seen time and again that broadcasters’ efforts to keep their communities informed during emergencies help save lives, including when it comes to this pandemic.”
On March 16, Chairman Pai held a conference call with broadcasters to commend their coronavirus response and urged them to continue their efforts to keep Americans informed. Broadcasters have run tens of millions of dollars’ worth of public service announcements on social distancing and other aspects of the pandemic, aired educational programming to help students and educators with distance learning, held fundraisers for charities and small businesses, expanded local news to cover COVID-19, and implemented often drastic changes to their operations to abide by social distancing guidelines.
For more information on broadcasters’ coronavirus response:
NAB’s coronavirus toolkit: https://www.nab.org/coronavirus/ NAB’s tools in Spanish: https://www.nab.org/coronavirus/spanish.asp
Some of the broadcaster efforts include, but are not limited to:
ABC: Shooting PSAs on social distancing and airing them across the country, replacing an afternoon talk show with a COVID-19 program featuring a medical expert, holding a telethon in Los Angeles to support a local pandemic relief fund, launching a daily online program on coronavirus simulcast on radio, and launching a campaign to support non-profits providing essential services in Greater Philadelphia.
Capitol Broadcasting’s WRAL-TV: Raising $275,000 for a relief fund for North Carolina restaurants and hotel workers affected by layoffs due to COVID-19.
CBS: Partnering with iHeartMedia and the Los Angeles Chargers to raise over $1.6 million for a fund to help Los Angeles students and families impacted by the coronavirus, donating protective personal equipment and medical supplies to various hospitals, donating meals to staff at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, supporting food drives in various cities, and providing information to Dallas viewers on open job opportunities.
Entercom: Holding an all-day telethon in Austin, TX to support a local COVID-19 charitable fund, launching a fund to support restaurants in Massachusetts impacted by closures, and launching a daily live show focused on promoting mental health during the pandemic.
Gray: Creating a COVID-19 tracker for local newscasts, launching a nightly COVID-19 newscast across all stations, providing educational programming and digital resources to schools in Shelby County, TN to support distance learning, helping raise money for a food bank in southern Wisconsin, providing free airtime to local businesses in Columbia, SC, and airing PSAs and programming in Lexington, KY and Madison, WI on social distancing, living in quarantine, healthy practices, and supporting local businesses.
Faith Communication’s KSOS-FM: Donating 23,000 meals to families in the Las Vegas area that rely on free and reduced-price school lunches.
Fox: Partnering with iHeartMedia and raising $8 million for coronavirus relief with a virtual concert, raising $80,000 for a local food bank in Orlando, Fl, and offering free online access to television stations.
Hearst: Airing PSAs in Boston to support the Inner City Scholarship Fund’s virtual dinner gala.
iHeartMedia: Partnering with Fox and raising $8 million for coronavirus relief with a virtual concert, creating a hotline in Los Angeles, CA to connect those in need of services and supplies due to the pandemic with local businesses and non-profits able to help, and airing information in Charlotte, NC on resources available to those in need as well as information on local restaurants and businesses.
Meredith: Partnering with local businesses in Phoenix to connect job seekers with available positions, including work-from-home jobs.
MyNetworkTV: Airing grade-specific public school lessons in Washington, D.C. to help children with distance learning.
NBC Universal: Creating a series of “The More You Know” COVID-19 PSAs featuring network stars and airing primetime specials across broadcast and cable channels on the coronavirus pandemic, expanding local news across various markets, and launching a daily morning news special on the coronavirus.
Nexstar: Launching campaigns in various markets to support local restaurants impacted by COVID-19, donating and raising money for food banks in Illinois, launching a daily coronavirus stream available online and to all stations, and airing a concert in Greensboro, N.C. to support local musicians unable to perform gigs due to the coronavirus.
PBS: Partnering with WGBH-TV in Boston, MA to broadcast a daily, five-hour learning service with lessons for students in grades 6-12, providing distance learning tools on PBS Kids and PBS LearningMedia, and launching special programming on the coronavirus.
Saga Communication’s WMXZ-FM: Launching a new morning segment profiling restaurant and bar workers laid off due to coronavirus and providing listeners with information on how to send them money electronically.
Telemundo: Launching a “Quédate en casa” media campaign featuring network stars, hosting a Spanish-language teleconference townhall to provide information on resources available to the Latino community, and providing on its platform “El Poder de Ti” daily livestreams, preventative tips, infographics, and culturally-relevant information.
Townsquare: Airing special town halls in Trenton, NJ featuring medical experts and advocates for local businesses.