As the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the economy across the country, local broadcasters are using their unique relationships with their communities to support the small businesses and workers who need them most. Even as local radio and television stations struggle with a significant loss of advertising – their primary source of revenue that allows them to bring you free entertainment and important local news – stations are working to keep other industries afloat. We’re sharing a selection of these incredible stories below. Tune into your local stations to find out what is open in your area.
Across the country, The E.W. Scripps Company’s television stations are supporting local business owners and their employees with a public service campaign called “We’re Open.” This multiplatform on-air, digital and social media campaign encourages viewers to help local restaurants stay afloat. Promotional videos celebrate the value local businesses bring to their communities, and a #TakeoutTuesday PSA campaign encourages viewers to order takeout and delivery, with lists of local restaurants available.
“As journalists, our role is first and foremost about public service – and that’s more true than ever right now as we cover how the COVID-19 pandemic affects local communities,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Local Media, The E.W. Scripps Company.
An emotional call to 103.1 New Country’s Tim and Chelsea shone a spotlight on one struggling local business. Amanda, the daughter of the owner of Morgan’s Country Kitchen, called the show to let listeners know they were still open for business and shared her worries that her mother would lose the restaurant. The next day, Amanda’s mom Patty called in with a heartwarming update. “I can’t thank you enough for what you’re doing for everyone,” Patty said to the hosts. Listen here.
Capitol Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate WRAL-TV Raleigh raised $275,000 during the “Here to Help: Support Local Business” virtual fundraiser held March 26. Donations continued to pour in, raising the total to $350,000 by March 30. The funds go to the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, which will provide immediate financial relief to restaurant and hotel workers affected by layoffs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. WRAL-TV also encourages viewers to support businesses by purchasing gift cards or getting takeout orders.
Beasley Media Group’s Boston radio stations are helping local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging listeners to purchase gift cards from local restaurants. As a part of the “Operation Gift Card: New England” campaign, WBZ-FM, WROR-FM, WBQT-FM, WKLB-FM and WBOS-FM are advertising local restaurants and their online gift card options for free with on-air promotion, on social media and on stations’ websites.
“With local restaurants and small businesses experiencing a number of restrictions...we wanted to show our support during these challenging times,” said Beasley Media Group Boston Vice President and Market Manager Mary Menna.
Keokuk Broadcasting’s WCEZ-FM and KOKX-AM Keokuk, Iowa, created a special section on its website for local businesses to advertise their current availability. The section highlighting local bars and restaurants contains current information, hours, phone number and modes of contact along with their menus for carry out and delivery. Information is also being shared on social media. The stations are offering free on-air ads and live reads to local businesses.
Local stations all across the country are sharing news, public service announcements, educational information and updates about area businesses to guide their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic, even as broadcasters struggle to stay afloat without critical ad revenue. To share how local stations are helping your community, please write to us at WeAreBroadcasters@nab.org.
More than 2.47 million American jobs depend on broadcasting, and the local broadcast radio and television industry - and the businesses that depend on it - generate $1.17 trillion annually for the nation's economy.