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September 21, 2020Today is National Voter Registration Day and local radio and TV stations are ensuring their listeners and viewers are #VoteReady. As voter registration has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, broadcasters play a critical role in helping Americans understand the importance of participating in our democracy. Local radio and television stations’ commitment to driving civic participation has a powerful impact on informing and motivating citizens to vote. And as bastions of the First Amendment, broadcasters are dedicated to keeping their communities informed about the issues that impact them.
On August 3, NAB launched voter education public service announcements produced in partnership with the League of Women Voters to help stations encourage their communities to exercise their right to vote. From August 3 – September 17, TV and radio stations across the country have aired the PSAs 27,551 times for an estimated ad value of $3,628,229.
iHeartMedia's "Why I'm Voting" campaign urges listeners to share their reasons for voting in local, state and national elections. Through Election Day, iHeartMedia asks listeners to record their own 20 second or less audio or video message with their answer to the question: "Why am I voting?" iHeartMedia is sharing many of these clips across its 850 broadcast radio stations, podcasts and social media platforms.
Nexstar Broadcasting station KTXL-TV Sacramento provides original reporting, in-depth interviews and concentrated coverage of political issues in its weekly public affairs program, “Inside California Politics.”
“Since it was launched last February in Sacramento, ‘“Inside California Politics”’ has developed a loyal following and provided local viewers with up-to-the-minute reporting and a fresh perspective on national, state and local political issues,” said Tim Busch, president of Nexstar Broadcasting. “Expanding this programming to all of the state’s other major markets is another demonstration of Nexstar’s commitment to providing innovative and impactful local content to the communities we serve.”
Telemundo is encouraging civic discourse through its company-wide initiative “Decision 2020,” a nonpartisan multiplatform effort to provide Latinos with comprehensive information on the candidates running and the issues at play in the 2020 election. “Decision 2020” features in-depth news coverage, virtual town halls and hyper-local online voter registration drives with national and local partner organizations. Telemundo has also launched new digital programs in English and Spanish.
In addition, Telemundo recently released an in-depth study examining a wide range of political and social views held by young Latinos and how they affect Hispanic voter growth. Produced in partnership with BuzzFeed News, the report, “Young Latinos: A Generation of Change,” includes a national online survey of registered Latino voters ages 18 to 34 and provides a detailed look at one of the country’s fastest-growing and most dynamic voting groups.
Univision Communications continues Vota Conmigo (Vote With Me), the non-partisan multi-platform campaign aimed at motivating every eligible Hispanic citizen to register and cast their vote. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vota Conmigo focuses on digital voter registration tools and regional vote-by-mail options as the 2020 presidential election draws closer. Univision also emphasizes the importance of these options through a series of Vota Conmigo PSAs, virtual phone banks, town halls and special programming on Univision’s networks, local television and radio stations and digital properties dedicated to emphasizing the importance of making every voice count.
Mainstream Media’s WHTP-FM Portland, Maine, hosted a conversation with Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap on August 13. The conversation, which aired statewide on Maine Stream Media’s three stations, covered the importance of voting, how to register (including deadlines) and absentee voting. The conversation follows a previous discussion with Maine’s Democrat nominee for Senate, Sara Gideon. These initiatives are part of the Hot Radio Maine “Your Vote Matters” campaign that encourages listeners to vote, particularly young people.
The Montana Broadcasters Association sponsored an hour-long televised debate featuring candidates for U.S. Senate on August 8. Incumbent GOP Sen. Steve Daines and Democratic challenger Gov. Steve Bullock faced off in what some labeled as "The battle of the Steves." The debate aired on CBS stations KXLH and KRTV in Helena and Great Falls and on NBC stations KTGF and KTVH.
Your local broadcasters are committed to providing a lifeline during emergencies, offering support and resources to their communities and shining a light on the issues that impact our lives, even as stations struggle from a steep decline in advertising revenue. Read more stories about broadcasters’ public service here.
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.