As bastions of the First Amendment, broadcasters understand the indispensable role they play in helping citizens exercise their right to vote. By providing the most trusted news on political issues and hosting debates with candidates, local radio and television stations have been helping their communities stay informed this election season. To support their efforts, NAB, in partnership with the League of Women Voters (LWV), launched a voter education public service announcement campaign. The PSAs are part of NAB’s 2020 Election Toolkit, which was made available early this year.
Broadcasters are generously donating airtime to help ensure that their communities are #VoteReady. Radio and television stations have aired NAB’s voter education spots more than 46,000 times since they were released in August, for an estimated value of $6,183,079 in airtime.
Stations across the country are also airing debates in local and statewide races to encourage civic discourse. These debates provide Americans with critical information about candidates and issues, helping them to make informed decisions at the polls. Here are a few examples:
In New Mexico, Hearst’s KOAT-TV Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Journal hosted a debate on October 23 between U.S. Senate candidate Ben Ray Luján (NM-03) and opponent Mark Ronchetti. Topics during the hour-long debate included Luján’s record in Congress and President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also covered the future of health care, climate change, New Mexico’s crime rate and substance abuse.
Nexstar Media Group stations across Texas aired the first debate on October 9 between Sen. John Cornyn and his challenger, MJ Hegar. The one-hour event aired on 15 Nexstar stations across the state and was also streamed live online. Cornyn and Hegar discussed topics including the response to the coronavirus and the Supreme Court.
In North Carolina, TEGNA’s WCNC-TV Charlotte hosted the first of three televised debates between Sen. Thom Tillis and challenger Cal Cunningham. The debate was also streamed on WCNC’s YouTube channel. Nexstar Broadcasting’s WNCN-TV Raleigh hosted the second debate on September 22. On October 1, Capitol Broadcasting Company’s WRAL-TV Raleigh hosted the final discussion. Topics covered included the Supreme Court, education, health care, the pandemic, local infrastructure and the economy.
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 multiplatform 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.
Your local broadcasters are on the front lines providing critical support to their communities, even as they struggle from a steep decline in advertising revenue. Read more stories about broadcasters’ public service at WeAreBroadcasters.com/PublicService.
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