Latest COVID-19 Relief and Government Funding Package Includes Key Communications Provisions

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Television and Radio Broadcaster Eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program

As initially structured, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) excluded many local television and radio stations from loan eligibility due to their respective parent and sibling companies exceeding the aggregate 500-employee eligibility cap. Changes included in the new stimulus legislation treat broadcast stations much the same as restaurants, determining eligibility based upon the number of employees at the local level rather than the number of employees employed nationwide by parent and sibling companies. This permits television and radio stations owned by larger station groups to apply for PPP loans as long as the total loans for such a group do not exceed $10 million, and such stations (1) employ fewer than 500 employees per physical location or meet the applicable SBA standards, which is up to $41.5 million in annual revenue, or (2) are nonprofit public broadcasting entities. The legislation also waives any prohibition on broadcasters owned by publicly traded companies from receiving loan funds.

Broadcasters newly eligible to apply for PPP loans will be required to make a good faith certification that the loan proceeds will be used to support local or emergency programming.

Additionally, the law creates a “second draw” PPP loan for smaller, particularly hard-hit businesses that have previously received PPP funds. Qualifying broadcasters that employ fewer than 300 employees locally and have experienced a 25 percent or more revenue loss in any quarter of 2020 may be eligible for this additional source of loan funds.

Posted in: BroadbandCongress & LegislationRadioTelecommunicationsTelehealth and Television

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