Montana broadcasters have worked steadfastly in order to bring the latest COVID-19 information to their listeners and viewers in clear, concise manner. The MBA is compiling various resources to help.
Coronavirus and Your Station:
- Supplies: You need to have adequate supplies of cleaning materials to keep your station as safe as possible for employees.
- Cross training/working from home: In case your employees are exposed, and need to be quarantined, you may want to evaluate who could help cover their workload while they are out, as well as having computers or other equipment to allow them to work from home.
- Employees: You may want to review with your corporation the leave policy in case someone is required to self quarantine at home, or has become infected with the virus. In addition, you may want to consider policies for employees who have school aged children in case their school is closed, and they will need to be able to take care of their children.
NAB Coronavirus toolkit: The National Association of Broadcasters has compiled various resources, including PSAs, station operation resources, and editorial resources for NAB members and non-members.
Poynter Institute: Various articles about covering COVID-19. In addition, broadcasters can sign up for a free daily newsletter about covering coronavirus.
- How newsrooms can tone down their coronavirus coverage while still reporting responsibly
- AP stylebook tips on the coronavirus
- Tools for remote work
- How journalists can fight stress from covering coronavirus
- 7 ways to avoid misinformation
- Radio Ink: 10 Commandments of coronavirus coverage
- Jacobs Media: Digital tools to help your station staff work remotely
- Jacobs Media’s COVID-19 resource page
- IPAWS guidelines for COVID-19 shared by FEMA
- Broadcasters Foundation of America - The mission of the Broadcasters Foundation of America is to improve the quality of life and maintain the personal dignity of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute financial need due to a critical illness, accident, advanced age or other serious misfortune.
Access and Fuel letters: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Communications Coordination Branch (NCC) has issued two letters that may help broadcasters gain access to their broadcast facilities and/or fuel in the event of a travel restrictions or curfews.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for copies of the letters.
SBA Emergency Loans:
We’re a broadcasting association of all shapes and sizes, yet even if your business has the comfort of financial security right now, you undoubtedly work with many small business advertisers in Montana that may be in need of urgent help to stay afloat. Please use and share the below information however useful.
This new US government program requires each state to make an emergency declaration request to open up fund access. Governor Bullock made that request on Sunday and many of Montana’s counties are already listed as eligible. All of the counties should be listed very soon.
The program appears to offer up to $2 million in assistance for each business and can provide economic support to help overcome any temporary loss of revenue. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of COVID-19’s impact. The loans also appear to offer long-term repayment plans up to 30 years.
This emergency program is run through the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) and is called the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. You can read more about the program – and file an application – at the below link:
FCC: The FCC released guidance on shared news gathering surrounding COVID-19. Namely temporary sharing agreements of breaking news need not be placed in a stations public file. Read the full announcement.
Lowest Unit Rate: The FCC released a Public Notice indicating that, during this emergency, stations can provide free spots to advertisers without lowering their LUR, provided that “the free time is not associated with an existing commercial contract for paid time or otherwise considered bonus spots.” Read the Public Notice
US Dept. of Homeland Security Cyber/Infrasture (CISA): GUIDANCE ON THE ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKFORCE - Within this document, under the Communications subheading, CISA identifies "Workers who support radio, television, and media service, including, but not limited to front line news reporters, studio, and technicians for newsgathering and reporting" as essential critical infrastructure workers.
General health information:
CDC: The Center for Disease Control has provided an "Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers" page which helps businesses plan, prepare,and respond to COVID-19. Valuable to your business as well as to share with advertisers and your general audiences.
David Oxenford communications:
Various updates and blogs in relation to COVID-19
- April regulatory dates for broadcasters – reminding broadcasters, among other things, that Quarterly Issues Programs Lists still need to go into their public file by April 10: https://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2020/03/articles/april-regulatory-dates-for-broadcasters-the-fcc-may-be-teleworking-but-regulation-goes-on/
- Planning that broadcasters should be doing to prepare for shelter-in-place or similar lockdown orders:https://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2020/03/articles/essential-planning-for-broadcasters-facing-coronavirus-restrictions-on-access-to-facilities-and-news-events/
- FCC goes to teleworking and says that college-owned stations can consider the period when students are barred from campus as a holiday or recess, so they do not need to meet the minimum operating rules and can stay silent without an STA: https://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2020/03/articles/washington-reacts-to-the-virus-fcc-closed-to-visitors-and-its-employees-told-to-telework-audio-division-issues-guidance-for-radio-regulatory-filings-and-copyright-office-postpones-webcasti/
- When political primaries are delayed, the 45 day lowest unit rate window is also pushed back:https://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2020/03/articles/as-presidential-primaries-get-delayed-by-the-coronavirus-so-too-do-lowest-unit-rate-windows/
- Abolition of main studio rules means that broadcasters do not need to keep their studios open and accessible to the public:https://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2020/03/articles/fccs-2018-abolition-of-main-studio-rules-means-broadcast-studios-do-not-need-to-be-open-to-the-public-during-coronavirus-outbreak/
- FCC (1) allows stations to give free spots to advertisers as long as they are not tied to an advertising package, without lowest unit rate implications and (2) allows one TV station to provide more than 15% of the programming of another without multiple ownership implications if that additional programming is news (but a request to the FCC is required): https://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2020/03/articles/fcc-issues-guidance-on-no-charge-advertising-and-lowest-unit-charges-and-news-sharing-agreements-and-lma-rules-during-covid-19-crisis/
- FCC agrees that pooling arrangements for the coverage of news and other COVID-19 issues do not need to be in writing and do not need to be in the public file: https://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2020/03/articles/fcc-issues-guidance-on-tv-news-sharing-agreements-during-the-pandemic/
- FM auction postponed indefinitely: https://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2020/03/articles/fcc-indefinitely-postpones-fm-auction-will-refund-upfront-payments-and-dismiss-pending-applications/
FCC offers extensions to TV stations in Phase 9 of the repacking: https://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2020/03/articles/fcc-offers-extensions-of-time-for-tv-stations-in-phase-9-of-repacking-because-of-pandemic/