Support Our Local Broadcasters
By: Kenny Graner; Huff, North Dakota
Whether you receive your news from the TV, radio, or internet, one thing remains the same—you have more than likely been tuning into your local broadcasters now more than ever. While the endless news cycle has been prevalent in many of your lives since the start of social media and smart phones, we haven’t experienced quite the level of “need” for local news until this year. With mandates and regulations changing daily, we have all been turning to our local broadcasters, both TV and radio, for the latest news on our region’s health and economy.
Like every other state, North Dakota has faced the uncertainties of COVID-19. Through it all though, our local broadcasters have helped us navigate the changing restrictions and closures. As we look to businesses resuming operation, the start of school on the horizon, and for me personally, ongoing monitoring of the ag markets, we will continue to turn to our local broadcasters for that information.
Many of us likely received stimulus checks, some may have also received small business loans and agriculture focused support. These have all been band-aids on a much larger problem of what our economy will look like in the remainder of the year. Large events, fundraisers and school functions are all up in the air—meaning, that the need to advertise for them is also questionable. Advertising dollars for community events and state-wide issues are a pivotal part of funding for our local broadcasters and it has been estimated that they have lost between 50-90% of their advertising revenue. With this revenue stream stalled, how will our favorite stations sustain themselves?
The broadcasters we have come to rely on for daily, hourly, and up to the minute coverage need our help to stay on the air. We must ask our elected officials to push for federal advertising dollars to be directed to local media markets. What does this mean? It simply means that when federal agencies or departments are looking to advertise, they would be directed to focus their ads, and ad dollars, in local media markets. It’s a win-win, our local communities receive vital information and the government gets their message out to rural regions. We must ask our Congressman and Senators to continue to push for federal advertising dollars to be directed to local media. Our broadcasters have been there for us during these trying times, let’s now be there for them.
Mr. Graner is the past president of the United States Cattlemen’s Association. He currently resides in Huff, North Dakota where he and his wife, Mary, are best known for their Indian sweet corn and cattle.