Live Mic: Congress asks Pres. Trump to help local news media

May 1, 2020, 6:14 PM | Updated: 6:15 pm
Utah Rep. John Curtis joined other lawmakers asking the President to help local media outlets survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo of Rep. John Curtis, Rick Bowmer / AP)
(File photo of Rep. John Curtis, Rick Bowmer / AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — In addition to aiding U.S. small businesses during the pandemic, members of Congress have asked the president to help the local news media outlets across the nation, which have seen an increase in audience numbers but a decline in advertising revenue.

Rep. John Curtis of Utah and members of Congress signed two letters urging President Donald Trump and the Office of Management and Budget to direct federal advertising funds to support local radio, television, and newspapers during the coronavirus crisis.

“We urge you [the president] work with us in ensuring that local media can continue to inform communities, even as these outlets face unprecedented economic distress,” according to the House letter.

John Curtis: “the letter is bipartisan and bicameral”

Curtis joined Lee Lonsberry on “Live Mic” to talk about the letter to the president and the state of the news media during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Talk to me for a moment about that letter and what prompted you to send it to President Trump,” Lee asked.

“The letter is bipartisan and bicameral,” Curtis said. “There is a companion letter in the Senate.

“Most of us feel more comfortable with our local news source than our national new source. We trust it more,” Curtis said.

“The letter is simply to acknowledge that — like everyone else in our economy — media outlets have a serious challenge. And that is the revenue of their customers, who would normally advertise on the air, is cut dramatically and therefore they’re cutting their expenditures. And we can’t leave out media in our rush to be helpful.

“Those of us who signed the letter are simply saying, we’re not asking for additional funds … we want to make sure our local media outlets are getting their portion of this [stimulus] so you [media] can keep us informed, let us know what’s going on and help us navigate this very difficult situation,” Curtis said.

“Many of the people in Utah don’t care what a congressman does in Des Moines,” he said. “But they sure care what one does in Utah. So the local outlets are just critical in people’s lives.”

Rural broadcasters of particular concern

The second letter to Mr. Trump was sent by a bipartisan group of senators focusing on the needs of rural broadcasters.

“In many rural areas, broadcast stations are the predominant or only form of local information,” the letter read.

“It is important that local media are able to continue to provide their services during the COVID-19 pandemic so that Americans are able to stay up to date with the latest news and information,” the Senate letter continued.

Former Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, who is president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, also joined Lee to discuss how rural broadcasters have been affected by the ongoing pandemic.

“What can you tell us about the letter that senators sent on behalf of rural broadcasters to the Office of Management and Budget?” Lee asked.

“That letter really does highlight just how important it is in rural areas, especially where people are highly dependent upon their local radio stations … It is an essential electric thread in tying together these rural communities.

“We’re trying to get the government to recognize how vital a link this is to our nation, our state, our communities. And we’re asking them to advertise and help fill in the gap and do whatever else they can to include media generally but radio specifically in these relief efforts,” Smith said.


Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Politics + Government

Martin Gold, a visiting scholar with the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, says the Filibuster is critical...
Mark Jones

Filibuster is critical if country is to maintain compromise, expert says

A visiting scholar to the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation told Inside Sources Friday how important the filibuster is to compromise.
1 day ago
Britt Johnson

Utah County men facing charges for defrauding the United States

The claims state that Zachary Bassett and Mason Warr used a fraudulent tax scheme to receive COVID-19-related relief funds.
1 day ago
Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, sponsor of HB297 Victim Services Amendments, poses for a portrait at...
Katie McKellar, Deseret News

A Utah lawmaker and her sister at odds: Should rape victims need to contact police before getting an abortion?

Rep. Kera Birkeland says her bill focuses on rape victim services and holding rapists accountable. But her sister, a rape survivor, says it strips away choices.
1 day ago
Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming mon...
Waverly Golden

As two federal pandemic emergency-assistance programs near an end, Cox has solutions

Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming months due to more job opportunities.
1 day ago
A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The U.S. is tracki...
Oren Liebermann, Haley Britzky and Michael Conte, CNN

Pentagon tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US

(CNN) — The US is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, defense officials said on Thursday, a discovery that risks adding further strain to tense US-China relations. Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said the US government has been tracking the balloon for several days as it made its way over […]
1 day ago
Utah 2022 legislative session...
Mark Jones

Bill would require buildings to post signs for events meant for adults

One Utah lawmaker is proposing a bill that would require signs be posted on public buildings that will be hosting events meant for adults.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Live Mic: Congress asks Pres. Trump to help local news media