By: Sam Klemet, IBA Director of Member Services
Hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for local food banks. Broadcasting church services for those who need to be uplifted. News stories of how people are coming up with creative ways to make life-saving masks.
These are the types of efforts and stories local TV and radio stations are working on every, single day to ensure their communities are safe and feel supported.
In many ways, broadcasters are on the front lines of COVID-19 which means they’re often the ones being attacked first. But what those who chastise them don’t understand is that the front line of broadcasting is merely that – it’s the front of an army that won’t stop fighting for the truth and the people they serve – their local communities.
No one gets into broadcasting because they think it will be easy or lucrative. At their core, broadcasters are there to be the voice of people who are often unheard. When their communities are hurting, broadcasters are the outlet to put pain into words. When communities need answers, broadcasters provide information to keep calm and perspective. And when, as a collective, we need to feel something – anything – broadcasters deliver entertainment that brings us together to laugh, cry, and love – if only for a moment.
We don’t know what our country and world will look like on the other side of COVID-19. It’d be irresponsible to predict. We are living in uncertain times. But what we do know is that whatever the next chapter looks like, broadcasters will continue to be the ones recording history, sharing the stories, and helping our communities heal because it’s the responsibility we accepted when we signed on-air.
That’s who we are.
We are the ones who identify problems, inaccuracies, and concerns and provide a platform for those with ideas to come together to share their thoughts and resources to find solutions.
We certainly aren’t in hospitals or ambulances doing the hands-on work of our first responders or putting our lives at risk every day like grocery store clerks and postal workers – that is a different kind of special courage.
But, make no mistake, broadcasters are essential.
The information we share with our audiences every hour of every day keeps people out of those hospitals, educates listeners and viewers on how to shop and vote safely in these unique times, and offers an outlet for people to connect and find some semblance of peace.
We are saving lives in our own way. That’s something to be proud of.
So, as we scratch and claw to keep our news and production control rooms staffed and retain advertisers to finance our operations, just know that the fight of broadcasters is not in vain.
It’s also not over.
But every day you step out into this world as a broadcaster is a day you are fighting to bring us all back together.
I am honored to be a broadcaster. I hope you feel that same passion.
Because your fire is what will ignite us as an industry, community, and country.
Now more than ever, we should stand up united, together and be proud to say “We Are Broadcasters.”