“America’s local broadcast radio and TV stations play a unique role in every community across the country. They keep citizens informed with local news, viewers entertained with the most-watched programming and families safe with lifeline emergency information,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “But broadcasting plays a pivotal economic role as well, creating hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs while helping hometown small businesses reach local consumers through advertising.”
The study found that direct employment from local commercial broadcasting, which includes jobs at local television and radio stations as well as in advertising and programming, is estimated at more than 318,000 jobs, generating more than $53 billion annually in economic impact. Broadcast television accounts for over 188,000 of these jobs, as well as more than $31 billion in GDP, while broadcast radio provides over 130,000 jobs that result in more than $21 billion in GDP.
Of the 318,000 jobs provided through direct employment, about one-third are tied to industries supporting local broadcasting.
“Other industries are impacted by local television and radio broadcasting because they provide goods and services used in creating local television and radio broadcasting and advertising,” said the study. “Industries as varied as telecommunications, public utilities, manufacturing, transportation and retail trade provide inputs into the production of local television and radio broadcasting.”
The study also examined the ripple effect employment in local broadcast television and radio has on local economies through the consumption of goods and services by industry employees. Local broadcasting has a ripple effect on other industries of over $132 billion in GDP and more than 794,000 jobs, the report concluded.
“The income from local television and radio broadcast jobs flows through the economy creating additional jobs and income in various economic sectors,” said the study. “A job in local television and radio broadcast stations multiplies itself by helping create jobs in construction, farming, mining, state and local government and all other economic sectors. The workers in the industries supplying goods and services to local television and radio broadcast workers in turn consume goods and services.”
Local broadcasting’s largest impact on the American economy stems from its role as a forum for advertising of goods and services that stimulates economic activity, Woods & Poole found. The study estimated local broadcast TV and radio advertising generated over $988 billion in GDP and supports 1.36 million jobs.
“Local television and radio advertising serves an important role for both consumers and businesses in providing economic information on product prices and features,” said the study. “Reaching all United States households, local broadcast television and radio stations provide consumers with highly valued marketplace information and businesses with immediate economic and competitive intelligence. In this way, broadcast television and radio stations have their most significant impact on economic growth.”
Woods & Poole analyzed only local commercial broadcast radio and television stations including locally owned and operated commercial stations, network affiliate stations and independent stations. Noncommercial radio and TV stations and the operations of over-the-air broadcast networks were not part of the analysis, except for networks’ owned-and-operated local television stations. The study was commissioned by the National Association of Broadcasters.
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