Allbritton Employees Inject $1.4 Million Into Local Economy with Auto Purchases

60 employees have taken money in program that helps dealerships

Allbritton has injected $1.4 million of economic fuel into local auto dealerships, one of the staples of local TV ad sales.

Launched at WJLA-TV Washington, the program was meant to help local dealers by giving each Allbritton employee $2,000 so long as they spent it on a car at one of those dealerships.

WJLA says that at that station alone, 28 employees have taken advantage of the program. For those looking to economize, $1,000 was available for a used car, so long as it was also purchased at a dealership.

Allbritton instituted the program at all seven of its TV stations, as well as co-owned News Channel 8, its D.C. cable news channel, and Politico Capitol Hill newspaper.

The offer was extended March 11 and continues through May 10. "We have long had close relationships with our local advertisers and we know they have been hit especially hard during this downturn," said Allbritton President Fred Ryan at the time of the program's launch. "We also believe that the recovery of our country's overall economy will depend on a healthy auto industry."

"We hope other businesses across the country will implement stimulus programs to help their employees and the auto industry at this challenging time," Ryan said Tuesday in announcing its progress to date.

An Allbritton spokeswoman said that the $1.4 million translates to 60 employees taking it up on the offer, and $103,000 in $2,000 and $1,000 checks made out to the dealerships, with the employees kicking in the balance for their new or used cars. Allbritton's Washington operation alone accounts for 28 employees and $660,000 in business for D.C. area dealers.