Allbritton Gives Employees Money Towards Car Purchases

Initiative meant to help boost auto industry, key to local station revenues
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Calling All Car Buyers

Allbritton and the co-owned Politico newspaper/Web site have teamed on an employee rewards program that could also help one of local TV's biggest advertisers: auto dealers.

In an e-mail, Allbritton said that employees at its seven TV stations as well as the newspaper, will each be given $2,000 towards the purchase of a car "from a local auto dealer."

Given the economy, some may want to go the used car route. Allbritton will help there, too, with $1,000, again so long as it is purchased from a local auto dealer.

The offer is good for the next 60 days.

The following e-mail went out Wednesday from Allbritton President Fred Ryan:

All Washington Employees:

I'm pleased to let you know of our own Allbritton contribution to the economic turn-around. As we look at this economic downturn we all are facing, it is clear that the auto industry was one of the very first parts of the economy to feel it. We have long had close relationships with our local advertisers and we know they have been hit especially hard during this downturn. We also believe that the recovery of our country's overall economy will depend on a healthy auto industry. Today, we want to do our part to help the ailing auto industry and to assist our own employees as well. We are announcing the "WJLA Car Partners" program. Any employee of our company (including WJLA, NewsChannel 8, Politico and Irides) will be given $2,000 towards the purchase or lease of a new car from a local auto dealer.We hope this financial support will help our employees to purchase the car they need and that it will help boost our local auto dealers that are in need of business.If it's a used car you are looking for, we will give any employee $1,000 towards the purchase or lease of a used car from a local auto dealer.This support will be available for the next 60 days.We think that if other employees in this area, and across the country, were to follow our example, the American auto industry might just get the stimulus it needs to get back on its feet and help feed an overall economic recovery.

I am please to say that every one of the other Allbritton television stations will be offering similar programs to their employees.

"Our friends in the auto industry were among the first to feel the downturn of the economy," said Ryan in announcing the program. "The auto industry is hurting right now and we want to do our part to help promote a recovery," he said. "We have had a long relationship with our local auto dealers and we believe the recovery of our country's economy depends on a healthy auto industry."

Auto dealerships in good years can represent as much as a third of a TV station's total ad revenue, and have been, far and away, the biggest single ad category for stations, says Television Bureau of Advertising VP, communications, Gary Belis. "It's a recognition of the importance of the category to TV stations," he says of the Allbritton offer, "and is certainly showing some imagination."

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