The chair and ranking members of the Senate Commerce Commitee will hold a hearing in early June on "the future of local auto dealers," one of local TV's most important advertisers.
Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va) and member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) are demanding answers from GM and Chrysler after they announced the closing of thousands of almost 2,000 dealerships.
They point out that the dealerships "have been an integral part of their cities or towns and helped sustain their local economies."
"Small businesses need Congress to stand up for them, especially in these trying economic times," said Rockefeller, whose committee's full name is Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation.
The issue in this case is transportation, but broadcasters will be very interested in any help the government can give dealerships.
Allbritton has already tried to do its part, driving some $2 million in car sales with an incentive program in which it offered employees of its stations, cable news channel, and Politico Capitol Hill newspaper/Web site $2,000 toward the purchase of a new car and $1,000 for a used one, so long as they spent it at a local dealership.