Extra! Extra! Philadelphia newsstands could get digital billboards

Philadelphia newsstands soon could sprout digital billboards. 

The bill approved by City Council’s Committee of Streets and Services would allow seven foot by eight foot electronic billboards on newsstands, generating revenue for both the city and the newsstand operator.

John Rocco of the Newsstand Association says his members are struggling.

“Over the past several years the products that we sell such as the lottery, confectionary items and cigarette sales are down,” said Rocco. “Newspaper sales are steadily declining as readers are finding alternative ways of finding news, particularly through the Internet.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Councilman William Greenlee says he’s trying to help small business owners.

“These are people who came, many from another country left some tough circumstances over there and are willing to work five six seven days in a hut, and I dare anybody else in here to say they work in those kind of conditions,” said Greenlee.

Opponents of the bill say the bright signs might be distracting to drivers. Councilman Greenlee contends they might brighten dark streets, making them more friendly to pedestrians.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal