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TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Saturday, March 22, 2003

How Technology Can Help Advance PSA Messages

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What if you or one of your clients represent a nonprofit organization that has a great issue and you want to tap into radio’s potential to advance your important call to action? What’s the best way to get your public service announcement (PSA) to stations and track who is using it? Would you like more than one third of the stations you send PSAs to use it?

In the past to get a PSA on the air, you had to provide a cassette or CD of the audio to stations, and this was typically done by mailing out unsolicited PSAs to at least 500 stations across the country or in your specific target areas. Why 500? Because often the duplication costs for PSAs were so high that it didn’t make financial sense to do fewer. What this often meant was that organizations with more limited budgets or smaller distribution lists didn’t get their PSAs out to stations. And even when they did, usage could be a dismal 10% or less, because of inappropriate targeting or sending stations PSAs in a format they didn’t use.

Technology to the rescue! Today, stations often use audio in many different formats and the quality of audio on the web rivals that of compact discs and other forms of digital audio. So now organizations can put a story up on a content site, like www.broadcastnewsresource.com, alert stations via broadcast fax or email, and track who pulls down the audio from the site, along with follow up to a random sample of stations. If some radio outlets still need a hard copy, don’t fret. The cost of duplicating the audio for a handful of stations needing CDs or cassettes can be done in house and does not take nearly the resources needed for large-scale duplication.

Thanks to advent of audio on the web and feedback from stations using PSAs, we have changed the way we send out PSAs, making it easier for stations to access and more cost effective to our clients to send out. Today, it no longer takes a large budget or distribution list to get a message out to stations, so just about anyone can use this new technology to their organization’s advantage.

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