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TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What are the guidelines and timelines for public service announcements?

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Public service announcements (PSAs) are produced audio reports or written scripts, generally running :15, :30 and :45 in length. When planning a PSA, keep in mind that the primary focus is to promote a specific social message aimed at increasing public awareness or having listeners take action about a particular issue. PSAs that do well on radio have an issue that impacts the local community, an organization that has expertise in that area and a call to action or a solution for a particular local problem. If a corporation is sponsoring a PSA, keeping corporate mentions out of the PSA will increase usage. A PSA should be straightforward, with the message direct and to the point.

Technology has created new opportunities for PSAs. No longer do organizations need large budgets or months of planning to send out PSAs. Using audio files like MP3s, organizations can quickly and cost-effectively get their issues out to radio stations, rather than mailing out large numbers of PSAs to stations and waiting for months to get results. Pitching a certain percentage of key radio targets also increases usage. Typically, a PSA can be distributed within one-to-two weeks, depending on a client’s approval time.

Answer Provided by Lynn Harris Medcalf,
Executive Vice President, News Generation, Inc.

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