Airing public service announcements
   In the United States, radio and television stations allot a certain amount of airtime to run public service announcements or PSAs as a community service. Television stations are required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)to air PSAs. Radio stations are not. PSAs are primarily used by nonprofit organizations to announce events or messages in the public interest.
   Due to increasing competition and limited space, it can be difficult to place a public service announcement. It is important to get the information to the right person at each station and to explain why your cause is important to the community. In some cases, stations may partner with an organization and produce a spot at no charge.

Radio PSAs
   Radio PSAs are usually read from scripts provided by a non-profit organization. Local radio stations appreciate having public service messages available for broadcast. They seem to especially like announcer-ready copy that on-air talent can read. Sometimes, local professionals or celebrities will tape the announcements in advance at the radio station. In either case, radio PSAs should be brief and to the point. Most are intended to fill no more than 30 seconds.

Television PSAs
   A television PSA is anywhere from 10 to 15, or even 30, seconds long and is broadcast at no cost to the organization involved. According to a 1997 survey of public affairs directors, 47% of television PSAs were affiliated with non-profit organizations. In addition, public affairs directors were more likely to consider children's issues than any other cause.


Distributing TV or radio PSAs

Red Bullet Call each station and find out who is responsible for reviewing public service announcements (usually the public affairs or promotions director).
Red Bullet Find out the preferred format for PSAs. Most TV stations do not accept standard VHS tapes for broadcast; they need a broadcast-quality version. Video production studios can assist you with obtaining the correct format.
Red Bullet Call each station, introduce yourself and describe the PSA briefly. Request a meeting or ask if you may send the PSA for their review. Make sure to inquire about the station's priority issues and include this as part of your pitch packet.
Red Bullet Although a meeting is ideal, it is often difficult to obtain one. If you are able to get a meeting, bring plenty of background information about your issue/organization.
Red Bullet If you are unable to schedule a meeting, send a letter that describes your issue or organization.
Red Bullet Distribute PSAs as early as possible prior to the time you would like them to air.
Red Bullet Call a week later to follow up regarding the station's interest. If they agree to run the PSA, ask if they would be able to provide a log of the dates that it is aired.
Red Bullet Always include a kill date - the date in which the PSA should be pulled from rotation.

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