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 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.
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.
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