A survey completed in August of 2007 of 75 randomly sampled radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) Directors in the top-75 markets, finds only ten percent of stations are exclusively using prerecorded PSAs, with thirty-seven percent using a combination of both scripted and prerecorded PSAs. Fifty-three percent of stations prefer only the scripted version of public service announcements, allowing them to have their local on-air talent voice the PSAs. Sixteen percent of stations are using 60-second PSAs. Twenty-four percent of stations prefer the shortest format, 15-second PSAs, and sixty percent will use PSAs ranging from 15 to 30-seconds in length.
Public service announcements are produced audio notices or written scripts, generally running 15 to 60-seconds in length, generated for on-air use by radio stations and/or networks to promote a specific social message aimed at increasing public awareness or having listeners take action about a particular issue. Through PSAs, organizations can build or improve their image and stations can provide important information regarding compelling social issues to their audience.
All stations surveyed have a public service announcement rotation, with the average station filling twenty-four PSA slots in a typical week. With this many slots to fill, organizations that provide timely, local and compelling information in the format the station prefers, will likely find their PSAs in rotation. That is if they call the station first.
Pitching PSAs may seem like a foreign concept to some, but it’s a practice that 100% of our survey participants favor. Pre-pitching allows the PSA Director to know what public service announcements are available and plan his or her rotation accordingly. In addition, it allows the organization to have a gauge on the number and types of stations that plan to use its PSAs.
While many organizations are spending big budgets on glossy packaging, expensive productions and large mailers to stations, very few of them contact stations first. The stations we surveyed prefer to know what’s coming their way and have a say as to what kind of PSAs they receive. This two-way communication allows for more appropriate targeting of PSAs and allows organizations to maximize their budget.