Public Service Announcements: How to Get Anti-Nuke PSAs On the Air

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At the behest of Star Priscilla of Coalition Against Nukes, I recently co-wrote some Public Service Announcements for Physicians for Social Responsibility.  Star got them approved, I recorded… and now what?

Here’s what: to get them into the hands of local radio stations, you need to do a number of things, none of them difficult:

  1. Call the station.  You’ll find comprehensive listings for your area, including phone numbers, online with a Google search.
  2. Ask for the PSA (Public Service Announcement) submission guidelines.  They may be available on the station’s website, deliverable by email, or (believe it or not) hard copy through snail mail.
  3. Ask the name of the person, their title and department that the information needs to be sent to.  Ask for correct spellings.  Get direct email if possible.
  4. Once you have the guidelines, follow them.  Don’t think that because we’re anti-nuke, we’re special.  In their eyes we’re just another non-profit group asking for free airtime.
  5. Send it out under the letterhead of the sponsoring non-profit – in this case, Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Some of the variations to consider:

  • Length.  You will rarely get anyone who wants a :60 PSA – way too long in today’s ADHD world.  Have prepared a selection of :30, :20 and :15 second versions of what you want read.
  • Submit written copy for these PSAs.  Most likely, a station will want to use their announcers to record the copy, or they’ll keep it in a book of readily available PSAs that can be read live.
  • If you have a recording, submit that as well.  Understand that it needs to be professional quality and timed out correctly.  There is a world of difference between :30 and :31.  One has a shot at getting on the air.  The other is digital garbage.

Make certain you include a contact name, phone number and address on any copy that you submit.  Similarly, clearly label any digital files or CDs with the name of the organization, which PSAs are on the recording, and their length.

Keep a record of the people you speak to, their titles, phone numbers and email.  In the future, go back to those people with any additional copy.  Cultivate them.  And if you happen to have a friend who works at the station, see if they can influence the powers that be to use your PSA.

Go get ’em!

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