Tip of the week 2017 04 04: More on PSAs

Last week we thought about how ‘public service’ can be about community involvement. That’s true, and getting involved in the community is a great way to make connections with those who listen—and those who will listen in future because of your actions.

What about bringing your ‘public service’ into the studio?  Perhaps you do it already, and you have a great community network of folks who send you info about all their events.  That’s fantastic…please respond to this post and tell us about it!  But if your answer is, “Uh…not so much,” then read on.  Here are a few pointers for gathering (and using) public service announcements (PSAs) on air.

  • Have a person at the station who is assigned to coordinate all PSAs for the station. That person should seek out community groups, Rotary clubs, school officials, sports teams and other local organisations that may want to promote their events to a wider audience.  Get a contact number or subscribe to their Facebook page so you can learn what’s coming up at their club or organisation
  • Have a single phone number for groups to call if they want you to do a PSA. An email address works well, too…and an online form is even better, because you can ensure all the vital information fields are provided.  You’ll need to know:
    • What the event is
    • When it will be held (both date and starting time)
    • Whether there is an entrance fee
    • Who the organisers are, and how a listener can contact them for more info.
  • Keep track of which groups are using the service, and get in touch regularly with the ones who are not. This helps to build the relationship and foster trust.  Pretty soon, you won’t have to do any calling: word will get out and people will send you all of their event notices so they can get free promotion!
  • Be careful: don’t ever use your personal phone number to promote an event, especially if you’re a presenter at the station. If a listener recognises who you are, stalking may result…as sadly happened to a friend of mine.
  • Keep a clear record of any events you promote, along with the date of the event, so that announcements can be made on-time…and not made after the event has passed!
  • Turn the information into a friendly, informative script that can be read on air—with large type and 1.5 spacing for easy reading. Keep it in a clear-folder together with other current PSAs, and keep the folder in the studio next to the on-air desk.  Encourage presenters to use it regularly, especially during the morning show, drive show, or at programmed times when PSAs are scheduled
  • You may want to include a canned outro, with a version of the station theme music or a sting, and a recorded announcement about how to get in touch.

PSAs are a fabulous way to build an audience of loyal people who listen because they need to know the latest info from the local school or sports club…or they have some time and are wondering where the next garage sale is going to be held…or they’d love to learn how to dance (their partner insists) but can’t remember what day the class is held.  Build friendships with PSAs…and keep them with all the other good stuff your station serves up! 🙂

Happy broadcasting,

Janice Reid


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Added: Monday, April 10th, 2017
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