Public Service Announcements
Updated 14 August 2015

As part of a licensing commitment to serve the public interest, broadcast stations often provide public service announcements (PSAs) at no charge.  These announcements are made on behalf of public agencies or private not-for-profit agencies.  Organizations engaged in for-profit activities have to purchase air time for their announcements.

PSAs are planned communications.  They are usually targeted toward specific audiences with the goal of informing, motivating and/or changing the habits of those audiences.  Before you embark upon production of a PSA, these key questions must be answered:

If you are recommending PSAs as part of a communications package for JOUR 640, you are expected to produce them.  If you use any licensed music in production of the spot(s), you are to inform your client organization that it is required to fill out a music licensing form (available in the radio-TV lab) and pay a licensing fee prior to broadcast.  The licensing fee should be included within your plan's budget.

As a rule, broadcasters will not provide free air time to organizations that have paid for advertising in other media.  For example, if your plan calls for a series of newspaper advertisements, you should not expect broadcasters to donate free air time.

As a student enrolled in this course, you have access to the Weir Radio-Television Production Center in the Dole Center.  You are required to follow all of its rules and regulations.  Failure to do so may result in a reduction in grade.  PSAs are expected to follow the writing style and technical criteria set forth in JOUR 304 and JOUR 560.  Color bars, countdown and tone are to be used as a lead-in to each spot.

PSA packages typically include several versions of the same announcement in 60 second, 30 second and 10 second lengths.  These are standard broadcast lengths.  There is no such thing as a 23 second or 32 second PSA.  A cover letter to station management and the scripts of each announcement are also provided.

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