Knowing the media decision-makers can be the key to getting a PSAplayed

WASHINGTON: The more you know about media 'gatekeepers,' the more

successful your next PSA will be. This point was one of many made last

week during the Advertising Council's inaugural, two-day seminar on

effective public-service communications. It was attended by about 200


A presentation given by Mark Lefkowitz, chairman and CEO of Lieberman

Research, stressed the importance of knowing as much as possible about

media decision-makers in the competitive market.

Lefkowitz presented results of a new survey of public-service directors

that found that television stations receive about 400 PSAs a year, while

radio stations receive double that amount. He noted that television

stations use material from four sources: the Ad Council (31%);

station-produced (25%); national non-profits (23%); and local

non-profits (21%). In radio, station-produced material makes up 36% of

the total public service announcements aired.

The survey found that successful PSAs generally fall into six

categories: discussing the needs of children; drug and alcohol abuse;

parenting; crime and violence; education reform; and the environment. In

addition, the more localized the spot, the better.

And how long does a public service campaign stay on the air? One public

service director said, 'If I get tired of it, so will listeners.'

Generally, for radio, that means less than three months. Television PSAs

tend to have a longer life.

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