Public Service Announcements (“PSAs”)
Many local radio stations offer nonprofit organizations the opportunity to have short messages broadcast at no charge. These are referred to as public service announcements ("PSAs"). PSAs may contain information about the organization or its mission, or provide details about upcoming events. They can be an effective, low-cost outlet for generating widespread awareness of your Brain Awareness Week activities, and for stimulating requests for related information.
When submitting a PSA to your local radio station, keep the following guidelines in mind:
Brain Awareness Week Proclamations
- Most stations will only accept PSAs from nonprofits.
- Choose stations whose formats and programming best match your target audience.
- Contact the Public Affairs or Public Relations Manager for the station to discuss your PSA. Check with the station in advance for exact name and title.
- Quality writing and a creative approach increase the odds that your message will be selected from the many submitted.
- Most stations will use or adapt a script that you prepare. Some stations will accept pre-recorded messages, but it's best to check with the station for their preference.
- The maximum length of a public service announcement is typically 30 seconds. Stations that offer a daily "Community Calendar of Events" feature may limit messages to 15 seconds.
- Most stations require that you submit the announcement 2-4 weeks prior to the time frame during which you would like it to air. Some stations ask that you fax or e-mail the information.
- Because the air time is provided free of charge, you will not have any guarantee that your message will be aired, or any control over what time of day or how often it will air.
- Typically, you will not be permitted to solicit transactions, such as pledges, memberships or the sale of any product or service. You may, however, offer a phone number, address or website so that listeners can get in touch with you.
- Consider asking a well-known community leader to record your announcement. The name recognition will help capture the listeners’ attention.
Local (for example city, county, or U.S. state) proclamations—those that “proclaim” a specific day or week as “National Arts Week” or “Seat Belt Safety Day,” for example—are a time-honored vehicle for securing government recognition of your program. Getting a proclamation is much easier than it might seem. Here are a few easy steps to follow:
- Draft your language in advance. Some sample proclamations are included in this section, as well as a draft letter of request that can be tailored to your specific needs.
- Have a proposal in mind for how and when the proclamation would be officially presented. Invite an official to present the proclamation at a public event that offers the potential for press coverage. Aim high: ask for the highest ranking official in the body to whom you are making your request.
- Know to whom the request should be officially made (name and title of mayor, city council member, governor, assembly person, as examples) and to whom the request should be sent for processing. Just a handful of telephone calls will identify the correct office which often has standard procedures for issuance of official proclamations.
- Don’t forget to clear your plan through the appropriate channels within your organization. Be a strategist; the higher the rank of the person sending the request, the better.
- Unless the governing body to which you are making the request has a policy against or limiting the number of proclamations, they are NOT hard to get. Getting an official to attend your event can be trickier, so don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work the first year. A written proclamation has a shelf-life. It’s a “proof of principle” that your program has merit, great for promoting your program within your organization, and useful should you seek outside funding for future programming.
- Send a thank-you e-mail or letter after your event.
Sample Letter to Request BAW Proclamation
Sample proclamations (in PDF format):
City of Houston Brain Awareness Month Proclamation
City of Atlanta Brain Awareness Month Proclamation
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