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(PSA) Rules and Instructions

This document is designed to assist you, your club, your agency or other organization in the preparation and distribution of Public Service Announcements (PSAs). While PSAs are often aired free by broadcast stations, many end up in the wastebasket before they are broadcast because they are hard to read, have basic information missing, or are sent without sufficient lead time. We’ll give you a few pointers, followed by a simple form which can be filled out and submitted to us.

1) Include All Necessary Information: While this may seem like a simple thing, you would be surprised at the number of PSAs we receive which do not have a date for the event. They’ll say “tonight,” for example, but even if the PSA arrives via fax, we are uncertain of which night “tonight” is. Include who is invited to attend, the date and hours of the event, the place where it will be held, the type of event, why it is taking place, and a contact number for both the public and the media. Keep it short. Long, full-page PSAs are rarely read due to time constraints.

2) Identify Yourself or Organization: You should always identify yourself or organization clearly somewhere in your PSA. In many cases, this is evident from the information — however, if is not, you should include it somewhere on the page.

3) Phonetic Pronunciations: Many PSAs are skipped-over by broadcasters because names or places mentioned in them cannot be easily pronounced. Rather than sound illiterate or out-of-touch, announcers will often toss a PSA that does not include a phonetic pronunciation for easily confused proper names. Smith is Smith, but Smithe could be SMITH, SMYTH of SMITHEE. Without a guide, you’ll either have a mispronounced name in your PSA when it’s read on-the-air, or it won’t get on-the-air at all. The proper way to show pronunciation is — Smithe (pron: SMYTH).

4) Release Date: Timing is everything. If you send us a PSA far in advance of an event, it may get lost. If you send it two days beforehand, chances are it will be too late to include it. A good rule of thumb is to send your PSA 10-14 days in advance. And, do not include more than one event in each PSA! 

5) Cost of Broadcast: As a general rule, we are happy to broadcast, at no charge, meeting and event notices for civic and non-profit groups. However, if you purchase advertising in other media, we cannot air your announcements free of charge. (There is a misconception that because the FCC governs the technical aspects of radio, that we are somehow obligated to run free advertising for public service entities. The truth is, if you pay to put an ad in the paper or elsewhere, don’t ask us then to run it free. We’re a business, too.)

6) Time of Broadcast: All PSAs are broadcast subject to time availability. We cannot guarantee a PSA will be broadcast a specific number of times nor at any specific time.

7) Paid PSAs: If you wish to purchase regular commercial airtime, we offer a discount for qualified non-profit organizations. Please call our Business Office at 707-442-5744 if you are interested in paid advertising.

To submit a PSA, use our [online form].

A note to political committees and candidates: To ensure fairness to all candidates and avoid the appearance of favoritism, we do not provide free announcements of any sort for political campaigns. Please contact us for paid political advertising.