PSAs go primetime during downturn

Time slots for public service announcements gain in quality and quantity.

Time slots for public service announcements gain in quality and quantity

Think the only time you’ll see a “stop smoking” or “save the earth” commercial is when you’re watching TV at 3 a.m.? Thanks to lower broadcast ad inventory (ditto for print), there appear to be more opportunities to get your public service announcement in front of people who don’t necessarily have insomnia.

New York’s West Glen Communications, a producer and distributor of public service campaigns, recently did its own study of the placements its TV and radio PSAs received during 2008. Only about one-third of the announcements aired between 1 and 5 a.m., when people think most PSAs are broadcast. Another third of the PSAs aired between 9 and 10 p.m., certainly a respectable time for nonprofits to be delivering their messages, says West Glen senior VP Annette Minkalis.

“This takes some air out of the myth that PSAs only air in the wee hours,” Minkalis notes, adding that about half of the TV and radio airings took place in the top 50 markets.

Other broadcast industry professionals see anecdotal evidence that PSAs are getting more play and more prominence.

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