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Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

Making the most of the Audiobook Public Service Announcement
provided by the Audio Publishers Association

Did you know that your local radio stations—both public and commercial—are required to demonstrate that they serve the public interest each time they renew their license? The easiest way for a broadcaster to show this is through public service announcements, usually provided by local non-profit organizations. Radio listeners are inherently audio-friendly. Make the most of the connection by promoting your audiobook collection with these handy, professionally produced spots featuring the voices of popular authors.

Doing the research

  • Locate all the radio stations in your area and their formats. The comprehensive resource for this—and it might even be in your library—is the Broadcasting and Cablecasting Yearbook. State broadcasting associations can also help you target the most appropriate stations.
  • Match the formats with the authors.
  • Look at programming. Is there a parent-oriented program? Is the station totally talk? Do they have a book review? Note the hosts’ names so that you can do targeted distribution.

Creating the framework

  • Does your library have a tagline? If not, develop one that you can use in all your communications, in electronic, print and broadcast formats.
  • Write an intro and outro unique for your library. You can even expand that to the time of year and customize it for the format of the station.
  • Keep in mind that radio stations prefer PSAs that are short and snappy. Create your own versions that run 15 seconds and 30 seconds. Include an outro for the 15-second version; include both an intro and an outro for the 30-second version.

Distributing the PSA effectively

  • Define your objectives for the PSA (e.g., increasing circulation with parents) and match the objectives to the format and the reader.
    Be realistic. Create a limited list of stations that are the most important for you to reach.
  • Include the station. Contact them ahead of time and let them know you’re preparing to send them something special. How many PSAs include the likes of Quincy Jones and Fannie Flagg? Many radio stations have a community relations coordinator.
  • Make sure your information is clearly presented. If you are creating a custom PSA that speaks to the radio station’s format, indicate that special applicability in your header.

Following up

  • Most important step of the process is contacting the station and ensuring they have received the PSA.
  • Ask for times when each station expects the PSA to run.
  • Invite the station manager to an event at your library so they can see your impact on the community.
  • Include your target stations on your mailing list.
  • Measure your circulation—evaluate the impact of the audio announcements.

A Guide to the Authors and their messages:

Literacy-oriented: Judy Blume, Mary Pope Osborne
Family-oriented: Scott Turow, Levar Burton, Cornelia Funke
Summer reading: Fannie Flagg, Jill Conner Browne
Being informed: Bill O’Reilly, Robert Allen
Listening to favorite authors: Quincy Jones, Christine Baranski, Carl Hiaasen, Jeffrey Eugenides
Multi-tasking: Patricia Heaton, Rosy Daly, Linda Greenlaw
Traveling, commuting: Jackie Collins, Jean Auel, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Peter Benchley, E. Lynn Harris, Tim Matheson, John J. Nance, Ridley Pearson, Jeanne Ray
June is Audiobook Month: Ken Davis, Linda Greenlaw, Ridley Pearson, Jeanne Ray, Alfre Woodard

“Brought to you by your local library and the Audio Publishers Association”—tagline on recorded PSA

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