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Remember radio? The listening device in all our cars and trucks? With all the focus on Internet-related topics, let's talk about one of the oldest communications channels of the 20th and 21st centuries. The recently released National Media Survey of Radio Community Service Directors indicates that radio media directors believe that public service advertising is very or extremely useful. Yay!

Based on the survey, "Radio thinks, acts and 'surveys' local. Like their TV counterparts, radio media directors said they most wanted their stations to support their local community organizations and the issues they represented. They put a priority on helping out locally, first and foremost, regardless of the issue."

Here are just a few of the survey's major findings:

  • Radio media directors ranked community-based organizations (and the issues they support) as the issues most important to them. This focus on all things local was reported by their television counterparts as well in a prior survey.

  • Health issues were however very prominent among their specific concerns. Health issues ranked as the most important specific issue for their stations to support among radio television directors. Among the issues they wanted our government to take on with public service advertising, again, health concerns topped the list.

  • When asked to discuss specific health issues important to their community and listeners, most radio media directors named actual diseases.

  • The most frequently named attribute that makes public service advertising effective was the impact and action-ability of the campaign. The relevance and urgency of the topic to their community was the second most cited factor in making PSA campaigns the “best.”

  • In continued difficult economic times, an amazing 97% of respondents said that PSA time provided by their station would increase or stay the same.

  • Seniors topped the list of audiences for which radio media directors do not receive enough PSAs.

So, here are my questions for you.  What are your thoughts on the use of radio (or TV) airtime for public service announcements? Does broadcast have a responsibility to the nonprofit sector to provide free PSAs? Even though PSA origins came out of World War II, are they still relevant and needed today?

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Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel