Many TV stations show educational Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for free to inform the public about key social issues such as cancer, child abuse and, in our case, raise awareness about human rights.
In many countries TV stations are required to give a certain amount of free time to run public benefit PSAs. The TV station will play a certain number of PSAs each month for the amount of time they are required to give.
Formats for showing PSAs
TV stations differ in the type of broadcast equipment they use. Some larger TV stations can only play he highest broadcast-quality tapes. As you are contacting stations, you will find that not every station will want the same format. Here is a list of the most common formats you will be asked about, with definitions:
DVD: DVD stands for 'digital video disk' or sometimes 'digital versatile disk'. Its main uses are video and data storage. Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) provides DVDs with sound that has been specially mixed for TV airings, referred to as TV mix or broadcast mix, which is the format that must be used to ensure the sound quality of the broadcast.
Betacam: The title 'Betacam' includes a group of professional broadcast-quality videotape formats. There are a variety of Betacam tapes, which includes one of the most common ones, Betacam SP (Superior Performance).
DV: This stands for 'digital video'; the smaller version of this is the MiniDV cassette, which is very commonly used today in video cameras. Another common kind of DV is the DVCam, which is a more professional grade.
Contact us on this site when you need a broadcast-quality format to request the format you need.
Getting PSAs shown on TV
Here are the basic steps to follow to get PSAs shown on TV:
1. Use the Internet or a media directory to find names, addresses and phone numbers of local TV stations in your area.
2. Call the station, tell the receptionist you want to speak to the person in charge of PSAs for the station (usually called the 'Public Service Director' or 'Public Affairs Director'). If needed, inform the person that you have PSAs released by Youth for Human Rights International, and describe what we do and the message that we forward.
3. Once you are in contact with the Public Service Director (or similar title), note down their name, phone number and email address as this will be your main contact at the station to get the PSAs shown.
4. Inform the Public Service Director on the PSAs you want to be shown on TV and tell him you are interested in having them shown on his station.
5. The person will most likely ask you to send in the PSAs or you can offer to send them to him. Find out what format the TV station needs and also find out how many viewers they have (their viewership). If the station needs a format you do not have then contact YHRI to get a copy. Tell the person you are sending him a DVD with the PSAs so he can view them and that you will follow with the PSAs in the format they need for broadcasting.
6. Mail the PSAs DVD to the person with a cover letter or visit the station and deliver it personally. It is always preferable to have a face-to-face meeting with the person who manages the PSAs as this offers the best opportunity to show them the PSAs and get their agreement to show them on TV.
Note that sponsorship of the campaign by, or partnership with, a diverse group of well-respected organizations and individuals in your community can be a very helpful factor in a Public Service Director’s decision to run the PSAs.
Use any contacts you have at the station to help confirm the showing of the PSAs on TV.
7. Order the PSAs in the required format from YHRI if a DVD will not be good enough. If the station uses DVD as their broadcast format, a DVD with a TV/broadcast mix needs to be provided to the station.
8. Follow up with the station a few days after sending them the PSAs to be sure the station received them. Ask if they plan to run the PSAs. If they do, ask them when they plan to show them. If not, ask them would be a good time to follow up with them again. Reiterate why the PSAs are worthwhile, briefing them on positive feedback such as from other stations that have aired the PSAs and decided to continue airing them because of favourable public response. Once confirmed, also establish which PSAs they plan to run (or if it is all of them) and when.
9. Be sure to send a thank-you note to anyone who runs the PSAs and include any feedback from the PSAs airing or other campaign results in the area.
Important note: You will probably need to follow up with the TV station and contact them to make sure they do show the PSAs. Don’t expect the stations to report to you when they have decided to air the PSAs and when they have been shown. The staff at the station are very busy and they get many requests, so you have to be the one contacting them to ask for the information.
This is a basic step-by-step note of what you need to do to get the PSAs shown on TV. Every station is different, so be flexible in your approach, the above provides you with the basic guidelines to follow.