PSAs Still a Very Viable Communications Tool in 2019

Public service announcements are nearly as old as the television medium itself, yet even in the age of smart phones, social media and OTT (Over the Top) television they remain a powerful communications tool.

According to a recent survey by Connect 360 Multimedia:

TV PSAs are airing in better dayparts. In the past we used to see about a third of TV airings occurring in what I’d call the “wee hours.” This survey shows that number has dropped to only 24%. That means 76% of airings are occurring in waking hours.

Radio spots get good play in drive time. A quarter of all radio airings (25%) are occurring during morning and evening drive time.

60-second spots had strong performance. While :30 spots are preferred, :60 spots in both TV and radio came in high with 38% of TV airings and 33% of radio airings. This gives a full minute for organizations to tell their story.

The survey does not mention :10 PSAs, but that is a format that has been very successful for me in the past year. If your spokesperson is a TV network personality, it is often possible to partner on existing PSA campaigns, like CBS Cares and NBC’s The More You Know. I have found the :10 format is even more likely to play in Primetime.

The strategy still remains as it always has been, you’ve got to hook the viewer, inform and deliver a call to action quickly. A good concept appeals to a broad range of people—teens, adults, the elderly. On the radio side, an old tip that is still relevant, consider tailoring the background music to match the format of the station you are targeting, i.e, a country or rock theme to match the music the station highlights. For radio you can also offer the spot without music or just provide copy for the DJ or announcer to customize, so they can localize the message or feel like they own it.

To see examples of PSAs go to