We have received many requests for the PSA distribution and airplay lists. Historically, at the launch of a new PSA campaign, WSO provided the lists to members and asked for their help to deliver the Al-Anon message of hope to their local TV and radio stations. This year, we have held off in publishing these lists because recent information from our new PSA vendor suggested we needed a Public Outreach Committee conversation.

Here’s what the Committee discovered. Our previous contracts for distribution were limited to 1,000 TV and 2,770 radio stations, as costs associated with producing and mailing impacted the number of stations we could contact. Our current vendor’s contract is for electronic distribution to 2,200 TV stations and 8,300 radio stations and networks in the US and Canada. With the old contract, we needed members’ help to reach the stations not on the distribution list to fill in the gap and encourage those stations to play our PSAs. Given the scope of our new contract, the gap no longer exists.

In fact, the Committees learned that our PSA Public Outreach Project strategy asking members to cold-call TV and radio station managers might actually be working against the efforts being made by our distribution vendor. With our new contract, our vendor not only sends the PSAs out electronically, but also follows up with emails and phone calls to encourage stations to play our PSAs. Unfortunately, some stations have also requested we no longer send thank-you notes, as opening this mail requires staff resources they would prefer be used for other tasks important to the success of their station.

The early results from the first 55 days of our 2020 PSA campaign have demonstrated significant improvement, with 12,473 airplays compared to just 5,403 a year ago. Excitingly, we have airplays in all the top ten designated market areas (DMAs) which include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Washington D.C., and Boston. For comparison, last year’s campaign was not aired in any of the top ten DMAs. DMAs are ranked based on the population.

With this new information, the Public Outreach Committee recommended, and the Executive Committee approved, requesting members focus their involvement in the existing PSA Public Outreach Project on maintaining existing media relationships and outreach to other non-media outlets, such as movie theaters, schools, and institutions, or sharing the PSAs with their social media networks. In the meantime, the PO Committee is busy exploring ideas on how the fellowship can become involved in new ways to reach those affected by the family disease of alcoholism. Thank you for your assistance responding to the stations’ feedback. Stay tuned for new ideas to come!

In The Loop, December 2020