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Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

Submitting a Public Service Announcement to WRFU Radio Free Urbana

WRFU can run public service announcements (PSAs). The options are:

  • Read live by the host of live shows: A person/organization can submit a written copy with relevant details that is 15 to 30 seconds in length to read on the air live.
  • An audio recording to run periodically: WRFU volunteers (or you as the submitter of the PSA) could also make an audio file of about that length to be put on the automation computer and run periodically. All PSAs must abide by FCC rules and regulations.

Please submit your PSA well in advance.  Include dates when the PSA should run (for example: “This PSA should run from January 1, 2024 to April 8, 2024).

As a noncommercial station, there are some kinds of messages we can't accept in a PSA.   For example, we can't advertise goods or services.   We can announce events for which there is a cover charge, but cannot say what the amount is.  

There is no charge for submitting a PSA, but we welcome donations to the station!

You can email the PSA announcements to wrfu-psa@ucimc.org or send via post to WRFU / 202 S. Broadway, Suite 100 / Urbana, IL  61801

Additional helpful information for you as you write your PSA:

  • Try to make it as easy as possible for the show host to read your announcement.
  • The common length of a public service announcement is 60, 30, 20, 10, and even 5 seconds. The most acceptable is 30 seconds.
  • 30 seconds is about 70-75 words. When writing your spots, remember that WRFU needs to conform to strict time frames. A 30-second spot means just that, no more, no less. That figures out to about 70-75 words, depending on the speed with which it's read. Although a word count can guide you, the spot should be read aloud with a stopwatch in hand to make sure a 30-second spot is really a half-minute long.

Generally the length and word count follow the pattern below:

Length of PSA

10 seconds

15 seconds

20 seconds

30 seconds

Number of words

20-25 words

30-35 words

40-50 words

60-75 words

 

Basically the ratio is:        10 seconds / 25 words

If you want a 60 second PSA, then shoot for 150 words or less.

 

  • Please don’t get us in trouble. Federal law prohibits obscene, indecent and profane content from being broadcast on the radio or TV. For more information on this, please see FCC’s “Obscene, Indecent and Profane Broadcasts Guide “ (last revised September 13, 2017)
    https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/obscene-indecent-and-profane-broadcasts
  • Effective PSA writing:
    • PSAs should be persuasive and capture the audience’s attention.
    • Beginning: A PSA should include a hook, essentially something to grab the listener or viewer’s attention. Sometimes this might be a shocking statistic, something comedic or using something with an emotional appeal.
    • Think about the message(s) you want your target audience to hear and select only the most important points. In the same style as key message development, keep your PSA clear, complete, concise and correct.
    • PSAs should also answer the 5Ws – who, what, where, when and why.
    • Final: One other critical piece is that PSAs should end with a specific ask and/or answer what you want the reader/listener/viewer to do after they’ve heard your message (call to action).
  • Sample PSA:
    [Music playing in background]
    Family Fun Day is this Friday, August 2nd from 2 to 5pm
    At Prairie Farms / 2202 W. Kirby Ave. in Champaign.
    This free event includes music, fun activities, and food, plus participation raffle prizes.
    Tables include face painting, hand massage, carnival games and more.
    The more tables you visit, the more prizes you’re eligible for.
    For more information call the Trauma Resiliency Initiative at xxx.xxx-xxxx or you can email them. 
    This event is co-sponsored by the Trauma and Resiliency Initiative, the City of Champaign, and the Champaign Community Coalition.
    This is a public service announcement brought to you by 104.5 WRFU.
    [Music ends too]

 

References:

  1. “How to Write a PSA”, The Media Network, Program Training and Consultation Centre. https://www.ptcc-cfc.on.ca/common/pages/UserFile.aspx?fileId=248165
  1. “Obscene, Indecent and Profane Broadcast” Federal Communications Commission. Consumer Guides. Date Last Updated/Reviewed: Wednesday, September 13, 2017. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/obscene-indecent-and-profane-broadcasts