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PSA and Broadcast Release Formats

Note: Your browser should show this page as double-spaced, normal-sized typewriter type; you may need to make adjustments... Don't miss "A few notes" at the bottom of this page, following the broadcast release format.




PSA format: leave room for your letterhead)





Contact: Alton Miller, Publicity Director
Phone: 312-555-5555 ext. 555
Night line: 312-555-5555
                                            Begin Sept. 3
                                             End Sept. 17
 
 
 
:30 SECOND PSA - VIDEO GAMES THAT TEACH

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
OH - OH. YOUR KIDS ARE PLAYING VIDEO GAMES AGAIN, INSTEAD
 
OF DOING THEIR HOMEWORK. OR ARE THEY? MAYBE THEY ARE DOING
 
THEIR HOMEWORK, WITH THAT NEW EDUCATIONAL VIDEO GAME,
 
"EDU-PLAY." HISTORY, MATH AND SCIENCE CAN BE FUN WHEN
 
YOU'RE LEARNING IT STRAIGHT FROM ABE LINCOLN AND ALBERT
 
EINSTEIN. IF YOUR KIDS HAVE EVER PLAYED VIDEO GAMES,
 
THEY ALREADY KNOW HOW TO USE "EDU-PLAY." IF YOUR SCHOOL
 
DOESN'T HAVE "EDU-PLAY," ASK THEIR TEACHER WHY NOT -- IT'S
 
AVAILABLE FOR FREE TO SCHOOLCHILDREN OF ALL AGES.
 
 


 
- end -

 
 


 
 
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------

(Broadcast release format: leave room for your letterhead)



 

Contact: Alton Miller, Publicity Director
Phone: 312-555-5555 ext. 555
Night line: 312-555-5555
                                            Begin Sept. 3
                                             End Sept. 17
 
 



 
EDU-PLAY: KIDS DO HOMEWORK ON VIDEO GAMES

 
 




 
            Chicago students will soon be studying history,
 
math, and science by playing video games -- that's the idea
 
behind Edu-Play, the new teaching software coming to
 
Chicago schools this fall.
 
            Video games are popular with kids -- and they
 
hold students' attention far better than traditional
 
classroom techniques.
 
            With Edu-Play, children use a video-game
 
approach -- in the classroom or at home -- to learn history
 
directly from Abe Lincoln, math and science from Albert
 
Einstein himself.
 
            Studies show that students who use Edu-Play
 
become more involved, and learn faster, because it's
 
interactive and more entertaining than a classroom lecture
 
or reading from a book.
 
            Edu-Play is being distributed to schools
 
and parents free of charge by Edu-Tainment Incorporated, a
 
non-profit educational institution, in a program funded by
 
the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more
 
information, contact Edu-Tainment Incorporated at
 
(800) 555-1234.
 

 
- end -

 
 


 
 

 



A few notes:

  • PSAs and broadcast releases are very different. Keep in mind that PSAs (assuming you have a non-profit angle to your announcement, or can develop one) and broadcast releases are both useful ways to get your client publicized on the air -- both are written for the ear rather than the eye -- and both are one-page items -- but that's about all they have in common.

  • A PSA is essentially an unpaid ad, and the style is that of unabashed ad copy -- though you're well-advised to keep it on the soft-sell side. It hews to a single theme, makes a single point (to inform or to persuade), and requires a single paragraph. Type it in all caps, ready for use in the studio.

  • A broadcast release is news, or will be if you succeed in getting it on the air. Like all news it needs a strong angle -- what makes it newsworthy? Like everything written for the ear, it needs to be streamlined, easy to read, easy to grasp quickly, focused on a single point, using repetition to hammer the point home. It's typed in caps/lower case, for editing by the station's news staff (though it should be ready-to-rip-and-read for that rare case when it will be used intact.)

  • Almost all "good news" is local, one way or another. Note that this (fictional) software product is being released nationally this fall. For the PSA, that fact may be more or less useful, depending on your approach. But for the broadcast release, it's essential that you make a national story into a local story -- which is as easy as the first two words of my release.

  • Broadcast matter, like milk, should be "stale- dated." For both PSAs and broadcase releases, use the "Begin" and "End" format shown above, to show the "shelf life" of your copy. That's your promise to the on-air personality that your material can be read during that date range without risk of embarrassment (the DJ will never completely forgive you if you mislead him into reading a release promoting last night's concert).

  • Use common-sense language, not symbols. At the end of the release, I prefer "end" rather than "30" or pound signs, only because so much of our work will sooner or later be online, where symbols and numbers have different meanings that could cause confusion.