Getting MLK PSAs Used in Your Community

It is critical for you to help promote the radio PSAs in your community to get them aired.  While there are many options, some recommendations of places to contact include:

  • Stations that your organization has partnered with in the past
  • College radio stations
  • Local radio stations covering all genres
  • Stations targeted to African American audiences
  • (TV, Radio, Print), English and Spanish

How to Pitch PSAs

The Corporation has distributed the MLK Day radio PSAs to a broad cross-section of stations across the nation. For this effort to truly succeed, we need the help of project sponsors and Corporation staff at the local level.

Here are some tips on how to pitch the radio PSAs:

  • Check to see if your local station has received the PSA. You’ll find the list of radio stations that have received the PSAs at www.TVAccessReports.com/MLKDay. Once you know that your local radio station has received the PSA—or if you have a copy in hand—it’s time to “pitch” it to the PSA director urging the media outlet to run it.  NOTE: If your local media is not included in the list, you can order copies of the PSAs by emailing jaker@cns.gov
  • Contact your local station by mail or phone and ask for the PSA director. Tell them you are working to promote the Martin Luther King Day of Service and that locally your organization has tremendous need for volunteers to ________   (fill in the blank with your organization’s mission.) These volunteers will become part of the millions of people who are joining together to improve lives, break down barriers, and move our nation closer to what Dr. King liked to call “The Beloved Community.”  
  • Provide them with information on your activities. Be sure to include statistics, if you have them, on the number of people you have helped and some of the amazing stories from your organization.
  • Ask them to consider running the PSAs. Here’s what to say:
  • “Hi, my name is _______ and I’m with __________ organization. We help serve the community by _________ and we are working to promote the Martin Luther King Day holiday as a day of community service--a day ON, not a day off! I noticed that your station has received our MLK Day Radio PSAs, and I want to encourage you to run them. I’d be happy to provide you with examples of how my organization is helping to transform our community locally and even set up interviews with local volunteers who are making a tremendous difference in our community.”
  • Suggest co-branding. Once you have garnered the interest of the PSA director, encourage the local station to add their call letters to the radio PSAs as well as your local information (e.g. project description, phone number, or web site).
  • Suggest using Live Announcer Scripts. These scripts, located at mlkday.gov, and at www.tvaccessreports.com/MLKDay allow stations to use their own local DJs and talent to read the PSA scripts. Stations have a chance to personalize and localize the MLK Day of Service message.
  • If they have objections to running the PSAs, refer to “Overcoming Objections From Media Gatekeepers” to help persuade them to run the PSAs.
  • Follow Up:
    • Call. After about a week or so, a follow-up phone call is advisable. Ask if they need any additional information. Note: Don’t keep calling to ask when your PSA will appear. Media regard these calls as a nuisance and such calls can be counter productive.
    • Send a thank-you note. After your initial contact with the PSA director, send a thank-you note. This will serve as reminder to the PSA director about your ask.
    • Monitor the media. Be sure to monitor your local radio stations to see if the PSAs have run. If they do run, please call or write the local outlet and thank them. Your personal “thank you” can go a very long way in getting a PSA director to continue to run the PSAs.

Remember: Public service directors have dozens of announcements presented to them, all of which are important to the organizations vying for time and space. Be professional and thorough in your approach and respect the director’s time. If you can make them a part of your issue and make the MLK Day story relevant to your community, you stand a good chance of getting the PSA placed!

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Tell us how we're doing: MLKDay@cns.gov

Additional Opportunities

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