Overcoming Objections from Media Gatekeepers

OBJECTION #1: “I just don’t have enough air time for all the PSAs I receive.”

  • Response: We recognize the pressure your station is under and that there are many valid issues to support. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the  first observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. More than 40 years after his death, Dr. King’s examples continue to guide us in addressing our nation’s most critical issues. Each year, millions of people have volunteered at thousands of service projects across the country, joining together to improve lives, break down barriers, and move our nation closer to what Dr. King liked to call “The Beloved Community.” MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday dedicated to serving others. We think that your station can see how important it is to further this call to action. 

OBJECTION #2: “This issue is not locally relevant.”

  • Response: Yes it is. We have designed these PSAs to be customized by local organizations to recruit volunteers for their organizations. This is your chance to partner with a community organization and support both a national and local call to build a better America.

OBJECTION #3: “The issue does not match my station theme for this period.”

  • Response: The MLK Day of Service is on January 16, 2012, and service projects will be taking place throughout the entire weekend. It is a timely issue. Each year, communities across the country honor Dr. King by serving on the King Holiday. Plus you will be tapping into the national and local media coverage of MLK Day.

OBJECTION #4:  “We need quality PSAs”

  • Response: The PSAs will resonate with your audience. They were created in cooperation with, Isaac Newton Farris Jr., who is  Dr. King’s nephew. The first, “Others,” uses Mr. Farris’s resonant voice as a narrator to read a famous quote by his uncle that “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’  It includes voices of several community volunteers, urges listeners to honor Dr. King’s legacy by getting involved in their community, and ends with a recording of Dr. King. The second, “Beloved Community” begins with Dr. King’s speech and uses Mr. Farris’s voice to encourage people to join together to build what Dr. King called the “Beloved Community.” The third, “Dream,” begins with Dr. King’s voice from his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, then features Mr. Farris articulating how people can help realize the dream by serving in their community on King Day and throughout the year.

Side issues:

  • “Are you a 501(c)(3)?” The MLK Day of Service is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, and thereby qualifies for PSA time. It also is geared directly at garnering support for service projects sponsored by local 501(c)(3) organizations.  In addition, the PSAs were produced in cooperation with the King Center which is a 501(c)(3) organization.
  • “Can you document the facts you’ve presented today?” Be prepared to leave your local fact sheet with the media gatekeeper. The national MLK Day fact sheet is available for download at www.MLKDay.gov.

Further help

If you need help with any of the above, please contact Jackie Aker at the Corporation for National and Community Service, jaker@cns.gov or call 202-606-6722.

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