Local radio and television stations and their broadcast network partners have donated more than $32 million in airtime for public service announcements focused on opioid abuse awareness and prevention.
This includes 253,783 TV and radio airings between September 2016 and December 2017, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) reports. The PSAs are part of a campaign launched by NAB and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
PSAs included Partnership-produced messages directing viewers and listeners to life-saving information as well as PSAs produced in conjunction with NAB’s bi-annual Congressional PSA Campaign.
Prior to the launch of the campaign, CBS Television, ABC-owned TV stations and iHeartMedia had already carried more than $15 million in Partnership PSAs.
“The effects of the opioid epidemic are tragic and far-reaching. I applaud local radio and television stations for their efforts to raise awareness and provide critical information on preventing addiction and abuse,” said NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith. “We appreciate broadcasters’ generous support of this important initiative and encourage stations to continue to access the online toolkit at NAB.org/addiction for facts and statistics related to the epidemic, as well as programming and community outreach ideas.”
“Broadcasters are a lifeline to communities in times of crisis, and they have played a crucial role in reaching families amidst this public health epidemic,” said Fred Muench, President/CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “We sincerely appreciate broadcasters’ collaboration in driving awareness of life-saving resources, like our free Helpline at 855-DRUGFREE, and look forward to their continued support in carrying new PSAs we will launch this spring.”
The initiative was announced in September 2016 at a press conference on Capitol Hill featuring a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and House members. Arizona Broadcasters Association President Art Brooks and representatives from broadcast companies including Sinclair Broadcast Group, Hubbard Radio Group and Hearst Television were also present to pledge their support.
In addition to airing PSAs, broadcasters devote enormous resources to develop long-form programming and special news reports, hold town hall meetings and provide critical information online.
Radio and television stations across Arizona aired a 30-minute commercial-free investigative report, “Hooked Rx: From Prescription to Addiction,” on Jan. 10 in prime time.
All Arizona television stations and 97 radio stations aired the program to educate their communities on the dangers of prescribed opioids.
The program was a follow-up to “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” which reached 1 million viewers in 2015 and won a Rocky Mountain Emmy and an Alfred I. duPont Award.