Federal workers using broadcast to go on the defensive


Members of the federal workforce are feeling like collateral damage as heated rhetoric flies back and forth in the raging battle over debt and the economy. A federal union is mounting a campaign with television and radio PSA elements to underscore the value of the work they do for the nation.

The campaign is coming from the National Treasury Employees Union, and in addition to radio and television, it is media events, local grassroots efforts and Internet and social media activities.

NTEU is making the PSAs available to a geographically-diverse set of broadcast facilities, including 200 television and 600 radio stations.

“From guarding our borders to safeguarding the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink, to administering the school lunch program so children do not go hungry, federal employees perform so many critical tasks for our nation each and every day,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. “And all too often, we take this dedicated and effective service for granted.”

Kelley added, “The truth is, that while federal employees touch our lives in innumerable ways, many Americans know little about the important contributions these dedicated civil servants make to keep our nation safe, healthy and moving forward.”

Unfortunately, she noted, they are instead cast in an unfavorable light with no consideration of their positive contributions as any form of federal spending comes under attack.

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s one thing to send material to 800 broadcast stations; it’s another thing to actually buy time on 800 broadcast stations. These messages will likely be just one more in a pile of PSAs at most stations, competing for limited airtime. It’s hard to imagine such a campaign will have much of an impact.

We’re not criticizing NTEU for trying at all – we’re just saying the material will be competing with advice to wear sunscreen, pleas to prevent wildfires, and requests to know where your children are. And we fear that the result will be very few actual airings of the ads.