Survey reveals health is #1 desired PSA


U.S. radio media directors named health the number one issue about which they are seeking public service advertising. Health ranked top of the issues they wanted our government to support with PSAs, and was the top specific issue (after all issues supported by community based organizations) to which they wanted their stations to give airtime. The survey marks the latest release of the National Media Survey, an on-going study about public service advertising conducted by Noral Group International.

Congress wasn’t the only group thinking about the health of Americans this year. Our radio stations want to give airtime to PSAs that help address the well-being of their community listeners,” said Eva Kasten, President and founder of Noral Group. “There appears to be a very healthy role for PSAs in the health of our citizens.”

When asked to discuss specific health issues, most radio media directors responded with mentions of actual diseases. Top of the disease charts were cancer and diabetes. Circulatory diseases, however, were also very important; the combined mentions of heart ailments and strokes, in fact, even surpassing cancer and diabetes.

Second to naming diseases afflicting their residents, radio media directors turned their attention to human behaviors associated with disease and health problems. These ranged from messages promoting lifestyle choices ( e.g., not smoking, eating right, exercising) to prevention related services (e.g., vaccination or screening programs).

“Human behaviors are hard to influence. But it is possible, and public service advertising campaigns are one proven means to that end,” said Kasten. “The survey provides a blue print for non-profits on what health messages to put out to address radio station demand and influence lives.”

The National Media Survey assesses the needs, practices and perspectives of the media gatekeepers who determine what PSAs receive airtime and therefore which social issues will be addressed in their communities. This edition of the survey was based on responses from over 100 radio station community service and media directors from across the U.S.

RBR-TVBR observation: In light of our recent WBEB-FM story, we can see why. Health PSAs are the least likely to offend; and are less likely than many to get the dial changed. When listeners hear about something that may reflect synptoms or issues with loved ones, they may actually pay more attention than they would otherwise to the stop set — so this is not surprising news, but interesting nonetheless.