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June 12, 2006
Dennis Wharton
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Broadcasters Generate $10.3 Billion in 2005 Public Service

--Hurricane Katrina, Southeast Asia Tsunami Relief Boost Service to Record Level--

WASHINGTON, DC - Local radio and television stations generated a record $10.3 billion in public service in 2005, through a combination of airtime donated for public service announcements and money raised for charity and disaster relief, the National Association of Broadcasters announced today.

Results of NAB's fifth industry census of community service will be announced tonight at the NAB Education Foundation's eighth annual Service to America Awards, where local radio and television stations are honored for exemplary public service. The $10.3 billion figure exceeds the $9.6 billion in public service generated in 2003. The 2005 total also surpassed the $9.9 billion in public service generated by broadcasters in 2001, $8.1 in 1999, and $6.8 billion in 1997.

Broadcasters across the nation took to the airwaves to generate charitable fundraising that totaled more than $1 billion after two cataclysmic events: Hurricane Katrina and the Southeast Asian tsunami, the survey found.

"This year's survey affirms the longstanding fact that local over-the-air radio and television stations are collectively the number one provider of public service in America," said NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr. "Whether it's donating airtime for valuable public service announcements or raising money for charity and disaster relief, local broadcasters nationwide can be proud of the tremendous contributions they make in their communities everyday."

The $10.3 billion figure was derived from an industry census sent earlier this year to more than 11,000 full-power commercial radio and television stations. Broadcasters were asked to document from January 1 - December 31, 2005 the number of PSAs they aired, the amount of money raised for charity through direct station fundraising appeals, and funds raised for disaster relief.

Thousands of broadcast stations all over America participated in the census. Participation was boosted through the efforts of all 50 state broadcast associations. Responses to the census were collected and tabulated by Public Opinion Strategies (POS), an Alexandria, VA-based polling firm. "Through five studies since 1997, we have employed a consistent, standard methodology which allows us to make a precise estimate of public service activity by broadcasters with a high degree of confidence in the findings," said POS Partner Bill McInturff.

Leaders from philanthropic organizations nationwide expressed appreciation for airtime donated by local broadcasters. "The collaborations that the American Cancer Society have forged over the years with local radio and television stations are vital to the Society's mission of eliminating cancer as a major health problem," said American Cancer Society National Vice President Greg Donaldson. "We greatly appreciate the commitment local broadcasters have made to support the Society in this potentially life-saving endeavor and look forward to continuing such mutually beneficial efforts in the future."

Broadcasters were specifically instructed not to include in the census the value of certain endeavors. Not included in the census were PSAs from groups like the Office of National Drug Control Policy that may have involved in-kind contributions or partial payment to stations. Nor did broadcasters include the value of ad revenue lost when stations carried breaking news stories related to natural disasters, or advertising lost from breaking weather emergencies.

The census also did not include the value of public service at the broadcast network level, or the hourly value of broadcast station personnel participating in community charity events such as AIDS fundraising walks, breast cancer fundraising drives, and Toys for Tots campaigns.

"This is a census based solely on public service generated by local radio and television stations," said Rehr. "Its results have been meticulously calculated and are extraordinarily conservative."

Key findings in the census show that:

  • Local radio stations aired on average 169 PSAs per week, while local television stations aired 136 PSAs per week;

  • The value of PSA airtime was based on a "run of schedule" rate, which is one of the least expensive rates charged to commercial clients;

  • 61% of radio PSAs and 55% of TV PSAs focused on local issues; and

  • 96% of TV stations and 96% of radio stations reported involvement in some type of on-air or off-air disaster relief activity

Key nationwide charity beneficiaries of broadcast public service included the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, Children's Miracle Network, Habitat for Humanity, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Make-A-Wish Foundation, March of Dimes, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Rotary International, Salvation Army, Special Olympics, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, United Way of America and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.

NAB today issued the a National Report on Broadcasters' Community Service outlining details behind the $10.3 billion figure. Included in the report are hundreds of acts of public service taken by broadcasters to improve communities across America. The report is available at

The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at


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