The National Association of Broadcasters has launched a new website that focuses on Public Service initiatives. The website at www.nabspotcenter.com gives members access to a variety of public service announcements (PSA's) such as cancer awareness, drunk driving, and the 2008 election. These spots are available free of charge to NAB members.
This type of program is great and serves a need. The information is informative and valuable to the public. I commend the National Association of Broadcasters on this initiative.
Now The Criticism:
The NAB is dubbing this program as something that will boost "LOCALLY FOCUSED COMMUNITY SREVICE". The problem here is that these PSA's are not at all locally focused. They are general campaigns that are designed to be used in any community in the nation. There is nothing "LOCAL" about them.
Localism has been an issue for quite some time. In the early days of radio, the focus was indeed very localized. Today, the definition of localism has blurred to a point where large companies and organizations have shifted the meaning in its entirety. The use of national preferred playlists, and importing talent to several markets has taken radio away from "town hall" and brought on a more national flavor.
Localisim is important, but it would appear what is needed is a true definition of the word. As FCC hearings focusing on the subject are being considered, it is little surprise that efforts made to be more localized are happening. If terrestrial radio wants to brand itself as a hero to local communities and a place where citizens can get local information, they need to take that step. in many ways, it appears that terrestrial radio wants to appear to be local while at the same time condensing programming on a national basis as much as possible.
The new website is a wonderful initiative and is great information for the public. Branding as "local" is not very accurate.