. . .  from our sponsors.  On TV that means time to head for the fridge because this is when the sales pitch happens.  I never liked sale pitches.  But I have come to appreciate them.

I sent in to several local radio stations a brief description of an upcoming reading that I am participating in. Called a Public Service Announcement, they are the equivalent of commercials.  PSA are not a big budget thing, because there is no budget, the FCC says that you should have some on your station to be good neighbors to the community that you are serving.  So PSA’s become just a quick voice over giving the particulars that you have sent in.

The stations rewrite them to fit what ever space they have to give away.    As they are giving away valuable air time, stations tend to stick them in at odd hours.  If you don’t listen carefully, you can miss them. If you’re lucky, the stations might have a particular show that they might blend in with, so they wedge them in between the paid for ads and the next show.

All that to say, I became a very lucky writer when I sent in a PSA to the station that I do blogs for.  I expected them to be nice and run the spot a few times to help me out, but I was totally floored the first time I heard it.

First, I didn’t dream that they would headline me in the PSA.  You can’t imagine how wonderful it is to hear your name come out of your own radio first thing in the morning!  I thought I was dreaming until I heard the remainder of the announcement.   It was all there, the time, the place, the telephone number.  That told me I wasn’t making it up.

Second, I didn’t think they would it so often or at such prominent times.  Mama was right, it pays to know people.

Third, call me old fashioned, but this is better than an email blast any day.  You get to enjoy it yourself.  You never know if someone opens your email or if you landed in the spam bucket.  This way, every time I hear it, I know someone else is hearing it too.   Don’t get me wrong, social media is wonderful, but RADIO has been around since November 2, 1920.  Ninety four and still kicking strong, how can you argue with that track record?

Now the pressure is on.  I have to give a  very good performance. I always loved the last line of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams.   Blanche is being escorted to the mental hospital by two men in very white coats, yet in her own fragile southern way she tells one that she has ‘always depended upon the kindness of strangers.’  I know how she feels  because after all those PSA’s, there will be strangers depending upon me.

Beverly Branch of Chicago Public Library –  Saturday, October 4th starting at 2 pm.

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