If someone gets information like that to us a few days in advance (concerts, fundraisers, parties, etc.) we can put that information in the news for a couple days and it won't cost them anything. If they want special advertisement for their event, it's gonna cost them. Generally, the rule we go by is "You have to spend money to earn money; if you are getting paid for it, we get paid for it."
A fellow came into the station yesterday after my boss had gone home (around 5 pm) and asked if he could get some ads on the radio.
I asked what his ads were about (remember, costs are different: PSAs are free, getting something into the news is free, but special ads cost money) and he said "Public service."
Right away I was suspicious, because generally when people come in and want to put a "PSA" on the air, what they mean is they want a classified, but don't want to pay for it.
Turns out he's doing a gospel concert at one of the churches in town. I told him that doesn't qualify as a PSA, but when is his concert, because that sort of thing we might be able to mention in the news.
So...at 5:10 in the evening, you want to put an ad on the radio for your concert at 7?
Me: Tonight? *blink*
Him: Yeah tonight...maybe tomorrow too.
Me: Well, I'm afraid you already missed our news deadline...you see, we record the news a day in advance, and we don't have any news on the weekend.
Him: So, what would it cost?
I went and got a price sheet. For classifieds, we generally go with 30 second spots as opposed to 60 second, and have a "minimum of 6 spots" rule, at $12 a spot for our cheapest deal. This means that someone would have to buy at least six 30-second ads, and those six ads would go on BOTH our stations, the AM and the FM, so they're essentially getting twice that number.
Him: $12 for each 30 second ad? Wow...that's expensive.
Understand that, in order to get his ads on the radio, I would have had to drop what I was doing when he came in, write up an ad (and 30 seconds is longer than it sounds), record it, edit it, and then manually plug it into the spot set for each station, for both days he wanted it on. That takes a while.
Him: I'm kinda broke. It's sorta like a public service.
I mentally rolled my eyes.
Me: *trying not to sound exasperated* A public service is more like promoting awareness of illness or helping people to quit smoking...stuff like that.
It's hard for me to explain things to other people, particularily if I'm not 100% sure of them myself, so I probably could phrased that better. I haven't been working at the station for very long, so I, too, sometimes have trouble with what is or is not a PSA.
Him: Well...I do public service...and...stuff. Like, letting people know they've fallen off the right path...helping them get back on, that sort of thing.
Me: I'm sorry I can't be of more help to you.
He asked me if there were any other radio stations in town besides us and public radio (which he'd already tried), and when I told him no, he thanked me and left. I felt bad, but at the same time, irritated. He had told me he was from "out of town." I presume that means this concert has been planned for quite a while.
PEOPLE. If you're having an event, and you want to put out some ads for it, WHY wouldn't you try to do that sometime BEFORE the actual day it's being held?
He wasn't rude or anything, just sort of...wtfish.