PEP Resource Center

What is a PEP?

A Public Education Program (PEP) is a radio or television campaign, or combination of the two, used to deliver an important, statewide, public interest message. PEP candidates contract with the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association to have this message delivered statewide. This contract is secured with organizational funding, grant funding or underwriting from a third party, and airtime is provided on a “multiplier” basis. For every $1 of investment into a PEP campaign, the association will guarantee $4 worth of airtime. In some cases, the final ratio delivered is better than a 5:1 or 6:1 airtime to investment ratio.

How is it different from a PSA?

A public service announcement (PSA) is aired by a station without a monetary commitment, and is therefore aired by the station at its own discretion. PSAs are an effective and useful campaign approach for organizations who do not have access to enough funding to purchase airtime and who rely solely a station’s commitment to community service. PSAs do not hold any airtime guarantees – PEPs do!

Who is the “ideal” NCSA/PEP candidate?

An ideal PEP candidate is a statewide government agency or nonprofit organization. Because the effectiveness of a PEP campaign is its reach, the ideal candidate is someone who needs to communicate a statewide message.

Secondly, the ideal candidate is someone who is not currently purchasing over-the-air television or radio. In other words, the association exists to support its members, and does not compete with them for outreach dollars.

Some PEP campaigns aired by the association in the past include the Army National Guard, the Coast Guard, Transportation and Highway Safety departments, environmental services, health and human services, emergency preparedness, tourism and consumer protection.

More about the NCSA Program

PEP campaigns guarantee a 4:1 delivery, and often have a 5:1 or 6:1 delivery ratio and is the most cost effective way to send your message statewide!

The Massachusetts Broadcasters Association makes it easy on you by managing the creative, distribution and reporting of your campaign!

Click here for a printable NCSA/PEP fact sheet.

Contact us to find out more!

PEP Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 'ideal' PEP message?

Whereby the ideal candidate is a statewide organization, the ideal message is one of importance to a vast majority of people within the state. Those who find PEP campaigns to be most successful are those who have a distinct branding message, have a cause or issue that is important to the state as a whole and who has an “issue” with a long window of time. I.e. a 20-week campaign is more measurable and more easily delivered than a 6-week campaign.

What is the 'typical' ROI with a PEP campaign?

Results, or return on investment, are guaranteed 4:1, but are often 5:1 or 6:1 in terms of airtime garnered. Secondly, a PEP campaign gives an organization the ability to broadcast its message statewide (often 60+ radio and TV stations), an effort that would otherwise be virtually impossible for PEP candidates from a cost perspective.

How much does it cost to air an PEP campaign?

Cost is determined on a case-by-case basis based on two, primary factors: campaign duration and whether your campaign is radio- or television-based, or both.

Where and when will PEP spots be aired?

Virtually all commercial member stations of Massachusetts Broadcasters Association air the PEP spots—radio and television included. Participating stations air PEP spots on a rotating basis – Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight.

Why do stations partner with the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association and participate in the PEP program? What's in it for them?

PEP revenue helps the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association fund the many programs offered to its members: scholarship programs, job fairs, training seminars and webinars as well as legal and regulatory assistance.

What kind of confirmation is received?

PEP candidates receive monthly or quarterly affidavits of delivery (or airtime report) to illustrate the stations their spot aired on, dates and times. The MBA also surveys stations each year to determine a value for each PEP spot.  Those totals are supplied to PEP partners on a regular basis.  Most stations provide this information to the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association.

What about social media?

The MBA is in the process of creating a social media element to PEP campaigns utilizing the amazing reach of our radio and TV members.  Please ask us about it!

Are there rules pertaining to the radio/television spot creative?

There are basically two rules of thumb when preparing a PEP spot on radio or television.  All PEP spots must be tagged with: Sponsored by (PEP candidate), brought to you by the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association and this station. Additionally, spots cannot be voiced by elected officials (Governor, Mayor, members of Congress, etc.) during an election year.

It is also important that spots not be considered “issue advertising.” In other words, the PEP program is not the proper forum for pushing a political agenda . Stations that shy away from editorializing their content will not air spots that weigh heavily on partisan issues.

Does the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association provide resources to create and distribute the spot(s)?

Absolutely, radio and television is what we are all about! Having the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association help write, record and produce your creative is the best way to ensure that your message abides by the above qualifications. We know what it is our stations like to air, why not take advantage of our resources and knowledge to create the best possible creative for your campaign!

Yes, the association distributes the spot(s) to the stations and works directly with the stations to ensure delivery success.  The Association collects all proofs of airtime (affidavits or airtime report) and provides timely reports back to our NCSA/PEP partner.

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