Broadcasting, With a $10.3B

Local TV and radio stations generated an estimated $10.3 billion worth of public service in 2005, according to NAB’s biennial survey.

NAB is releasing the figures in a snazzy annual report to be distributed at its Service to America Summit in Washington June 12.

That 10.3B figure is up $700 million from two years ago, which NAB attributes in part to fund-raising for two natural disasters, the tsunami in Southeast Asia and Hurricane Katrina. Katrina funds raised topped $1 billion, said NAB, while about $200 million was raised for tsunami relief.

Included in that total was donated airtime from public service announcements and money raised for charity and disaster relief. TV stations averaged 169 PSAs per week, while radio aired 136.

NAB President David Rehr called the figure "conservative."

Not included in the total was the ad revenue lost to commercial-free coverage of breaking news, including weather emergencies. The $10.3 figure is extrapolated from a 44% return of surveys sent to more than 11,000 stations. But even if the other 56% did no public service--NAB says a spot check of nonparticipants found that was not the case--the total for that 44% was $4.5 billion.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.