Why don't we have commercials about Scouting on TV anymore?? We used to have them all of the time when I was growing up…and TV shows with Scouting themes. I heard that this is because the BSA is spending too much money on court fights and things like that. Is that true?

Ask your Council why THEY are not actively placing the BSA's advertisements that they receive on local television and radio stations... see, every Council gets a media packet twice a year with print, television and radio ads and ways that their "council staff member for public relations" can go out and solicit support for airing them. Remember that these ads are "public service ads" and are NOT paid ads. Therefore, unlike the days in which you and I were living in whereby the local station would do it "for civic pride", many stations won't touch a "PSA" (Public Service Announcement) unless it's accompanied by a check to compensate for the difference in what they would normally get for a regular ad and the lowest price for air time during a period of time.

Most Councils won't have that money, because many of us don't want to "support our Council" and feel that "we're paying our professionals" at Friends of Scouting time. Other Councils will go out and get underwriting for those PSAs from local businesses in exchange for their logo to be included as part of the BSA's ads or as a "runner" at the bottom of the screen that says "advertisement provided as a public service by Big Business Corporation".

As far as why the BSA is NOT on "TV" anymore, think about this: in the 50s and 60s, there were only three television networks, and all of them catered to about the same audience. In the 80s, cable television started but we still had those same three networks. In the 90s, our television viewing habits exploded with the advent of cable television. When that occurred, instead of the "same old stuff", we now have televisions "aimed at what we like to do". It's hard to incorporate the BSA into shows like "Moesha", or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", or even in "traditional fare" like "ER". The BSA is trying, however. But it's just not the same as incorporating Scout meetings into Ricky's or Opie's life back in the 60s!!

It is NOT true that the BSA does NOT have the money to pay for ads on commercial television stations... the BSA has a budgeted amount each year for Public Service and other special announcements, for copying and duplication of those items, and for distribution of those items to every local Council for further distribution. The annual BSA Clipart CD is an example of those external communications efforts. You can see examples of the BSA's video ads on the BSA's website at http://www.bsa.scouting.org/excomm/psavideo/index.html; additionally, you can view a small sample of great Scouting-related video ads by going to Leaders' Online's Multimedia section at http://users.aol.com/coffeeweb/LO/mindex.htm

So, if you miss those great ads and print items... contact your Council and ask them how you can help them to get those ads in the papers, on the television (even through CABLE!) and on the radio! And if you want your favorite show to include plot lines or run-ons dealing with Scouting in America, you need to write to the producers or networks that carry your favorite shows and ask them WHY NOT??

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