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TV PSAs that focus on messages unrelated to Sept. 11 issues can still be relevant and timely in today's environment.

That's one of the findings from a new survey of PSA directors at 75 TV stations nationwide, done by TAP Research for PlowShare Group.

The study, conducted by phone from Oct. 23 through Nov. 5, showed that only 3 percent of respondents said they are airing PSAs focused exclusively on Sept. 11-related disaster relief. While 47 percent of those surveyed said PSA content on their stations deals "somewhat" with Sept. 11-oriented topics, 35 percent said their rotations are similar to those prior to Sept. 11.

The study also found 15 percent of TV stations have increased overall PSA time in response to the tragedy, while 77 percent of those surveyed are airing about the same number of PSAs as before Sept. 11.

"The goal of this really was to get a sense [from PSA directors] of … how viable non-Sept. 11-related messages were," said Jeff Boal, partner at Stamford, Conn.-based PlowShare, which specializes in PSAs.

The low percentage of respondents saying they are airing PSAs devoted exclusively to Sept. 11-oriented issues may be explained in part by the limited number of such spots, said Boal. He added that he expects the percentage of stations increasing overall PSA time to grow in the soft advertising climate.