ketchup hunt's Español: cátsup hunts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Public service announcements.
I'm a big fan of PSAs. My love for them dates back to my teen years, when I was obsessed with college radio and experiencing new kinds of music.
WKDU, Drexel University's station, was my favorite college radio station. For a while, I thought about attending Drexel just so I could work at the radio station, but the school is overpriced and, besides the radio station, there was nothing drawing me to study there.
There was also Rowan University's radio station, which I would listen to while getting ready for school in the morning. A lot of the shows they'd air on the station were not live, but previously recorded shows, and so I would hear "Just Like a Woman" by Bob Dylan on a daily basis. Not a bad song to wake up to.
The PSAs were always entertaining, whether they were read aloud by the radio jockey, or prerecorded messages complete with musical accompaniment.
One of my favorite PSAs was a comment on Ronald Reagan and the USDA's attempt to label ketchup as a vegetable.
[Reagan's 1982 budget cut one billion dollars from the school lunch program, which forced USDA officials to scramble to do more with less to make a nutritious lunch for America's school children, and thus gave ketchup and relish vegetable status.]
It was a parody commercial for "Ketchup Soup," with a soothing male voice lauding the nutritional benefits of ketchup added to hot water, a fine dinner for any family.
I have no idea where this particular PSA came from or who made it, and I have since tried to search for it on the internet and have had no luck. It's stuck with me over the years, though, and I thank college radio for that.
When I was studying at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, I had the opportunity to be a part of a radio show-- the Anarchy in the UK radio show, to be exact. I'm not an anarchist, but I do like punk rock and that was what my cohorts liked to play. I played mostly horrorcore and classic hip-hop, but sometimes played emo and indie rock. In between songs we would discuss politics and current events. The University had an internet radio station, which was cool because it meant my family and friends could listen in from overseas, and we had a sweet Thursday night time slot.
When my dad came to visit me at UEA, he made these videos during our radio show. Here I am, being a goof:
I was initially inspired to write this post about PSAs because of an ad on television I saw by Tobacco Free California [no embed code was available for the video, which is why it's not on this blog, but if you click the link above you can watch the PSA on the site. By the way, I've noticed this before with PSAs, that they're often not on youtube or vimeo. You can find the videos usually on the organization's website, but they don't make embedding code available, which is silly because you'd think they'd want blogs to post the videos so more people can get the message].
This PSA was about cigarette butts and what happens to them when people litter them on the ground, which is something most people do without thinking twice. When I was a smoker, I would toss my butts into the street-- and I hate litter bugs. I thought that was the right thing to do, though, and in fact it's a terrible thing to do.
Cigarette butts poison the water and they aren't biodegradable-- they're pollution. So don't throw your cigarette butts in the street and don't throw them in the gutter (like I saw two kids do today, and I told them they should pick up their trash). There's even a sign on top of the gutter saying to not throw trash there because it empties into the ocean.
But don't take it from me, listen to these girls: