SAMPLE LETTER TO LOCAL STATION MANAGER

Dear Station Manager,

As representative(s) of a local organization(s) concerned about public health and young people in this community, we want to express our opposition to the growing presence of commercials for hard-liquor products in the broadcast media. [Alternatives: We greatly appreciate your stationís policy of refusing those ads, and we encourage you to continue that wise course of action. OR We strongly protest your stationís acceptance of commercials for hard-liquor products and we believe that such action represents a violation of the stationís public interest responsibilities as a federally licensed broadcaster. We call on you to eliminate hard liquor ads that run locally and Ė (for an NBC affiliate) Ė block the local broadcast transmission of any hard-liquor advertisements from network, syndicated or other national sources.]

Refusing liquor ads for broadcast has widespread public support in (city name) and across the Nation. According to a national opinion poll conducted between December 14 and 16 by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, an overwhelming majority (72%) of Americans support keeping network television free of hard-liquor ads. Most Americans (70%) agree that it is dangerous to have liquor ads on TV because they will introduce underage persons to liquor and 79% think that airing those ads will be a factor in causing young people under 21 to try distilled spirits.

There are many other reasons why avoiding liquor advertising would serve both (local stationís name) and the public interests. Too many influences (including broadcast advertising for beer) already promote drinking by underage youth. Comprehensive national research conducted by scientists from Michigan State University and the University of Missouri during the past five years confirms that hard-liquor ads on TV would significantly increase the pressures to drink on our Nationís youth. That study found that 15- to 20-year-olds who had greater exposure to TV liquor advertising were more likely to have intentions to drink liquor when older than those with lesser exposure to those ads.

Alcohol is by far Americaís number-one youth drug problem. It kills six times more kids than all illicit drugs combined, and underage drinking costs our country an estimated $52 billion per year.

According to the latest government data, nearly one-third of all 12- to 20-year-olds report using alcohol within the past month. Of those youth, nearly 20 percent binge drink. [add local data/anecdotes here]

Young people are especially susceptible to harm associated with drinking. The age of first alcohol use strongly predicts future alcoholism and dependency. Those who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics than those who wait until they are 21. Adolescents who consume alcohol are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, such as becoming sexually active at an earlier age and having unprotected sex (placing them at greater risk of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases). Alcohol use by young people also contributes to higher rates of clinical depression, academic problems, crime victimization, and sexual assault.

[(Station name) is doing the right thing for the young people of (city name) by refusing to accept hard-liquor advertisements. We urge you to stand firm in this resolve, and we offer our appreciation and future support of this principled position.] OR [Please donít join NBCís pollution of our children with liquor ads. We urge you to discontinue airing commercials for hard liquor, at any time, and to take action to block NBCís national feed of ads for distilled spirits. We look forward to meeting with you soon to discuss this matter.

Sincerely,
 

Click here to view action alert on broadcast liquor ads.

January 2002