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Public-Service Goes Barter

The nationwide trend in syndication to offer shows on an all-barter basis has crossed into the world of public-service programming. Local stations around the country have been coughing up cash for public-service campaigns developed by Boston stations for years, but WCVB-TV’s “Family Works!” is the first being offered for barter.

The Hearst-owned WCVB has locked in Heinz, USA, as national sponsor for the campaign, which will include spots and original programming celebrating the diversity of families and championing family values. The package, being offered at NATPE, will allow stations to run the campaign as “a virtual turnkey operation,” according to WCVB general manager S. James Coppersmith.

Local stations will be able to add their own sponsors to the package. In Boston, the campaign will be sponsored by McDonald’s Restaurants and John Hancock.

Already on board for special broadcasts on the two-year campaign are Ann Jillian and Olympia Dukakis. Jillian will host “Family Works!” which tells three stories of family life. The show is set to go either as a half-hour special or as vignettes that can run within a locally produced hour.

The campaign kicks off in Boston Jan. 20 and will be available for national syndication in September.

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