How Out-of-Home Media Can Improve Public Safety

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This is a guest post by Jason D. King, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications & Marketing, Clear Channel Outdoor Americas.

On April 20, 2018 I attended the ceremony for recipients of the FBI’s 2017 Distinguished Community Leaders Award at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C., where Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO) was among a select few recognized by FBI Director Chris Wray for exemplary public service.

In particular, CCO was recognized for its work supporting the FBI and the local community in the hours and days following the tragic Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooting in 2017.

Today, a growing number of localities are embracing our digital medium like never before and turning to OOH as a no-cost way to communicate with the public, solve problems and enhance safety. As I pointed out to CitiesSpeak readers last fall – whether it’s providing critical information during a natural disaster or promoting an important local cause like childhood literacy, OOH is a vital tool local communities are leveraging to great returns.

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In the case of the Mandalay Bay tragedy, a strong partnership with local and federal institutions and quick responses helped maintain order and protect public safety. In emergency situations, cities should be able to use all the tools at their disposal to advise and protect their residents. Here’s how that happened in Las Vegas:

The Mandalay Bay activation — like so many of our other public service efforts — relied on the flexibility and speed of digital billboards. A relatively new innovation in OOH in the last decade, digital billboards are IP enabled allowing for delivery of emergency messages against contextual backgrounds in a rapid and efficient way. In the Mandalay Bay case, just moments after the FBI decided to activate our digital media, their message directing people to call 1.800.Call.FBI with tips was live on our digital billboards across Las Vegas.

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Some are still discovering this type real-time digital billboard activation is even possible. That’s why it’s critical to share this story – so other municipalities and their citizens can benefit. In fact, when Fox Business News Managing Editor Suzanne Halloran called me to verify the FBI already had digital billboards up across the market, she was surprised. Upon my verification, she replied, “I learned something today – great partnership.”

And here’s the critical takeaway when it comes to partnerships like these. To activate in a moment’s notice–like we did in Las Vegas—when time and public safety is paramount—you must have the relationships with the community and local officials in place “before” an emergency occurs. Thankfully, we did then, and, have for some time.

las-vegas-dcla-2017-las-vegas-clear-channel-outdoor-042018.jpgThat’s why the ceremony at the FBI, and receiving the Distinguished Community Leaders award, were humbling for me, and all CCO employees. Reflecting upon the occasion, it shined a light on the powerful synergy of mass medium and message that’s unique to the Out-of-Home (OOH) industry, and, one where CCO is increasingly bringing to bear smart technology used daily by communities and municipalities.

It’s partnerships like these and the joint effort with the FBI in Las Vegas that create a roadmap for further innovation by OOH and local communities and municipalities to enrich and improve people’s lives. We’re so honored by the recognition the FBI bestowed on CCO. But we’re even more grateful for the relationships with our local and national partners who collaborate with us in ways that enhance public safety for all.

Jason_King_Close_Up_No_Tie_APRIL_2016.jpgJason King, Vice President of Corporate Communications, Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, oversees and executes communications and media strategies for Clear Channel Outdoor’s 38 markets in the U.S., plus over 200 airport advertising contracts operated by Clear Channel Airports. An accomplished media strategist, Jason has developed innovative PR campaigns for new Outdoor media assets including; Sunset Millennium, Penn Plaza NY, Boston’s South Station, Reagan and Dulles Airports.