The veterans boards from Butler and Warren counties have agreed to collaborate on radio advertising for next year, possibly splitting the proposed $90,000 cost.
There are as many as 26,000 veterans in Butler County, but only 4,915 sought services provided by the board last year. Because of that, the veterans board decided to team up with Warren County’s veterans commission to buy airtime to promote its services on several local radio stations.
Commissioners from both veterans boards met Monday morning and agreed combining resources will save taxpayer money and increase their reach.
“I love it when a plan comes together,” said Rodney Eversole, executive director of the Warren County veterans board.
Since Warren County has been advertising, transports for medical appointments have skyrocketed 250 percent from 1,225 in 2012 to 4,282 in 2015, he said.
Warren County has been advertising on 700 WLW and Channel 12 at a cost of $100,000 annually. Butler County got into the ad game in May, spending almost $52,000. There were talks between the two boards before Butler made its ad buy, but they broke down due to some confusion about what the proposed deal was.
Butler County is spending $31,975 on several Cumulus stations and $20,000 on 55KRC, a nationally syndicated talk station. The two boards asked their executive directors to get quotes for a $40,000 ad buy on the Cumulus stations and a $50,000 contract for ads on 700 WLW.
Butler County Executive Director Caroline Bier strongly recommended their Warren County counterparts join them on the Cumulus buy next year.
“Cumulus, everything is very personalized, I feel,” she said. “They are willing to do above and beyond just the standard contract. They do the Veterans Takeover on Veterans Day and we could get more personally involved with that, having vets participate and get to DJ for a few hours. It’s very personalized and they want to do more than just the contract.”
The ads will feature both veterans boards and Bier is going to look into, at Commissioner Dave Smith’s request, using one 800 number with the ability to press a number and reach either the Butler or Warren office, depending on where the veteran lives.
Bier said Butler County will probably consider having their own television ads if the board decides to go that route.
The Warren County office handles its own transportation — Butler County contracts the service — and they now have 10 drivers and vans compared to four years ago when they had one-and-a-half part-time drivers. Commissioner Bob Blankenship told the Butler County commissioners they will definitely experience a boom in business.
“Your business will increase and you may not like how much it increases,” he said. “Because it’s going to start costing you a lot more money.”
Butler County Commissioner Chuck Weber, who has advocated increasing the board’s outreach to connect with more veterans, said that’s what he wants to happen.
“It would have to really be bad for me not to like it because I think we’ve been going the wrong way,” he said.
The veterans boards are funded by a percentage of the general fund millage the legislature carved out to help veterans. Butler County’s millage brings in about $3.4 million annually but historically the board has budgeted $2 million or less. The remainder of that money reverts to the county’s general fund
Both boards will likely vote on the ad proposals next month.