The story appearing in today's Hill newspaper is fundamentally inaccurate.
Burson-Marsteller was awarded a competitive bid contract in 2009 to support the FCC's efforts to educate and advertise the congressionally mandated switch to digital television.
Burson-Marsteller, and the approved set of vendors including its sister company Penn, Schoen and Berland LLC, successfully completed the work with the FCC on time and under budget. The contract allowed for $6 million, but only $4.36 million of that total was spent to complete the initiative.
Of the $4.36 million actually spent, most went for the media buy and to a long list of 3rd party vendors.
Penn Schoen Berland total fees for creation of the ad campaign were $142,000. The rest was disbursed to a media buy of $2.439 million that went to newspapers and local radio stations around the country and $147,000 to advertising production houses. Its total fees were $142,000.00.
Burson Marsteller received a total of $1,375,000 in professional fees to manage and support this time sensitive national and local effort with a large team of professionals. They disbursed the rest to firms around the country in local communities.
The remainder of the budget went to the following entities:
Balsera Communications: $90,000
Multiview Incorporated: $58,000
Strauss Radio: $43,000
Nine Sports Holdings: $5,500
PR News Wire: $4,700
Video Monitoring Services: $13,800
Marketplace Solutions: $8,000
Kaiser Solutions: $8,000
Perry Harper: $3,000
Impact Management Group: $8,000
RDW Group: $8,000
Arnold Group: $8,000
Main Street Strategies: $8,000
Meridian Pacific: $16,000
Strategic Public Partners: $8,000
Moore Consulting Group: $8,000
Saint Moore Consulting Group: $8,000
Larson Shannahan: $6,000
McNeely Piggott and Fox: $8,000
Arena Strategy Group: $8,000
Golnik Strategies: $8,000
Brylski Company: $8,000
Fink Communictions: $9,000
Hubbel Communications: $8,000
Steve Gibbs Consulting: $8,000
Burson-Marsteller and Penn, Schoen and Berland, part of a public company, is a bipartisan firm with thousands of employees worldwide, including figures like Charlie Black, Karen Hughes and Dana Perino. Mark Penn, who is Chief Executive Officer, was not involved in any aspect of this assignment, from the procurement through execution.
Background on the FCC contract award
Burson-Marsteller was awarded a contract by the FCC on May 5, 2009, after going through a competitive bidding process. Burson-Marsteller participated in the bidding process after learning of the "request for proposal" through the Fedbizopps.gov.
The contract was to support the FCC and help educate Americans about the congressionally mandated switch to digital television that was occurring on June 12, 2009. The FCC had determined that millions of American were unaware and un-equipped to meet this deadline.
Our efforts, with the FCC, was targeted to communicate to millions of Americans residing in thirty-two markets around the country. The initiative included an emphasis on seniors, minorities and hard pressed communities.