WFIU Community Advisory Board Meeting
Indian University Radio & Television Center, Faculty and Staff Lounge
June 1, 2009
Prepared by Josephine McRobbie
Present: Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Becky Cape, Jane Clay, Laura Ginger, Peter Jacobi, Nancy Krueger, Christina Kuzmych, Nan McEntire, Michael McGregor, Janis Starcs.
Janis called the meeting to order. The Board made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting with one change – Michael and Becky were at the last meeting, Jane wasn’t. Peter seconded.
• Our programming costs are under control.
• NPR, APM, and PRI have not raised their fees. However, NPR is in its third round of cuts.
• We have cut costs for all in-house programs and added repeats to some (making it 26 new episodes a year for some weekly programs instead of 36).
• We are investing in some new programs: Annie Corrigan is working on a Menahem Pressler special, we also have a Thanksgiving food show in the works with Daniel Orr, Krista Detor, and Tom Roznowski, a Latin American Christmas special, a Harmonia Christmas special, and possible specials featuring Vince Guaraldi. Pending funds, there may be a special on David Baker.
• All of these are WFIU on-air productions created within the scope of the producers’ assignments. They could generate some money for us in distribution and syndication. When selecting programs for syndication, we look at broad topic demand/interest, resources we have available in-house, as well as possible grant funding.
• The on-air sound continues to be plagued by glitches. Part of the problem is new equipment and equipment updates that we can’t currently afford (around $30,000).
• Jane: Can you address this issue during Radio Public? Listeners likely aren’t aware of the equipment needs, and it would shed new light on the situation.
• The State appropriated $3.5M, with half a million for radio. This half a million is split between the 8 public radio stations.
• This year, the amount wasn’t given to us in a lump sum, it was split into quarterly payments. We received the first 3 payments, the 4th quarter was held back. We are not expecting to get 4th Q back.
• Other organizations were cut by 8%-18% for the year, but we were zeroed out.
• If they give us some of the money back for 2010, it could be cut by 50%, the Governor could also choose not to distribute it.
• Indiana public broadcasting has strong support in the House and Senate. Our problem is with the Governor’s administration.
• When TV is cut, it’s more extreme because they have higher costs.
• Two months ago WFIU decided to schedule a short online fund drive, driving people to the Web in promo spots between programs. We are at $20K, with a goal of $40K.
• Michael: Are you looking for new members or additional gifts?
• CK: Both, and year end gifts.
• We’re on track with corporate, but it’s starting to show cracks. Next year will be iffy at best.
• Part of our shortfall results from reduced retirement accounts. Our number of members hasn’t gone down, just the amount of gifts.
• Compared to some other stations, WFIU is doing well. WFYI let go of 3 people, and Miami of Ohio have turned over their station to the Cincinnati public radio station. Several TV stations have gone dark.
• Nan: What can we do?
• CK: Write letters to the Governor, to representatives like Vi and Peggy who have been supportive of us, to editors of newspapers.
• Janis: What role does politics play in this?
• CK: On a national level, a large role, since we have cyclical turnovers in Congress and the Presidency. This affects the tone of the conversation on the Hill, and hence CPB appropriations. Perhaps a little less in Indiana, where stations have built a strong support for public broadcasting and hope to retain it. Support is strong on both sides of the aisle, with strong Republican support everywhere except at the Governor’s desk. As expected, there are always some individuals who can’t abide public broadcasting at any level, but these are few and far between. Also, most politicians are keenly aware of upcoming elections and their need to please the public. Tinkering with Morning Edition or ruffling Big Bird’s feathers isn’t the best idea for re-election time.
• Vivian Schiller, the new NPR chief and former digital head of the New York Times, is very tech-savvy. This is causing a little trouble with some station managers because she’s not cutting as much staff and resources in NPR Online as she is in terrestrial radio. Her view is that now is not the time to cut online initiatives because people will need content as they move more and more into the online world. We won’t be serving the public if the public is drastically changing its media habits. The overall NPR mantra these days is “retain and perfect legacy radio, invest in compelling content and new platforms.”
• Nan: My students catch most of their programming online. They love This American Life, and there were a lot of people at the movie showing.
• CK: That is a common scenario. More and more young listeners are tuning in to public broadcasting but not on radio or TV. The content isn’t being lost, just the delivery method.
• Janis: There will be a trend of less long-listening, as people jump from podcast to podcast.
• CK: That is true. Individual attention span is decreasing. This is alarming in many respects, but has to be addressed.
• We’re also working to sell ads online, similar to newspaper websites. FCC regulations governing on-air underwriting do not apply to Online.
• Community Minute: Seems to work even with the short length. All episodes are online, and we plan to build out more with information about how to donate and volunteer time with the organizations mentioned. Right now, the focus is on organizations we are able to get in-studio. Josephine plans to make a visit to some of the translator communities soon to tape with local non-profits. Working on keeping the client’s voice prominent in these programs.
• Nan is working on an event with Tom Roznowski for his book release in Terre Haute. WTIU’s next Our Town is also focused in Terre Haute.
• Doug Wissing is reporting from Afghanistan for us for a program called Cultivating Afghanistan. We already have two reports from him. This trip is a trail run. He will go back in December or January, and we will try to get sponsors and IPBS involved then.
• WFIU raised over $2,000 at the most recent music sale!
Gifts and Grants
• DeHaan renewed their grant.
• Nakamichi is cutting back, we’ll have to see what we get from them.
• We send in a proposal for the AIC American Masters program on David Baker.
• The grant-funded AMOS video podcasts are coming along, and are really fun.
• We’re waiting to hear about possible Poet’s Weave support.
• Al Cobine passed away, and we are establishing a fund in his name.
• We’re working on a W. Baden overnight event with Tom Roznowski, with bus transportation to event.
• Working on a possible event with the Art Museum for mid-June.
• Nan: Have you ever looked into Nick Spitzer’s American Routes program? I’m not a fan of the Folk Sampler, people might enjoy something with more diversity and commentary. It’s an excellent program.
• Janis: Folk Sampler is a little bland
• CK: Due to listener loyalty, we need a good reason when we replace a program. Will look into.
• WFIU signed the streaming agreement with Sound Exchange.
• We can’t pre-publish most music pieces in the guide or on the website, as record label execs think people will record off the radio.
• WFIU got away with it in the past because we were grandfathered in.
• We have bought the rights to some recordings, though. Are working with the IUJSOM to get rights to their recordings.
• September 14th
• Fund Drive (TBD)