WFIU Community Advisory Board Meeting
Indiana University Radio & Television Center
April 30, 2012 at 4 p.m.
Prepared by Mia Partlow
Attending: John Bailey, David Bowden, Cary Boyce, Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Becky Cape, Pamela Davidson, Marty Donnelly, Laura Ginger, Peter Jacobi, Nancy Krueger, Nan McEntire, Mike McGregor, Perry Metz, Lewis Ricci, Lynn Schwartzberg, Janis Starcs, Judy Witt, Charlotte Zietlow
Janis called the meeting to order at 4:00pm. Minutes approved with no changes.
• Starcs: Some of the regular Ether Game players are disgruntled about the new format. Several people have stopped playing. The shift from classical to pop trivia is just not fun.
• Boyce: We have had complaints, but our goal is to add new players and grow the audience by broadening the appeal.
• Bowden: I think it’s a dumbing down. I found it insulting. The first time I turned it on the pronunciation and commentary were difficult to listen to. The second time I turned it on it was better.
• Bowden prefers two hour format to the one hour format.
• Jacobi turned it off as well.
• Ricci: You may not have a lot of players, but you might have more listeners who don’t play.
• Bowden recommends the game to students and musicians, so they can get used to identifying music, learn something about the pieces. He feels it’s lost the educational component.
• Cary assured the group Ether Game is not on the chopping block.
• Witt: It requires resources—phone answerers, researchers, a host.
• Boyce: the program has not performed well during Fund Drive.
• Ginger: The idea was that it would be syndicated eventually, right?
• Metz: Here’s a behind the scenes glimpse: Christina was upset about the high cost of production, including research, scripting, two live announcers, phone volunteers, prizes, etc. We had a conversation: if you’re spending that much money without a return, but you love the program, you should syndicate it.
• Metz suggested we could sell the scripts, rather than the recorded program, so stations could live announce and brand it themselves. But he thinks we missed the ideal window—before the recession and before the upheaval around public broadcasting funding.
• Ricci: would it be possible to syndicate it online? That might attract the critical mass of people you need, rather than a lot of smaller markets.
• Boyce: the podcast gets 30,000 downloads per month.
• Bowden: you could do a live broadcast online, about 30 minutes.
• Ricci: I think you could build community around the program nationally online, and then later get support from them.
• Schwartzberg: I think we should be having a conversation about how to drive online money to our station. I don’t understand the value of growing in that area if we’re not making money.
• Boyce: Growing online is about creating awareness, influencing their attitude about our brand, through content, and hopefully spurring them to action, through a contribution to the station.
• Boyce: we’ve seen explosive web growth. 52K hits per month, which is 2.6 million hits per year. We’re working to monetize that through google ads, and a National Public Media ad injection.
• Boyce: we need to be where our audience is and will be. Right now 20% of our web traffic comes from mobile devices. That’s only going to grow.
• Schwartzberg: but if our audience is moving to places where there is no natural revenue stream, we should be talking about it.
• Calloway-Thomas: since we have such a large mobile audience, does that mean we’re attracting younger listeners?
• Bailey: I’m not sure. Smartphones are growing, and young people are early adopters but I don’t know whether our web audience skews younger.
• Ricci: it seems that we have a local mission, and one beyond local. One pays for itself, the other doesn’t. I think we might revisit the mission statement.
• Metz: I will bring a copy of the mission statement next time. But broadly, the mission is that we are here as an educational and cultural resource for southern Indiana, the state of Indiana, and the nation, as an extension of Indiana university. It doesn’t mean that we shill for the university, but that through our content—news, classical music, other educational programming—people identify us as part of the university and we build awareness and credibility that way.
• Jacobi: we haven’t revisited our mission in 25 years. That’s why the board was founded.
• Krueger: I would like to see the radio mission statement be revisited.
SPEA Student Report
• Metz: we worked with 35 MA students from SPEA’s public policy program to create a report on “The Future of NPR.”
• The report’s executive summary was included in packets for CAB members.
• If you could like to see sections or the entire report, please let Cary know.
• Metz: They had several interesting suggestions. One of their findings was that we have an untapped group of interested students, mostly grad students and seniors, who are engaged with the station. We might think about reaching through a registration check-off.
• Metz: Another suggestion was that we can cross-reference the top 100 lifetime contributors with the people who have been donating the longest. Those people will likely be more open to a planned gift.
• Davidson: kudos to Nancy for those spots on planned giving. It’s all about raising the level of participation, no matter the percentage of the gift.
• Some of the technical issues have been solved. There was a faulty drive in one of the storage receivers.
• Recently completed a partnership with the African American Arts Institute to produce a special on the African American Choral Spiritual, Deep River.
• Boyce: Our goal is to create a Motown series with Charles Sykes.
• Earth Eats will be syndicated through PRX and through our ftp site.
• Artworks will go to a one hour format in July.
• Dick Bishop is producing a series of 13 programs called Standards by Starlight.
• John Bailey is producing a program on the rock era of songwriting called New American Songbook. He describes it as “Afterglow meets World Café.”
• Cary is hoping to strike a deal with NPR to bring Thistle & Shamrock back. He might be able to get it for a cheaper rate.
• McEntire: Celtic Connections is pretty dull. And as far as I found, there are no viable alternatives to Thistle. It has a monopoly.
• Artworks received a grant for $877 to support the ongoing Artworks series “Artist in the Making.”
• StateImpact funding is still up in the air.
• We are waiting on budgets and fee assessments from our national program distributors, including NPR.
• WFIU plans to move our fund drive to mid-October. The move will accommodate the Presidential election. It cannot be moved later in November because Membership would be overwhelmed.
• Many CAB members had comments about the move of the drive to October. If you have comments or questions, please email Cary Boyce.
Proposed Programming Changes: A Thought Experiment
• Please see attached pdf for program schedules and an overview of changes and benefits.
• There are two proposed schedules. They are generally the same, but the difference is in the placement of the small modules and the inclusion of newscasts.
• Calloway-Thomas: we have to keep the news!
• Ginger: I could do without Just You & Me
• Davidson: I’m happy Radio Reader is disappearing.
• Schwartzberg: it has a devoted following. You really get sucked in.
• Bowden: I think Just You & Me at 2pm is an issue. The primary focus has been attracting people who are winding down their day, going into news. If you have Fresh Air before news, you’ll lose that audience for Just You & Me.
• Ginger: And I like to listen to Fresh Air at lunch.
• Bailey: it is intended as a noon program. But we can’t do that at this station. But the idea is that blocks of programming—talk, music, encourage people to stay with us, and rewards people who listen at the same time every day.
• Ginger: can you move Ask the Mayor and Noon Edition? It used to be called Friday Edition.
• Ricci: on the proposed schedule we have national programming first thing in the morning. I think people prefer to get a local perspective first thing in the morning—school closings, etc.
• Bailey: Performance Today was originally intended as a bridge between music and talk. It has a 50/50 talk to music ratio.
• Schwartzberg: the audience information you have here says that Fresh Air is the third most listened to program. Why are we moving it? people don’t want talk from 11:30-1p.
• Bowden: I agree.
• Zietlow: I think noon is a good time for Fresh Air. You don’t have to have it at the same time every day.
• Bowden: we need time to digest this, and to read the rational. My concerns are that 1. The noon hour is better for talk. 2. Local programming in the morning does seem better. But, I do listen to Performance Today in the morning sometimes.
• Boyce: I want to hear all of your thoughts by email after you have time to digest the information.
• Witt: I would think carefully about how you approach this.
• Schwartzberg: I won’t listen to Fresh Air at 4pm. I’ll listen to WFYI. You’ll cannibalize your audience.
• Bailey: Our concern is that right now people can’t find it. they turn on the radio expecting to hear it, and hear something else.
• Peter Jacobi suggested holding more meetings per year, in the hopes that they might be shorter.
• Boyce: We’ll have another meeting in 6 weeks.
• Cary will be in touch about the next meeting.