WFIU Community Advisory Board Meeting
DeVault Alumni Center, Metz Board Room
Monday, April 8, 2019, at 4:00 p.m.
Attending: Sara Peterson, Mary Hall, Laura Ginger, Pam Davidson, Janet Stavropoulos, Abby Henkel, Adrian Starnes, Catherine Winkler, Alexandra Chamberlain, Lacy Hawkins, Miah Michaelsen, Lynn Schwartzberg, Hilda Andres, Alain Barker. Staff: John Bailey, Perry Metz, Eva Zogorski.
Absent: Matt Pierce, John Clark, Nancy Chen Long, Quinton Stroud, Daren Redman, Sarah Taylor, Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Charlotte Zietlow, Quincy Robinson, Brent Molnar.
Sara Peterson calls the meeting to order.
Welcome & IntroductionsSara Peterson seeks motion to approve January 2019 minutes. Janet Stavropoulos moves, Miah Michaelsen seconds. Motion passes.
No members of public are present to comment.
Spring drive preview and CAB Challenge
Messaging will strongly emphasize sustainer recapture, which is of particular import after the secure-giving challenges of the past year. And, this spring the station is launching the 1950 Sustainer Challenge, a campaign that will carry through as late as October 2020, the station’s 70th anniversary month. The hope is to have 1950 sustainers in the database, in honor of WFIU’s founding year. - Federal funding is currently not actively imperiled; there will be intermittent messaging, and not dire in tone.
Scheduling a $2500 challenge from the CAB for the 7 a.m. hour of Morning Edition on the final day – at last tally, $2150 had been secured from 11 members, with at least one pledge pending.
Prospective property purchase
Perry Metz: The last Radio-TV annual financial report has been recalled for review by the State Board of Accounts. A key point in dispute: whether revenue earned by RTVS (an IU department), then moved to an account managed by the IU Foundation (an independent entity), remains the property of IU, and thus should appear on the RTVS balance sheet. If not, then WFIU and WTIU might have to revise its NFFS (non-federal financial support) figures, on the basis of which federal grant money is awarded from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and refund tens of thousands of dollars to CPB. The University might also be on the hook with CPB for at least seven weeks of late filing fees, at $3500 per day. Sara P notes that the RTVS balance sheet could look dramatically different, and asks what the communication plan is. Perry M says he would be happy to offer an explanation to any curious party, and to post an explanatory note in the fiscal section of the site.
Recently departed from the station: producer Shayne Laughter in February, Nancy Krueger (as a post-retirement part-timer) in March, and two from the newsroom: Lindsey Wright and Becca Costello. Two senior staff departures to come this year: our CFO, Donna Stroup, is retiring this summer; general manager Perry Metz is retiring on September 30. Succession search plans are TBD.
Manager’s Report – John Bailey
Statewide talk show
In December, IPBS learned that the Regional Journalism Center had been awarded a three-year grant of more than $1.3 million; three days later, we got word of a two-year, $360,000 grant from CPB for statewide news. This meant three years of salaries for six current reporters that wouldn’t have to be shouldered by the stations; the ability to hire a managing editor with the assurance that the project will continue – and in March, IPBS landed one – Scott Cameron, who had worked on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” and as Managing Editor of a news collaboration based in Illinois; and the creation of a few positions – a bilingual reporter in Evansville, a business/economy reporter in West Lafayette, a videographer in Indy; a community engagement manager in Indy; and a host and two producers for a new daily, statewide talk show based in Indy.
The talk show host/producer search is down to three finalists. The show is projected to launch July 1, live each weekday at 1 on stations across the state, including WFIU2. The working title is “INState,” and the IPB News team is reviewing suggestions for a permanent handle.
Bob Zaltsberg joins the newsroom
Bob Zaltsberg, who retired from The Herald-Times in February after 33 years as editor, has a new part-time job: in the WFIU newsroom. He is leading a community-driven journalism project, City Limits: Bloomington. So far, the newsroom has answered listener-submitted questions such as “How does the cost of living in Bloomington compare to the rest of the state?” and “What is being done to improve transportation services in Monroe County?” The goal is to create an archive of weekly stories about Bloomington and become the place where people can go to get answers about the city.
NPR and technology
Shortly after the January meeting, NPR released its Smart Audio Report, which showed an increasing number of people buying and using smart speakers – the total number of devices in homes is increasing 78% year-over-year. In order to keep NPR front and center on the smart speaker, NPR has rolled out two new initiatives. The first is a video version of its hourly newscast, available weekday mornings to people who have smart speakers with screens (Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV Cube, Google Home Hub) – the network is hoping to learn whether adding enhanced visuals to audio measurably enhances the audience experience. Also, NPR has launched The Wait Wait Quiz, a weekly fill-in-the-blank puzzler, with questions based on recent news, a la Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. It’s NPR’s first interactive audio experience. This could reflect a slow merging of the radio and TV experiences – it’s an attempt to extend to new technology the things that have attracted people to legacy platforms.
In March WFIU received audience estimates for Fall 2018, and they reflect our second-best cumulative audience (“cume”) ever, and our highest Fall audience ever – 51,700. The previous high of 47,800 came during the 2016 election season. Most things were up across the board – AQH Persons, cume rating, the audiences during drive-time – except Time Spent Listening, which was down to four and a half hours per week – which is typical when the cume grows and more casual listeners tune in.
Next Steps & Other Business