WFIU Community Advisory Board Meeting
Monday, April 6, 2020, at 4:00 p.m.
Attending: Alain Barker, Abby Henkel, Miah Michaelsen, Sara Peterson, Hilda Andres, Alexandra Chamberlain, Judy Stewart, Lauren Dexter Burns, Nathan Watson, Sharon Sung Andrews. Staff: John Bailey.
Absent: Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Lacy Hawkins, Sarah Taylor, Daren Redman, Matt Pierce, John Clark, Adrian Starnes, Brent Molnar, Quinton Stroud, Quincy Robinson, Catherine Winkler.
Alain Barker seeks motion to approve January 2020 minutes. Judy Stewart moves, Miah Michaelsen seconds. Motion passes.
Alain Barker calls the meeting to order.
Welcome & Introductions
No members of public are present to comment.
The COVID Effect – John Bailey
Staff members are working from home whenever possible, with drive-time hosts on live and John monitoring in between. All are careful about keeping common-touch surfaces clean. A couple of part-time producers who are not technically self-sufficient are still coming in once a week. Station is attentive to hourly temp employees’ presence at the station not just because of distancing concerns, but also because of the accrual of overtime.
The COVID response on-air has included a daily Governor’s briefing; heavy coverage in newsmagazines, Noon Edition (via Zoom), and All IN, plus The National Conversation on FIU2 weeknights at 9. Morning music hosts are acknowledging their working from home. Online: a clearinghouse of local coronavirus coverage (stories and a live blog) online; the City Limits series expanded to a daily web presence; an interactive map of cases; maps that point people to free WiFi and free meals.
Temporary content casualties have included any productions that are close-quarters and multi-person, or which involve off-campus hosts/guests: Profiles, A Moment of Science, PorchLight, Poets Weave, Focus on Flowers. In some cases producers have worked ahead; in others, reruns are scheduled for the indefinite future.
Miah M recommends staff redouble its commitment to multi-platform arts content – including pieces that are web- and social-first; and that either Radio or News content address the emerging needs of people in the arts community during the pandemic. Alain B advocates for Indiana Arts Commission as a resource in the search for stories. Abby H notes an opportunity in a “news vacuum” for free, substantial news coverage.
b. Spring fundraising and budget concerns
The spring drive, scheduled for a week starting Tuesday, March 24, was scrubbed, as was a prospective one-day makeup drive on IU Day (April 23). Station has blocked out the weekdays between May 18-22, and from June 24-30; and is also looking at the viability of actively fundraising on a special Giving Tuesday, May 5.
Postponing fundraising altogether to the new FY makes the station vulnerable to not making budget, and forced to tap reserve funds. There should be access to some emergency funds from CPB, to which Congress allocated $75M (about an extra 1/6). WFIU’s share, and timetable for receipt, is to be determined.
Question for CAB: When and how during this crisis is it appropriate to make pledge appeals? Lauren D suggests including pledge links in newsletters. Abby H advocates for that as a source of passive income. Alain B says what’s crucial is how the pledge ask is positioned. Miah M, Abby H, Judy S suggest offering a value proposition. John B says the station’s messaging will be sensitive to the situation; and timing of a standard drive will be influenced by staff and volunteer availability, and by guidance from NPR and from colleague stations around the country. Sara P and Abby H urge caution with making budget needs central to messaging when so many people organizations are struggling.
An anniversary appearance by Robert Siegel was being firmed up for June, then was scuttled with the shutdown. Jazz in July has been cancelled alongside all other IU events through the summer; four of the five scheduled artists have been penciled in for a prospective “Swing in September.”
A performance by Sylvia McNair is still planned for the actual 70th anniversary date, October 1; venue details and event logistics have yet to take shape.
Question to CAB: when might we resume planning in-person station gatherings? Miah M estimates Labor Day as the earliest something might be scheduled, but notes the situation is fluid. Alain B says the University will help define the possibilities.
Question: What types of events, in-person or virtual, would you like to see us stage? Alain B says WFIU should think about how the station can partner with organizations staging events as the reopening occurs. Judy S recommends starting with outdoor events. Hilda A suggests virtual partnerships with organizations outside of Bloomington.
Manager’s Report – John Bailey
CAB referred to the agenda for more information about The Ernie Pyle Experiment and Fall ratings.