WFIU Community Advisory Board Meeting
Monday, April 5, 2021, 4:00 p.m.
Attending: Sara Peterson, Sarah Taylor, Judy Stewart, Abby Henkel, Lacy Hawkins, Adrian Starnes, Lauren Dexter-Burns, Miah Michaelsen, Brent Molnar, Samantha Johnson-Helms. Staff: John Bailey, Mark Chilla, Eva Zogorski.
Absent: Catherine Winkler, Sharon Sung Andrews, Alain Barker, Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Nathan Watson. Hilda Andres, Matt Pierce, Daren Redman, Quincy Robinson. Staff: Marianne Woodruff, Brad Kimmel.
Abby Henkel seeks motion to approve January 2021 minutes. Lauren Dexter-Burns moves, Judy Stewart seconds. Motion passes.
Abby Henkel calls the meeting to order at 4:04 p.m.
Welcome & Introductions
No members of public are present to comment.
John Bailey introduces the newest member Samantha Johnson-Helms, the executive director for the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, and forwards a name of a prospective member, Michele Bergonzi, who was identified by the CAB nominations committee and has expressed interest in joining the board. CAB votes unanimously to approve. John Bailey reiterates committee’s wish to repopulate in time to replace the five CAB members leaving at the end of 2021.
RTVS Reorganization and Strategic Planning
John Bailey reports that Brad Kimmel is seeking a restructuring of RTVS, likely to comprise a streamlining of development personnel and of non-news multimedia content staffers into consolidated units. Also scheduled for this year is a strategic plan for each Radio-TV unit and for the building as a whole.
John Bailey offers an overview of DEI-related developments in the building and in the public media system. Brother William Morris, who you’ll recall led an implicit bias training for Radio-TV in 2019, continues to act informally as the station’s eyes and ears. During the drive he noted he heard very few people of color among the community members’ testimonials – and the station began to brainstorm names of folks who we might ask to participate for next time. He also suggested placing mobile recorders in the hands of school-age kids in communities that public radio is not reaching effectively, and have them interview one another, in hope of creating a connection with public media that no marketing effort can achieve.
We are getting an initial taste of a changing landscape in public radio music. In 2015, CPB started funding research into a new music format called Urban Alternative – a blend of dance, hip-hop, R&B, and indie rock, designed to attract younger listeners – and in February, the first public radio station with a full-time Urban Alternative format signed on in Denver.
The public radio system is responding to the changing times. In January, NPR hired Whitney Maddox as NPR’s first Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Manager – she’ll be part of the NPR Training team, which helps articulate best practices within the network and at the station level. In March, Greater Public – which offers stations nationwide consulting on fundraising and other development issues – expanded the role of Sway Steward, its Equity and Inclusion Advisor, to include advising stations on those issues. And, NPR is due to release research into why Black and Hispanic light users or non-users of public radio do not listen more.
The throughline here is that public radio as a system is feeling the tug of change. A question for the board to brainstorm is, What do you think we might appropriately do with our programming and our events to attract a deeper cross-section of the communities we serve?
Miah Michaelsen suggests putting together an advisory council or ad hoc committee that can provide the station feedback about programming for, and communication with, the community. Abby Henkel says her organization is actively seeking to infuse equity into every programming area, and can recommend IU resources for assistance. Adrian Starnes suggests a partnership with the IU Center for Rural Engagement to establish a presence in underserved areas.
Manager’s Report – John Bailey
a. Advocacy update
Governor Holcomb was awarded a 2021 Champion of Public Broadcasting Award at the APTS Summit in February. Meanwhile, Indiana State Public Broadcasting Stations continues to face a 15% cut to its state appropriation in the coming budget year. Our advocacy effort to restore the cut – which could force IPBS stations to absorb a total loss of about $550,000 – is ongoing via one-on-one meetings between station managers and legislators, and through IPBS’ longtime lobbyist Mark Shublak.
b. Spring drive recap
WFIU set a $100,000 goal for the March drive and came in above $87,000, about 4% short of the total reached in the last seven-day spring drive in 2019. The average gift was more than $170. About a third of the pledgers joined as sustainers. We took in 54 pledges during the end-of-drive $40-per-pledge match from the CAB, leveraging more than $7,700 in the last two hours.
c. Jazz in July
WFIU/TIU events coordinator Joan Padawan is seeking campus approval for an in-person Jazz in July series at Prebys Amphitheater. Plan B is a virtual series that may comprise live streams from performance studios and/or on-air broadcasts.
d. Ratings and research
WFIU enjoys its largest over-the-air audience ever! The most recent ratings book, released in March and reflecting the Fall 2020 survey period, finds an estimated weekly audience of 56,200.
National research notes of interest: The Edison Research Share of Ear study finds a plurality of time spent with all audio going to AM/FM – 39%, compared with 18% for streaming, and 6% for podcasts.
Public radio’s audience nationwide is not larger than ever, but, according to AudiGraphics, its core is stronger than ever.
e. Anniversaries and accolades
On March 16, a special Ether Game broadcast marked 50 years on the air! The anniversary was the subject of features in The Ryder and the Herald-Times. And, NPR’s flagship newsmagazine, All Things Considered, celebrates 50 years on May 3 – the network’s plans to observe the occasion are TBA.
Also, The Ernie Pyle Experiment!, the limited series of audio dramas that WFIU rolled out last spring and summer, was nominated for an Audie Award for Best Drama. The H-T ran a feature in February.