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WFIU Community Advisory Board Meeting

Via Zoom

Monday, April 4, 2022, 4:00 p.m.

Attending: Lauren Dexter-Burns, Judy Stewart, Miah Michaelsen, Karen Gahl-Mills, Michele Bergonzi, Matt Pierce, Brent Molnar. Staff: John Bailey, Brad Kimmel, Eva Zogorski, Marianne Woodruff.

Absent: Abby Henkel, Adrian Starnes, Sharon Sung Andrews, Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Samantha Johnson-Helms, Nathan Watson, Alain Barker, Sarah Taylor, Catherine Winkler, Quincy Robinson.

Lauren Dexter-Burns calls the meeting to order at 4:03 p.m.

Welcome & Introductions
Lauren Dexter-Burns solicits approval of January 2022 minutes. Judy Stewart moves, Miah Michaelsen seconds.

Public Comment
No members of public are present to comment.

Introducing Amy O’Shaughnessy   
John Bailey introduces Amy O’Shaughnessy, who most recently was the membership director at Iowa Public Radio. Amy began serving in March as the first Radio-TV Services development director, overseeing membership and corporate development activities and spearheading planned giving and major-donor efforts.

Spring Drive Recap
Within a challenging fundraising context, we raised 95% of our spring goal of $80,000, taking in 97% of the projected number of donor gifts. The CAB’s $2,000 match (40 pledges at $50 matched per pledge) proved fruitful, yielding 49 gifts in the drive’s final two hours.

Strategic Plan Update    
John Bailey recaps the Radio-TV strategic plan process to date. Each unit within Radio-TV has met for SWOT/PEST sessions, and each station’s CAB has met as well, to lay the groundwork for a three-year strategic plan. Radio-TV managers have identified four organizational goals, each of which will be complemented by a set of goals, strategies, objectives, and tactics for each Radio-TV unit. The WFIU unit has identified its main goals, which focus heavily on renewing a commitment to localism in programming and events; diversifying staffing, audience, and programming; and being a leader in technology. The report will be finalized by summer, and will be shared with the CAB so that the board might assist in fulfillment of the report’s action items.   

Joint CAB “Summit”  
John Bailey offer a follow-up on a conversation opened during the WTIU CAB meeting in March. That board expressed interest in giving over some or all of its next meeting, Thursday, June 2 at noon, to a joint-CAB “summit” of sorts. That would allow both stations’ boards to witness where they converge and diverge, and to consider the benefits and pitfalls of a prospective merger of the two CABs.

Why a merger might make sense: WFIU and WTIU appear to the community to be two separate front-facing non-profit public media organizations, but behind the scenes share occupy one University department and share a great deal of staff: administration, business, engineering, development, digital operations, marketing, news – almost everything but non-news content.

What the leadership and roles of a joint CAB might look like: we would want the meeting structure to protect time for radio and TV in each meeting, and not let either service dominate. The boards would have some 26 active members between them and could give a role to everyone who wished to have one – possibly by setting up committees focused on areas such as content, development, engagement, and advocacy.

Manager’s Report
John Bailey offers an update on a handful of station developments:

Laurie Burns McRobbie is slated to join Noon Edition as a rotating third host. She’ll debut on April 29, and will begin appearing every second or third week beginning in June. She will not host on IU-focused hard news shows, but is likely to pursue topics she is knowledgeable and passionate about, e.g. women’s issues and AI.

The World, a public radio staple from BBC and WGBH, has just joined our WFIU2 lineup – it appears weekdays at 3, after Here & Now, which has moved to 1. That was the time slot of All IN, which was sunset this past Friday. All IN was discontinued for funding reasons; the IPBS board decided the IPB News product would be more attractive to future funders if it were slimmer in scope.

Sam Sanders has left NPR on short notice to join New York Magazine, where he will develop and host Vulture’s flagship culture podcast. Now, a program we added just six months ago in a prominent time slot (Saturday morning at 11) is somewhat in the lurch. The show continues with guest hosts as NPR seeks a permanent replacement. We will monitor and evaluate whether a change is in order effective October, when NPR’s new budget year begins.

In early March we received our audience data for the fall ratings period. Our cume was 38,500, very close to our average over the last five years – it can swing by up to 50% in either direction. The average listener surveyed spent about four and three-quarters hours with us each week (about 45 minutes a day). We also observed evidence that listening habits are shifting back to pre-pandemic levels: Morning Edition listenership was twice that of All Things Considered.

Due to a lack of access to Prebys Amphitheatre, which had hosted our Jazz in July series for a few years, and owing to the success of our jazz series this past September in Dunn Meadow, we have decided to “Swing in September” again this fall. It is to be determined what will become of the now-fallow Jazz in July brand.

5:08 p.m.