WFIU Community Advisory Board Meeting
DeVault Alumni Center, Metz Board Room
Monday, January 6, 2020, at 4:00 p.m.
Attending: Alain Barker, Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Alexandra Chamberlain, Judy Stewart, Lacy Hawkins, Lauren Dexter Burns, Abby Henkel, Nathan Watson, Sarah Taylor, Daren Redman, Matt Pierce, John Clark, Adrian Starnes, Miah Michaelsen, Sara Peterson, Hilda Andres, Brent Molnar. Staff: John Bailey, Eva Zogorski, Rob Anderson.
Absent: Quinton Stroud, Quincy Robinson, Catherine Winkler.
Alain Barker seeks motion to approve October 2019 minutes. John Clark moves, Carolyn Calloway-Thomas seconds. Motion passes.
Alain Barker calls the meeting to order.
Welcome & Introductions
Alain Barker takes a moment to solicit remembrances of longtime board member Peter Jacobi, who had died in recent weeks. Miah Michaelsen suggests a coordinated memorial involving WFIU along with the IU Jacobs School of Music, the IU Media School, and/or the City of Bloomington Arts Commission. John Bailey says he will initiate a conversation to gauge interest.
No members of public are present to comment.
Perry Metz Scholarship – John Bailey
CAB (Re)orientation – John Bailey
Overview of WFIU funding
Membership is trending upward year over year, and keeping pace this fiscal year, despite a slight downward dip forecast on account of political donations, tax law changes, and general economic uncertainty. Station has just shy of 4,000 members, 38% of whom are sustainers. Corporate revenue has grown by 20% over the last six fiscal years. Federal funding is due for an increase for the first time in a decade. State and University appropriations are stable.
b. State of the station and public broadcasting system
Terrestrial audience numbers have hit all-time peaks in the last two years. Streaming figures are holding at about 10% of the over-the-air average-quarter-hour audience. The website saw 5,000,000 visitors in 2019 for the first time; News and A Moment of Science each claim close to 40% of that traffic. In social media, the station enjoys 7,000 Facebook followers, and 160,000 Twitter impressions per month.
In terms of the health of the system, there are always haves and have-nots. NPR is threatening to upend the balance with a revised station compact that will alter the annual dues structure by basing program pricing on annual membership revenue. WFIU’s is slated to increase about 10% in Fiscal 2021; other stations’ are skyrocketing and might force difficult cuts. Numerous stations in the system, including some in Indiana, have no licensee support and no reserves; there’s always a risk that a major change in fees, or a loss of public funding, could force those stations in joint operation agreements with stronger stations, or off the air entirely.
c. 2015-2020 Strategic Plan progress report
John Bailey directs board to attachment recapping the five-year goals and progress toward it to date.
Manager’s Report – John Bailey
a. Giving Tuesday recap and spring drive preview
Our one-day drive on December 3 proved successful: 165 pledges, and nearly $25,000, in addition to more than $13,000 in match money. Spring drive is scheduled to occur before the next meeting – March 24 through 30 – with a goal of $100,000. A note is forthcoming about a WFIU CAB challenge.
b. 70th anniversary
WFIU’s anniversary year is underway from now until the birthday itself, October 1. Producers are collecting custom IDs from national talent, and oral histories from station alums. The hope is to stage two events – one in the spring with a national news/talk personality, and a music-focused event in fall.
c. Implicit bias training
WFIU host “Brother William” Morris, in concert with Building Thriving Compassionate Communities, led an afternoon-long training session for more than two dozen Radio-TV Services employees, concerning the underlying assumptions that can drive our behavior. Staff found it fast-moving and thought-provoking.
d. Impeachment coverage
Station is tentatively considering moving Senate trial coverage to WFIU2, out of concerns for disrupting main-channel programming in the midday and beyond for up to five weeks. John Clark says he expects blowback either way because of the political nature of the content. Abby Henkel recommends polling listeners to garner a sense of their preferences. Alain Barker concurs – saying it conveys an attentiveness to listener needs – and asks whether the station might run only highlights on the main channel, or a dedicated stream.
Alain expresses a desire to engage the CAB between meetings – not just to solicit meeting discussion items, but also to continue chatting on an ongoing basis about issues that arise.