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WFIU Community Advisory Board Meeting

The Virgil T. DeVault Alumni Center, Metz Boardroom

July 10, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.

Notes Prepared by Shayne Laughter


Attending: Miah Michaelsen, Laura Ginger, Mary Hall, Lynn Schwartzberg, Alain Barker, Charlotte Zietlow, Pam Davidson, Daren Redman, Sara Peterson, Janet Stavropoulos, Matt Pierce, Catherine Hageman Winkler, John Clark, Carolyn Calloway-Thomas. Staff: Eva Zogorski, John Bailey, Shayne Laughter, Nancy Krueger, Brent Molnar, Perry Metz.

Absent: Lewis Ricci, Lacy Hawkins

Miah Michaelsen called the meeting to order.

  1. April 2017 Minutes


Charlotte Zietlow moved to approve; Janet Stavropolous seconded. Unanimous vote to approve.


  1. Report from the Chair


Miah M reported that she had a chat with Sara P, John B and Perry M to discuss how CAB can be more effective at supporting Membership, Fundraising, and Feedback. Otherwise, the Report was deferred to proceed to Manager’s Report. Miah M did ask Nominations Committee to stay after for a few minutes to set next meeting.


  1. Manager’s Report – John Bailey


  1. Update: host/producer transitions

July 14 is Annie Corrigan’s last day as a full time Producer/Announcer. She will be part time through the end of August, to cover production for Earth Eats and train the new Producer. She has been here 13 years, and FT for nearly 7 years. She became the Morning Edition host 5 years ago.

Radio has 35 applications to review for 2 FT jobs. The hope is that the jobs will be filled by mid-August. This has been a national search, and the candidates are between very good & excellent. In-house talent will help cover the gaps while new people are trained. Radio is looking for on-air broadcast experience, but many candidates have more related experience in video.  Carolyn CT – How does the diversity of applicants look? John B – We are mindful that we lost 2 women; Radio definitely wants a mix of voices on the air.

John B confirms that Radio’s priority for the two new Producers is content creation, and to host in a public-radio-appropriate way.

  1. Arts programming

Profiles is now reformatted to be a magazine show. Interviews, sound-rich features, Story Corps stories, etc. More like Fresh Air or NPR-style news magazine. One of the new Producers will work on that, and be the producer/host/editor.

  1. StoryCorps

The Airstream studio pulled out 2 weeks ago. The stay felt like a real success. The listening party at Yogi’s overflowed their space. One Bloomington story got national airplay on NPR: the triplets from Project School.

What was meaningful for John B was that WFIU met and exceeded a Story Corps benchmark: Since the program is CPB funded, they wanted a rich cross-section of voices. WFIU reached out to dozens of community organizations to market the interview opportunity. As a result, more than 60% of the Bloomington stories came from these outreach communities. Every story makes it into the American Folklife Center archive at the Library of Congress. Few will find their way onto the air. WFIU will air the best 25-40 stories on Profiles. Those 24-40 “best” stories will become a special podcast of Bloomington Story Corps stories. There were 150 appointments, snapped up incredibly fast.

A real success for the City, and for everyone.

  1. Departmental Updates

    a.   Membership and major gifts

Nancy K reports being “pleasantly surprised” by all of the activity in Gifts over the past fiscal year. These gifts included: 3 calls from lawyers re gifts from strangers; 2 new charitable gift annuities for $12K; 2 realized bequests, for $109K; WFIU signed a gift agreement to bring a $100K bequest to News; another for $350K to be matched by IU, for regional & national news coverage. She has also been raising funds for internships: 1 recent agreement was for $50K matched by IU, supporting 2 internships in News. A $10K gift came directly to the News Endowment Fund. Another documented gift in a will, split between FIU & TIU, with $44K for FIU. Total activity so far is $675k. She is working on 4 other pending bequests.

Pam D praises Nancy K’s on-air promotional spots as instrumental in attracting those gifts. She encourages all CAB members to include a percentage of their TIAA CREF as a bequest to WFIU. Miah M adds that this very thing will be discussed in future meeting, to create talking points about supporting the station aside from Membership and Pledge Drive.

Eva Z reports that this has been the best fiscal year to date for individual support for both WFIU and WTIU, but especially for radio, which surpassed $600k for the first time. This exceeds the goal by $46k or 8%, a 7% increase over FY’16. WTIU had similar increases. We continue to see growth in our sustaining memberships with $180k raised in FY’17. This was $50k more than the prior year, and 30% or approx. 1,200 donors are now sustainers. This will continue to be a focus of Membership in FY’18 with greater efforts in credit card recaptures, upgrading and engagement opportunities. We will also be looking to expand digital fundraising (email, web, social media); dollars raised by email more than doubled in FY’17 for WFIU. Also looking for new opportunities to engage a younger base of donors as WFIU looks to expand its audience via programming.

Sara P asks whether some of this is the “Trump Bump.” Are we ahead of the curve? Do we know? Eva Z says there is no way to know, as all NPR stations are seeing some success. Miah M – Or is it the 2nd station effect? John B – We’ll know in August whether the gains of the spring have been sustained. Eva Z – People say they love the 2nd Channel but their financial support is reserved for the 1st. This was common in solicited comments.

John C – Wants to address the distinction between classical & news/talk. How does each format reflect the Trump Bump? We see the increased importance of news & information. Pam D – The increase in News support also validates the quality of the News content. Eva Z- We can’t say the increased support results from any one factor. Pam D – News fatigue means people downsize their intake, towards quality. John B – we are also a refuge from the news, via music programming. Alain B – The increased support means it’s quality programming, not just cultural programming. We mustn’t talk about the classical/news formats as if they are the only markers.

b.   Corporate development

Marianne Woodruff could not attend, but left notes. Over the past Fiscal Year, WFIU set most their ambitious annual goal ever – and it was met in June with $335K in Corporate Partnerships. TV met their Fiscal Year goal in May. WFIU Corporate Support for the next Fiscal Year includes the new territory opened up by WFIU 2. The 2nd channel has done very well in Bloomington; now it needs to crack Terre Haute, Columbus & Seymour, where both channels are heard.

c.    News

Sara Wittmeyer could not attend. Her Notes: Lindsay Wright is moving on, out of her Morning Edition host/reporter spot, to a multi-media journalist position at WFIU. The Regional Journalism Hub is firmly embedded in newsroom – but now Sarah Neal-Estes, Editor, has moved on to be News Director at WFYI.

Both statewide Education reporters are also moving on: Claire McInerny is going to KUT in Austin, and Peter Balanon-Rosen is leaving to work for Marketplace Weekend in New York. This is how things go – young professionals get their wings here, then move on.

During the 2017 Spring-Summer Award season, News won 7 Edward R. Murrow awards, 2 national awards, and 4 Public Radio News Awards. All in all, Indiana Public Media News brought home 65 awards this spring & summer. Also nominated for an Emmy for Finding the Fix special.

Coming up, Indiana Public Media News will air a documentary this fall about the Public Defender system in IN.

Alain B asks if there are links between the newsroom and research activity at IU. John B replies that there are contacts in place, but no focused connection. IU Communications folks send releases. Brent M -- We use all of the experts here in town to tell a larger story. Charlotte Z -- But most of us have no idea what’s going on in research at IU. John B -- News draws on IU experts for interviews, etc. There is a symbiosis.


  1. Weekend programing – John Bailey

Car Talk ends on 9/30. It will be missed. NPR is providing support materials to help stations and listeners through the mourning period: farewell promotions, a farewell letter from Ray Magliozzi.

What should replace Car Talk? This is a pivotal time slot, highly listenable, bringing listeners from News into entertainment, comedy and quiz shows.

WFIU has 5 possible replacement programs. John B has created a Survey Monkey to send to general membership: listeners can click, listen to clips, and give feedback on the options. 3 shows come from NPR podcasts: Hidden Brain, a science show; It’s Been a Minute, a weekly news/culture wrap-up; 2 podcasts as 1 show: Planet Money and How I Built This. We could also promote Ask Me Another, from its Sunday WFIU2 slot, or promote Profiles as our signature Arts programming. Or, extend Weekend Edition by another hour.

Carolyn CT – What factors will make the decision? John B – Board feedback, Listener feedback, price, sound – sense of flow. What’s best at 10 AM Saturday? Lynn S – How about we move Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me into the Car Talk slot, then use Profiles to gateway into Live at the Met? John C – He is also a fan of Wait Wait, feels it would draw people to the dial and they would stick. Laura G prefers leaving On the Media on Sunday. Alain B -- Is 1A is being moved to a weekend slot? John B -- Since it’s a live daily 2 hour call-in show, the not-live slot would not work.

Miah M – So how should Saturday morning feel? Janet S – Keep it light, after Weekend Edition. Miah M -- I’m hearing keep it light & informative. Carolyn CT – That would meet expectations for the Car Talk slot: light & informative. John B – WFIU2 delivers classical music all through Saturday morning.

Janet S – How’s the Chris Thile Prairie Home Companion going? John B – It seems to be doing very well. Pam D praises the Saturday night extension of Soul Kitchen. Charlotte Z asks for any information about the new hosts for the Friday and Saturday Jazz Overnight programs. John B – There are several hosts in rotation. We take the WFMT programming designated for those 10pm – overnight hours. If we particularly like or dislike somebody, we could shift our focus to a specific host.

  1. Brand awareness – John Bailey


The CAB packet contains the 2017 public radio brand awareness report compiled by the Public Radio Program Directors Association and Coleman Insights, from a survey taken in Fall 2016. The survey sample was 1000 people, 20 cities, 25-64 age range. Participants were required to listen to at least one hour of listener-supported public radio in the week before taking the survey, no matter whether the station format was news/talk or classical music.

“Unaided awareness” of public radio is very low. 99% of those surveyed could name one commercial station, but fewer than 30% could name a public radio station.

Negative impressions were low – only 4% felt Public radio was boring or liberal or elite, or only for old people. But there were no overwhelmingly positive responses, either, because knowledge of public radio in general is low.

The report concludes that public radio stations should frame themselves & make their value/programming clear. Make it clear that public radio is listener-supported. John B asks for CAB recommendations in how to start doing that work.

Charlotte Z – How do people find out about radio stations? John B – External ads in other media, word of mouth, or casual discovery on the dial. The WFIU table at the 4th Street Fair learned that people look for good radio between 88 & 92 FM, but don’t go up as far as 103.7. Pam D – We could get businesses to use WFIU as their hold music.

Lynn S – We need a creative way to reach the next generation of listeners. I employ 18-20 year-olds, and they don’t have a clue about our station, or what’s happening in the world. How do we reach out? Student Orientation events? Daren R – How do we get WFIU info Orientation packets? Laura B – The Provost has announced that starting in Fall 2017, all incoming students are subscribed to WFIU mobile headlines list.

Sara P – She was just listening to Fresh Air, and the person being interviewed had to Google “NPR” to find out what it was, what Fresh Air was - he didn’t know public radio existed.

Brent M – Maybe have more listening parties? John B – Since he teaches a media marketing class, he asks his students every semester -- do they wake up to an alarm clock radio? Have you listened to radio today? His students know PODCASTS. Right there is a public media content connection, but they don’t know how to find Morning Edition.

Brent M – The situation is the same on the PBS side. People will consume the media, but it has to be on their platform.

Alain B – My kids get their news from Snapchat. Matt P – All the kids use on-demand content. Their position is, “Why would I let somebody else tell me what to listen to?” So the WFIU brand is a waste of time. John B – That doesn’t address the value of LIVE content.

Carolyn CT – Asks John B: Have you followed up with your students, have they changed their behavior?

Mary H – There is the emergency use of radios, and the local news and information component.

Carolyn CT – But why should young people care about radio? Brent M – They connect with content, so doing something social around content is a way to drag them in the door.

Alain B – Radio has to be community-focused, but to increase market share, you’re talking about a small increase, not a substantial increase. Focus should be: Where can people find the content they want?

Charlotte Z – Are these statistics similar in different states? John B – The statistics in the Report say more about college towns and certain big cities. The Less-educated/affluent places are not aware or engaged with public radio.

John C – He has heard lots of talk at national events about gaps in news coverage, reflecting the loss of newspapers. This has created a vacuum and an opportunity.

Pam D – I wish there were a conduit from News to public schools, to junior high and high schools. Something teachers could use as a resource. Charlotte Z – Yes, because schools don’t teach civics anymore.

  1. Next Steps & Other Business

    1. Next meeting: Monday, October 2, 2017

Members should watch for the email Survey Monkey about Saturday programming. Nominating Committee stays for their meeting coordination.

  1. Adjourn

5:05 pm.