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WFIU Community Advisory Board Meeting

The Virgil T. DeVault Alumni Center, Metz Conference Room

July 11, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.

Notes Prepared by Shayne Laughter


Attending: Miah Michaelsen, Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Daren Redman, Laura Ginger, Pam Davidson, John Clark, Catherine Hageman, Alain Barker, Mary Hall, Sara Peterson (phone). Staff: John Bailey, Will Murphy, Brent Molnar, Eva Zogorski, Laura Baich, Nancy Krueger, Shayne Laughter

Absent: Janet Stavropolous, Lynn Schwartzberg, Lacy Hawkins, Perry Metz, Lewis Ricci, Charlotte Zietlow, Matt Pierce, Todd Nation (resigned).

Miah Michaelsen called the meeting to order.


I.            Welcome & Introductions – Miah

a.           Approval March Minutes

Motion by Miah, seconded by Alain Barker, to accept minutes from March 28, 2016. Unanimous approval, with changes to reflect attendance of John Clark and Lacy Hawkins.

II.           Report from the Chair – Miah

Miah M reports that all committees have met, including Advocacy, which had a great conversation just ahead of this meeting. All will have much more to work on after this meeting.

III.          Manager’s Report - John

  1. Bullet points from John

  • APHC – John B reports on the viewing party for Garrison Keillor’s penultimate broadcast – and last live hosting – of A Prairie Home Companion. It was a ticketed event at the SGIS Auditorium; the streamed radio show lasted 2 hours, and then there was a 1.5 hour encore, for which about 20 hardy souls stayed through. Catering included much rhubarb. FIU may take next summer to try out new programs in that time slot. John B reported that WFIU is committed to the APHC package of 13 new shows with new host Chris Thile and 39 Keillor reruns. The program will change to suit Thile’s strengths, including stories in songs, and no continuous acting troupe.
  • Programs – John B reports that two new programs have started: “Anthology” is a summer series of literary readings that will air at 1 pm on Sundays. It is locally produced, growing out of a show that WFHB had aired. The producer is Cynthia Wolfe. “Café Indiana” is a permanent addition to the Saturday morning schedule, an arts magazine half-hour that is kind of a revival of “ArtWorks.” Alain B compliments “Café Indiana” as “excellent so far.”
  • Storycorps – John B reports WFIU has just signed a letter of agreement with Storycorps, and they will bring their production trailer and small crew to Bloomington for a month beginning in late May 2017. This fall, a Storycorps leader will come to talk about potential local partners and the process of how people come to them to tell a story. FIU will market the opportunity over the air and will work with local organizations to get the word out to their networks.

Pam D adds that a Storycorps Chicago is airing now – there are always two voices in conversation. Carolyn C-T asks, what happens? Is there research? What’s the outcome? John B replies that all of the finished audio is sent to the Library of Congress; the partner station gets all the audio; some audio may be put on Morning Edition national broadcast, but WFIU has the option to use it however we want, within editorial guidelines. We can do our own special & podcast, as long as we brand it as Storycorps Bloomington. Pam D wonders if the public story-printing-machine in France was inspired by Storycorps.

Miah M says John B will figure out how the Engagement Committee can engage Storycorps here. Is there other talk of ancillary activities? John B reports that there is usually a first-week party, which could be moderately large; then a 3rd week listening party. John B says they will explore options on and off campus. We still need to know where to park the trailer. It needs to be visible, have power, and can’t be moved for 30 days. Carolyn C-T adds that town people need access, too. John B says that location options include the Monroe County History Center parking lot and the Showers complex. Alain B suggests the Art Musuem driveway. Pam D suggests Third Street Park. Sara P reminds that the Showers lot is also the site of the Farmers Market.

  • Office Renovation – John B reports that Radio offices & Newsroom will be swapping spaces. Renovations are set for mid-August to late October. This overlaps the traditional date of the annual open house – so that event may be pushed to sometime around Valentine’s Day. Miah M asks about the improvement to Radio facilities. John B replies that better radio production studios are part of the deal.
  • Travel – John B reports that a classical music tour of Europe is planned through Earthbound, a Seattle-based travel group. We are just waiting for the final agreement to be signed. John B describes the tour, which will be marketed to WFIU members. It will be December 3-13, for between 13 & 26 people, including George Walker. The deadline for registration is the end of October. Cost is $3,500/person, which includes a modest donation to WFIU. Miah M asks if this is a test run for more trips? Nancy K replies yes, and if this is successful, there will be more trips. Earthbound Expeditions web page:
  • Promotions – John B says if CAB members have noticed differences in station IDs and promotions, this is the Spark 3 project, to get NPR stations to remind listeners frequently that they may find get election coverage here, and to include the station’s dial position and a “positioning statement.” WFIU IDs itself by the Bloomington frequency every time, along with another frequency in rotation.
  • WBAA – John B reports that for more than a year, he has spent part of each day recording All Things Considered air breaks for WBAA in West Lafayette. As of Friday, that relationship ends, for beginning the next Monday, WBAA and WFYI will share a live host for ATC, located at Purdue.

  1. Question to CAB – What kinds of updates do you want to hear each time, beyond the Manager’s Report just heard?

Daren Redman asks for updates on parties and events. Some might slip by.

Pam D asks for news about podcasts. She finds it interesting that Earth Eats gets picked up a lot. Think about podcasts and revenue. John B replies that LuAnn Johnson will return soon and we expect to focus her on syndication, to distribute programs as widely as possible. WFIU has made them available for free on an FTP site, and would rather explore using PRX, to share for a fee. WFIU could also offer shows in a series or package. LuAnn would spearhead that.

Carolyn C-T asks to hear what’s trending nationally re: programs, since WFIU is trying to broaden listenership. She is mindful that committee reports may talk about this.

Alain B asks, in parallel to Carolyn C-T, what are the advances in station development, and how can it tie together with other topics for the big picture?

Sara P asks for updates from News, TV and Membership too.

IV.         Committee Reports

a.           Best Practices Committee – Sara reports that the committee met a couple of weeks ago and discussed trends on processes, per Carolyn C-T’s point. The primary project for the year is to help get the translator on line -- be a sounding board for that & for the station’s strategic plan. Their next meeting on 7/25 will follow up on this meeting.

b.           Membership Committee – Alain B reports for Lewis R. Their meeting was three weeks ago. The discussion focused on Columbus, and Bartholomew County’s fast growth, and how this impacts the station’s focus. Some committee members were unaware that there are 2 WFIU channels. If the WFIU2 stream is limited to Bloomington, how does this limitation translate into membership goals? The Committee’s discussion determined that Sustaining Members are not mentioned much in Fund Drive – are not overtly recognized. Can these donors be integrated into the Fund Drive as inspiration to others? Committee discussion was about how to meet membership goals & planning in general. What ARE the goals? Miah M in particular asked after goals for the Bartholomew County project. To what extent does that goal take priority over other areas? Alain B is concerned about traditions & stability of the station in areas that don’t get the 2nd stream. If there’s change in programming across the board because of 2nd stream, then what happens when areas don’t get the 2nd stream?

c.            Engagement Committee –Daren R asks if other CAB members got her email, because she met with only John B and Miah M. Daren R has contacts at Columbus Area Arts Council. John B & Daren R came up with ideas for a Columbus listener survey. They also discussed meeting with the arts council, partnering with Columbus Philharmonic for FIU presence, and other ways to contact corporate donors & supporters.Miah M says Engagement and Membership will get together for further discussion. Pam D suggests Columbus Regional Hospital Foundation as a big regional mover & shaker. Sara P notes that the Area Arts Council has a new Executive Director. Katherine H says that ED has been contacted by Yael Ksander.

d.           Advocacy Committee – Miah M notes that the committee met just before this meeting, and Will M and John B gave a great overview of IPBS efforts to connect with state & local legislators. CAB can support the IPBS meet & greet at State Legislature, like getting John B booked for a presentation to Legislators; engage the Legislature regarding IU’s bicentennial. It would be good to have Perry or someone guide CAB members on what to say to State Legislators about public media. John B cited the NPR effort to give supporters an inside tour of public radio in DC. Can we do that statewide? Alain B says don’t forget City officials! Miah M confirms the committee discussed City advocacy, but she knows there is no funding at the City level. WFIU is on the list for support, but is a lower priority.

V.           Strategic Discussion Items

a.           Bringing the new translator online – Update from staff followed by CAB feedback re:

i.             Broad timeline considerations

ii.            Process over coming year

iii.           Key stakeholders to engage along the way

John B reports that WFIU will soon shift the secondary signal, WFIU2, from digital to analog, on 101.9. Pam D asks when this will happen. John B replies that WFIU discovered you have year to sign on a new translator – which gives WFIU until August 23 to go live. The antenna has been mounted onto our tower, which is shared with WTIU, 2/3 of the way up, powered at 250 watts, which should cover all of Monroe County. We don’t know exactly how far it will go. There will be secondary & tertiary areas. Maybe Brown County and Bartholomew County, or it may be more compact. We will need field tests when it goes live; and we need that knowledge before marketing begins in earnest. Miah M asks what public announcement will be made? John B replies that once we know where the signal goes, we’ll have marketing materials ready.

Other things to think through: small programming changes. We don’t want a robo-radio station. Want more local, more live voices, so the host might be Joe Goetz from 5-9 am. We will need time checks & weather announcements, all of the live person stuff. We need to figure out how to localize for when most people will be listening. We don’t want to automate wall to wall -- any automated time needs to sound live. Do we include local newscast & features?

How do we describe WFIU2 in a position statement? We are counter-programming against ourselves all the time. Need to figure out how to cross promote between WFIU1 & WFIU2. And how does this change Bloomington-focused media relationships? We want those changes in place for a Labor Day rollout.

Miah M asks whether the two formats will be essentially as they are right now. John B confirms that the stations’ identities won’t change. Alain B says there is fine line with HD offerings, so how will WFIU market itself as a digital friendly station? How will WFIU drive people to mobile devices & computers? John B says WFIU will bundle that in. WFIU2 will also be available on digital radio, analog radio, & streaming.

Miah M confirmed that there would be a timeline with a splash around Labor Day, and that WFIU2 eventually changes to an analog signal. Potentially, things like focus groups could figure out how the two signals will differ. Either signal could be on a translator in a community, and different formats could be established for different communities – ie., tailor the stream to the community. Sara P says she and John B have started talking professionally about what planning processes need to be in place this next year. Miah M confirmed there’s a chance both will stay as they are, but there’s a chance the second signal could become different. So what process do we engage the communities in, to figure out how the two will differ? This process would be one year to 18 months in the future.

Alain B notes that if we have a main station and a secondary analog offering, is the second signal an add-on in value, or a counterpoint that is equal in power? John B says he hopes this is the beginning of the digital side channel going analog, and it will then take off on its own. John Clark says it is lovely to have the back & forth option. This guides public radio listeners throughout the day – nice to have the opportunity move between public affairs programming and music. There is too much standalone competition, would forego that synergy that has been a strength.Miah M says that in the 18 month timeframe WFIU will listen to focus groups, and look at how other stations have brought options like this to the dial – questions of identity and content. Sara P says the Best Practices committee will be looking at other stations around the country. Miah M says it will be a long conversation, and CAB will be crucial.

Pam D notes that some CAB not at this meeting would be horrified by the 2nd signal. She adds that WFIU shouldn’t lose the identity of being the broadcast home of the Jacobs School of Music – something that no other station around the country has – and that identity should be part of the marketing rollout. John B says the second signal is a chance for listeners to wake up to classical music rather than Morning Edition news & talk. Miah M adds that talk junkies can get on analog.

As WFIU adds and curates and optimizes programs, CAB feedback will be crucial. Who do we need to get engaged in this process? Mary H asks if there is a potential for the 2nd signal to gain more power than 250 watts. John B says WFIU would need an appeal to the FCC, and that could be a lengthy process. Tower height is a problem. Tower crew that will be working on this will also be working on installing a translator in Seymour. For the Engagement Committee: Seymour is halfway between Bloomington & Louisville. Miah M says CAB members from other communities are crucial to advise & discover what each community needs.

VI.         Next Steps & Other Business

  1. Next meeting: Monday, October 3, 2016?

This date is during Rosh Hoshana, but Miah says it will be worked out.

  1. Recognitions

Will M recognized Todd Nation’s service from Terre Haute; he is now stepping away to have a baby. Also, welcome Laura Baich, the new Marketing Director for both stations.

  1. MM will email between committees re agendas.

VII.        Adjourn

Miah calls for adjournment. Accepted, 5:05 pm.