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WFIU Community Advisory Board Meeting

The Virgil T. DeVault Alumni Center, Metz Conference Room

Monday, October 3 at 4:00 p.m.

Notes Prepared by Shayne Laughter


Attending: Miah Michaelsen, Daren Redman, Laura Ginger, Pam Davidson, Catherine Hageman, Alain Barker, Sara Peterson, Janet Stavropoulos, Lynn Schwartzberg, Lacy Hawkins, Lewis Ricci, Matt Pierce, Beth Watson. Staff: John Bailey, Will Murphy, Brent Molnar, Eva Zogorski, Laura Baich, Nancy Krueger, Shayne Laughter, Sara Wittmeyer, Mark Chilla, Josh Brewer.

Absent:Â Charlotte Zietlow, Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, John Clark, Mary Hall, Perry Metz.

Miah Michaelsen called the meeting to order.


I.            Welcome & Introductions – Miah

a.           Thanks to Lynn S for food from OneWorld Catering.

b.           Approval July Minutes

Motion by Miah, seconded by ---, to accept minutes from July 11, 2016. Unanimous approval.

II.           Reports from Newsroom and Production Director

Miah M changes the agenda to put these reports first, since Sara Wittmeyer and Mark Chilla need to leave quickly.

  1. Newsroom

News Director Sara Wittmeyer reports on highlights from the past year. WFIU/TIU News won more awards than ever before: seven Edward R. Murrow Awards, the most prestigious for regional media, including Overall Excellence and Best Radio Newscast. News also won 22 awards from the Society for Professional Journalists. The Indiana Newsdesk entries were far and away best, even up against commercial TV stations.

News produced a half-hour documentary on Lee Hamilton when he won his White House Medal. News also hosted two Pakistani journalists for three weeks. They didn’t know what to expect, and learned a lot from the two women. Barbara Brosher just got into the Radio Television Digital News Association’s exchange program in Germany, for three weeks, studying German media, politics and society. News is partnering with Global & International Studies for two panel discussions about issues facing the next President, such as security issues. News got a grant to start a statewide network: two reporters on education, two on health; others on manufacturing and business; a digital editor, a managing editor; located all around the state, deep-diving into topics. It has been very valuable considering what’s going on in East Chicago – good to have someone reporting who lives there and understands the toxic soil situation.

Most recent accomplishment is the broadcast of Finding the Fix: Heroin’s Hold on the Heartland. The documentary premiered Thursday, September 27, on both WFIU and WTIU. News has been getting a lot of positive feedback. They partnered with reporters, schools and institutions in three states -- Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio – and involved students from Franklin College and IU. News is now working on a radio version to syndicate to other stations. The pre-broadcast screening event at City Hall had good turnout and a panel discussion after. Brent M interjected that the screening was great: People gave up a Saturday afternoon for this, and stayed afterward for a long discussion. All the takeaway materials were taken away. Sara W also made a resource guide and those were popular.

Miah asks whether comments on Fix are focused on subject matter or another element? Sara W replies that the focus of comments is the subject matter. Kudos to the team, they got into the science of addiction – what it does to the brain, that it’s a medical condition, opiod use changes your biology. Brent M says he is getting emails from professors who want to use it as class material. Also has sent out an email offering the show to TV stations around the state. Brent says he has commitments from Evansville & Ft Wayne. We have also made a nationwide radio and TV program offer.

Lynn S comments that, as a listener, she notices that some News announcers are not from around here – they misidentify and mispronounce places. Perhaps when it is a story about a local area, they need to run it by a local person. Sara W replies that they’re supposed to. Lynn says sometimes it sounds like they’re speaking about foreign places. Sara W asks the group to contact News if discrepancies are heard.

  1. Production Director

Mark Chilla reports he has been in the Production Director position for 10 months tomorrow. His main priority is to maintain consistent sound. The position began last year when the Public Radio Satellite System set new standards for loudness. Will & John wanted WFIU to be consistent with national standards. Mark C goes through everything we air, and adjusts it to be consistent. This has meant new standards for content creators, so all content matches standards. All producers are following along. New projects he has implemented: WFIU2 has installed little recorded bumpers at the end of each hour, to sound like there is someone in the studio. Lewis R comments that when he listens to WFIU1 or 2 online, there are lots of discrepancies in sound levels, but not on HD radio. John B responds that that is probably due to where the processing is happening in the audio chain. Lewis R says the stream times out frequently online, which doesn’t happen with other public stations. Janet S says that WFIU2 sometimes sounds scratchy on terrestrial signal.

III.          Report from the Chair -- Miah

The CAB challenge for Fund Drive has been $4,000 in the past – let’s do that again.  Email Nancy K with your pledge.

CAB needs to officially extend Board membership to Lacy Hawkins. Moved, seconded, unanimous approval.

With Todd Nation gone, CAB has a slot open. CAB members need to think of people to nominate. Shoot for diversity of viewpoints, geography, etc. Miah hopes that by January 2017 CAB has 2-3 more members. Sara P asks if Terre Haute is represented in CAB. Miah says No. Columbus is represented by Catherine H.

IV.         Manager’s Report – John

  1. WFIU2

The second channel is still running at 18 watts. The plan had been to go up to 180 watts on Labor Day, but there have been many delays – from the antenna manufacturer and the Public Utilities Board in Seymour. Now the antenna has been made & shipped, for installation on Thursday morning. Then we’ll know the reach & we’ll talk about it on the air WFIU1 a lot then. Been keeping quiet about it so far.

The crew mounting the antenna on the Sare Road tower will then mount an antenna on the Seymour State Police tower. WFIU plans to cross-promote WFIU 1 and 2. Break bumpers are in place on WFIU2. External marketing for WFIU2 will be in print, throughout listening area, bus wraps, movie theater ads, billboards, Facebook, spending more on marketing this than on all radio marketing in the past 2.5 years. When Fund Drive starts, there will be live on-air breaks on WFIU2. We’ll see how we do. We’ve never done 2 stations with concurrent pledge breaks before. Goal is $175K for 7 days: last year’s 150k plus 20k for the 2nd channel to help cover network fees. We must make it clear to listeners that their pledge supports having the extra analog channel.

b.           Fall Fund Drive Preview

Fall Fund Drive starts a week from Thursday. We won’t be doing “Cyberdays,” pre-drive, as it wasn’t driving new giving. We will still be priming the pump ahead of the proper Drive: give online & boost drive early.

On the Fund Drive Saturday, there will be a big prize promoted: Joe G went to PRPD in Phoenix and won a drawing for an enormous prize from American Public Media -- a trip for 2 to see Chris Thile host A Prairie Home Companion live in St. Paul. This includes airfare, hotel, and tickets to the show. This prize was meant to be a station’s pledge premium. On WFIU, Saturday’s donors will be entered in a drawing for the trip. However, that Saturday’s PHC is Thile’s first live PHC, so it will not have pledge breaks built in! Instead, WFIU will promote the prize every day and all day Saturday up until PHC show time.

Special promotions will include Five Buck Friday, Mug Monday, Pet Day. Laura Baich says that Pet Day will post adoptables’ pictures for shelters over social media.

  1. Renovations

John B reports on the upcoming space switch between News and Radio offices. That project has been delayed, but the bid was awarded, the materials have been ordered and work will start early November, for December completion – in time for the February 2017 open house.

  1. Syndication

While at PRPD in Phoenix, Joe G talked with an executive from PRI, re: taking Harmonia national. WFMT just wanted our money, demanded a $10k /year fee to syndicate. PRI is interested, so we will see what they offer – “cachet” of PRI is not enough.

WFIU has been distributing its shows via FTP for free. Moving to PRX, a file-sharing site, means stations pay for the show. AMOS will be the first show shared for a fee. Gradually WFIU will add Earth Eats, Night Lights, Afterglow, and Harmonia. This will be a new revenue stream. The shows may lose some stations, but convenience of use may mean we gain new stations. Miah asks about the timeline for this change. John B says he is exploring that this week for AMOS. He will be in touch with carriage stations re: the timetable.

  1. Public Radio Tech Survey

Results from the Public Radio Tech Survey are in. There were 300 listener-respondents in the WFIU listening area. Survey data show that FM listening is decreasing, a little bit at a time. 83% of national respondents listen for less than 1 hr/day. 50% of respondents are sustaining members at their stations. So, listeners are not experiencing us through a terrestrial signal. 75% consider FM their primary radio choice. Mobile listening is up. TV viewing is down to 79% nationally, 74% here. More than 50% say their TV is on demand. Demographics show: boomers still consume radio & TV. The bottom has fallen out among under-35 listeners – they are not using terrestrial.

Pam D comments that when she told people about 101.9, the response was euphoria! Pam D asks which PHC show package WFIU will present. John B replies that WFIU will air 13 new shows with Chris Thile, padded with 39 archival Keillor shows. Some stations are going all-GK. WFIU wants to see if Thile can come to IU Auditorium in a few years.

Matt P asks about the office renovation details. John B explains that News will be in 120 and Radio will be in 136, a switch.

Miah says that John B’s report was shaped by CAB member feedback about what they want to hear. So let John B know what you want reported. Alain B advises that much of WFIU’s future depends on collaboration with other depts. & schools.

Pam D said she is excited to hear Fund Drive on 2 stations.  John B says that will be interesting because Fund Drive starts so close to the date of 101.9’s full-power launch and publicity rollout.

V.           Committee Reports

  1. Best Practices Committee

Sara P says that John B’s report pretty much directly reflects the strategic plan. Best Practices Committee has focused on the 2 streams, exploring how other stations handled formatting changes. Committee has begun research among peer stations, have begun hearing from Rochester NY, Wisconsin, Columbia MO, more coming. John B, Sara P & Miah M are putting together a task force to create a timeline to explore changes to WFIU schedule, engagement, and marketing.

  1. Membership/Engagement Committee

Lewis R reports that these two committees have joined forces, due to overlap in charges. They had a phone meeting last week, between Pam, Beth, Daren, Carolyn, Lewis, and John B. Discussed launch of the second stream, its effect on membership, coverage area, pitches on 2 streams, cross-promotion between streams and platforms. Also had discussion about the WFIU focus on Columbus as a new membership area; ways CAB can be effective to line up exposure for FIU in Columbus. Committee discussed sustaining membership targets – WFIU lags behind national averages in number of sustaining members. Committee discussed strategies to engage sustaining members as “insiders” to the station, and tie in sustaining membership goals to Fund Drive.

John B asked if CAB can do recorded blurbs for Fund Drive. Those interested can contact John B or Josh B. Lewis suggested having CAB members live in studio during the drive, maybe for next Fund Drive, not this one. Alain says CAB members can speak out on social media. Miah M says it’s very important to have a station staffer next to a community member in studio. Lewis adds that someone representing a community – like Columbus – can be in the studio, pitching; overall the Station needs to open itself up to community involvement, demonstrating that we are in conversation with the community. Pam D notes that she gets sharable stuff from IU Cinema over social media, but doesn’t get the same quality stuff from FIU. She got some from TIU re Finding the Fix. FIU can do more of this. IU Cinema tells the weekly schedule, who are the guest speakers. Daren R asks, how does CAB sign up to answer phones for Fund Drive? Eva Z replies that she has been recruiting groups to sign up. Nancy K will email CAB about answering phones during CAB challenge.

  1. Advocacy Committee

Miah reports that the Committee met a couple of weeks ago: John C, Catherine H, Charlotte Z, John B attended. The priority goal for FY17-18 is to increase our Federal appropriation for the next fiscal year. Committee also wants to create a matrix of influence – who do you know in government? Legislators, organization affiliations, key elected officials – who do YOU know? Charlotte Z has agreed to pore over the election reports after January 2017, to see who’s giving to the people we need to reach. Staff will work on position statements for our elected officials. Messaging will be prepared for various conversations related to the station. Staff will help prep materials for presentations and quick printing. Brent M says APTS is the professional organization for public television – is there a comparable group for radio? John B replies, No. Miah says Committee wants to convene a joint meeting of FIU & TIU advisory boards, to talk strategy & advocacy. FIU in the past has done lunches for elected officials. Federal lobbying has been, in general, handled by TIU – so let’s add radio. IPBS has always done a meet & greet at the Statehouse in February – Miah hopes CAB can be involved & chat with the legislators you know.

Grassroots advocacy work will involve supporting FIU staff at fairs & festivals. The upcoming IU Bicentennial is an opportunity for advocacy; stations can develop a weekend in Washington around civic action.

Pam D asks about advocacy efforts towards Congress – can Steve Inskeep help us, since he’s a Hoosier boy? Miah M will check. Brent M says he has found that staff in Federal offices are big NPR nerds.

Miah M will convene at least one more time before the end of fiscal year.

V.           Next Steps & Other Business

  1. Next meeting: Monday January 9, 2017.
  2. Joint TIU/FIU meeting in late January.

Pam D comments that if it’s a fact that fewer people are listening to radio, the national level of NPR must be feeling it too. John B agrees that everyone’s worried. Pam asks whether any group is getting their arms around it? John B replies that NextRadio is trying to get an FM chip put in smartphones. Lewis asks whether consumption is just shifting? John B agrees that it is a shift. We don’t expect under-35 listeners to come to public radio. But how will they find us when they reach 35? There is no public radio channel on I Heart Radio.

VI.         Adjourn

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