July 20, 2016

Public Radio in Mid America
Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
July 20, 2016

Called to Order: 2:36 PM Eastern Time

Present: Christina Kuzmych, Regina Dean, Tim Eby, Neenah Ellis, Paul Maassen, Mike Savage, Dan Skinner

NPR/Station Compact

In response to proposed dates from NPR, the board selected August 2 at 1pm ET for a PRIMA GM conference call with NPR to discuss the NPR/Station Compact. Dan will confirm the date with NPR and promote the conference call to the PRIMA Membership. SRG members won’t be able to attend on that date but there was consensus not to wait til later in the summer or fall to have the call as it is important for PRIMA members to have input early in the process. Paul asked for links, info about the NPR/Station Compact to be sent to the PRIMA members prior to the conference call.

Tim reported that NPR has already shared info with SRG members via a conference call where they laid out several ideas.  Perhaps will be looking at a tiered system.  Smaller stations might get free programs but not have much input.  This won’t be easy.  They aren’t very far along.

PBS/NPR Convention Coverage

The board discussed concerns about the quality of the joint PBS/NPR Republican Convention coverage. There were issues with audio quality and problems with translating the television product into a radio product. Guest identification and other information was available for viewers but were not provided aurally which resulted in a poor radio experience. More attention needs to be paid to the radio side of the joint venture. Overall, board members felt that the first two night’s coverage seemed a bit haphazard.  The board wondered if PBS is the best strategic partner for NPR in providing the best coverage for radio.

NPR is aware of problems with the PBS/NPR Collaborative coverage as evidenced by an email from NPR’s Mike Oreskes addressing audio issues, editorial decisions and operational questions. Some board members felt we should communicate our concerns with NPR now and others felt it would be better to wait until afterwards. The collaboration is a work in progress.

NPR doing a good job covering the convention for NPR network. They have about 40 reporters in Cleveland this week.

Questions about NPM

Regina asked if other board members are having any difficulties working with and understanding NPM’s mode of operation. She wondered if her issues with NPM were based on her market size or if larger markets have similar questions.  Board members discussed how working with NPM compares to working with other ad agencies. Members shared questions/concerns about the mark-up for buys through NPM versus the station’s underwriting rates. It was suggested that Regina reach out to Jamie Kreegle the SVP of NPM for answers to her questions.

It was noted that while NPR used to have an in-house agency, it is now a separate organization. It is now a joint operation owned by WGBH, NPR, and PBS.

WWNO Reporter Arrest

Paul Maassen discussed how WWNO responded to his reporter being arrested while covering a protest in Baton Rouge. He was fortunate to be at a Press Club dinner when he received the news, and those at the dinner were able to offer him assistance. Paul said he informed his University about the incident and they advised him to keep them in the loop as the situation developed. The reporter was released after nearly 24 hours. In the following days the charges were dropped.

Planning for Spring 2017 Conference

Based on PRIMA member response to a survey, the board agreed to hold the Spring 2017 PRIMA Conference in New Orleans with WWNO serving as the host station. Paul suggests that we try and get Jarl for the spring conference. Dan will follow up with NPR to see when Jarl will be available. The target date for the conference is May 10-12. PRIMA is willing to adjust the dates in order to accommodate attendance by Jarl Mohn.

Paul noted that lead time to secure a hotel is important and will impact rates. Paul will work with NOLA tourism folks to see if they can help us leverage this.  They love to bring in media from outside of NOLA.

Paul says he had help in the past from the local stations and he wonders if he can bring someone on to pay someone to help assist with the planning and deal loose ends that pop up at the last minute. Paul says he will see if WWOZ is willing to co-host the PRIMA conference. Having two stations involved may help solve the need for additional help to organize the conference. Also, holding the conference meetings at a hotel instead of at a station should reduce the logistical concerns as they will be largely handled by hotel staff. Paul will put together a proposal and let us know what he needs.

New Business 

Mike Savage shared that WBAA is working with WFYI on a shared ATC host experiment.  A combination of live and recorded tracks are being used. The host is live when WBAA/WFYI have common places in which they need forward promotion. For localized content it’s recorded. The audio is being transferred through a fiber interconnect.  It’s more complex than he originally thought it would be but he is pleased that they were able to secure a good host host.  Mike said that once they get things smoothed out he’ll let you know how it works.

Paul Maassen shared that Dallas, Baton Rouge and MPR are in discussions to create a special about the shootings in their cities. It may air next week.  They will make it available to the system.  It’s in the incubation period right now.  It’s going to be a call-in and aired live simultaneously. Co-hosted.  Enthusiasm is high.

Meeting adjourned at 3:30 pm ET.

Neenah Ellis, Secretary

Scroll to Top