October 19, 2016

Public Radio in Mid America
Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
October 19, 2016

Called to Order: 2:30 PM Eastern Time

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

Paul Maassen led the meeting at Dan Skinner’s request as Dan was calling in from the road with intermittent cell service.

PRIMA Conference Planning

The PRIMA conference will take place in May. Jarl Mohn can’t attend but others from NPR could attend. Having Jarl attend via conference call will be explored with NPR.

Paul Maassen has spoken to the Ritz Carlton in NOLA, they have suggested dates May 15,16. Their best rate is $199.00.  Conference rooms are at no charge but there will be other costs for food, audio-video needs, etc. Paul is going to look into cheaper hotels and working on discounts but he notes that hotels are generally expensive there. The dates of May 16th and 17th will also be explored with hotels to find the best rate.

The board recommended that PRIMA get the word out early about available scholarships. The announcement can be made after the dates for the meeting have been established. Discussion about the PRIMA conference included a question about PRIMA subsidizing room rates. Perhaps for early registration? PRIMA has a healthy financial reserve, so it would be possible, but there was no consensus about the idea.

Dan Skinner reported that some preliminary conversations about conference speakers, but until the dates for the PRIMA conference are firm, he has not been able to confirm anyone.

The board requested that Paul Maassen establish dates next week so that it can be announced at the Super Regional next week.

Public Radio Super Regional Conference

The latest report from the PRRO group is that the conference hotel is sold out.

The Super Regional Conference agenda has a scheduled time for the regional organizations to meet on Tuesday 10/25. PRIMA’s meeting time is scheduled for 3:30-5:30. As PRIMA’s annual business meeting has been moved to the Spring PRIMA meeting, this meeting time will be used as a PRIMA social gathering. Paul and Dan will arrange for drinks and snacks.

The NPR/Station Compact will be discussed at the Super Regional during a special session lead by NPR. Paul Maassen asked if there anything we want to make sure to convey to NPR or not?  Mike Savage, who is an NPR board member, reported that a lot of discussion has taken place around moving away from listener hours to audience generated revenue – or a hybrid of the two.  For a lot of stations, especially larger stations, they have their own assets to raise money for their own unique production. There may be some discussion about that.  The largest 40 stations are paying close to half  the cost (out of 260).  The NPR board is also exploring questions about the fees for digital services. Specifics of the NPR/Station Compact will come out at the Super Regional. Ideas are getting refined. Attendees at the Super Regional will have choices in front of them and can give feedback.  They will take feedback to the NPR board. The goal is to do something at the November board meeting so that they will be ready to launch in late spring. Mike said that he thinks that they’ve got this on the fast track and is not concerned about the pace of progress on the NPR/Station Compact at this point.

For those who are not able to attend the Super Regional, Mike reported that NPR has a robust communication plan in place. Mike will notify the group about plans to connect stations who are not attending.

New Business

Paul Maassen reported that a donor to WNNO has expressed a concern about language being used in public radio entertainment programs.  He felt that the subject matter and language was getting more  “rough” and “blue.” The donor expressed his concern what he saw as a disturbing trend of the programming becoming becoming gratuitous. There was some agreement among board members about the donors observations. Some board members wondered if pod casting is having an impact on the on-air program production as public media attempts to reach a younger demographic.

Paul and Dan are the only PRIMA board members attending the Super Regional.

Meeting adjourned at 3:17 pm ET

Submitted by board secretary Neenah Ellis

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