November 16, 2016

Public Radio in Mid America
Board of Directors Meeting
November 16, 2016

Called to Order: 2:30 Eastern Time

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

Paul Maassen led the meeting at Dan Skinner’s request as Dan was attending the NPR Board Meeting in DC and had to join the conference call in process.

PRIMA Conference Planning

The board discussed the food and transportation costs of the PRIMA conference. From the three potential New Orleans hotels identified as possibilities, the board choose the Ritz, which offered a room rate of $169.  PRIMA will host a dinner/meeting for PRIMA board members on the Tuesday night of the conference.

The board discussed the agenda for the meeting and suggested guest presenters. In order to get an update on the new presidential administration, having Mike Riksen provide an update will be a priority.

Other suggestions for presenters include:

  • CPB: Joyce Mac
  • Mike Riksen – NPR
  • PRSS – Michael Beach and Mary Fran Tyler
  • Jim Tazarek from Market Ingenuity – Tim Eby will see if there is interest
  • FCC update – Meg Miller, Ernie Sanchez
  • Sue Schardt – ED of AIR, to talk about opportunities for stations to work with independent producers  (Neenah reached out to her and she is holding the dates)
  • Paul Maassen to discuss managing stations in multiple markets
  • Paul Maassen will explore possibility of a New Orleans based keynote speaker

NPR/Station Compact

The board discussed the NPR/Station compact. Tim Eby commented that pricing and future funding will go hand in hand.  He thinks moving away from the listener hour model  is not a good idea. He suggested tweaking the value of a listener hour but also talk about what role digital plays.

Regina Dean also commented that she is concerned that we’re talking about rolling something into the budget for digital while we re-work the whole deal. Tim Eby noted that on the digital side, there’s about 75% more traffic coming from St. Louis DMA to than to his own website. How do we capture more revenue for that?  I don’t have an answer to it right now.

Steve Schram suggested that could incorporate feeds from our sites. Tim wondered how the branding would work in that situation and how the revenue would be shared. More discussion here by several members.

Several pricing models were shown at the Public Radio Super Regional Conference. There was a chart shown about enormous growth in revenue in 10 years.  60-70% growth projection is perhaps ambitious.   We need to challenge those assumptions. The board also discussed the growth of podcast revenue.

Members express confidence in the NPR team that is presently at the helm of the organization.

NPR Board Meeting Update

Dan Skinner reported from Washington, DC where the NPR board meeting is still in progress. Since this is the first meeting of the new NPR fiscal year, much of the meeting time was spent on “housekeeping” items such as installing new board members, updating committee charters, and other routine business.  The NPR/Station compact was not addressed any open sessions.

NPR is aware that there is a new level of uncertainty among stations regarding future federal funding given the change in administration. The board noted that while there is uncertainty, it is important not to use that as an excuse for inaction.

Meeting adjourned at 3:30 pm ET

Submitted by board secretary Neenah Ellis

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