May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

The meeting convenes at 2:30 pm

In attendance: 
Paul Maassen
Nico Leone
Neenah Ellis
Dan Skinner
Regina Dean
Myrna Johnson
Steve Schramm – Excused
Stephen Williams – Excused


Thoughts about the NPR Network?

Regina says – it made my head hurt and I’ve been challenged to get a good handle on it.  Not sure of the definition, what it is and isn’t.  

Myrna – so many details, the planned webinars will help people dig into the individual areas.  

Nico – they are intended to be an overview – we needed to do an overview.  The Greater Public webinars will help, and NPR will provide seminars to follow up on five subjects.  We will be able to go deeper.

Regina – I haven’t had anyone in the fundraising leadership in a while.  I don’t have anyone I can send or who can sit in at this point. I need to take small bites of it so I can get my arms around it.  

Myrna – the segments will be shorter and we can help you focus and figure out which ones are best for you to focus on.

Paul – I’m in conversation with Gemma Hooley, we may set up some conversations for PRIMA members.  

Regina – that would be helpful.

Dan Skinner – I will echo Regina.  I’ve had my head down and not paying attention.  I will watch the upcoming seminars and catch up. 

Paul – I haven’t seen a lot of reaction.  

Nico – a lot of people aren’t paying attention yet.  There is wait and see, some cautious optimism.  People know we need to move forward in the digital space.  My general read is that this is as good as anything we’ve done.  

Myra – The two sessions I’m most interested in are “Growing Audience Support” and “NPR Network Brand.”  

Nico – what should people avoid at all costs?

Myra – podcast ones have a less immediate impact on stations.  There is a potential upside to both of those two sessions I mentioned. 

Nico – if you are actively producing podcasts, that will be of interest to you.

Myrna – there could be something there for everyone. 

Nico – there are thoughts of bringing groups of similar stations together.

Paul – this is a big idea and I mean that in a good way.  I think there’s a lot that could happen with this.  I’m hoping people will pay attention and start asking questions.  I think they will.  It’s a step we need to take.  The cost of not doing it is at our peril.    There is a huge opportunity here.  This seems like a reasonable approach.  I hope we can move it forward.  I think we have a good group that’s pushing it forward.

I’m a big proponent of accountability.  If this works, there will be a lot of money sloshing around.  I want people to feel good about it and get excited.  

Nico – there will need to be board actions.  Are we clear about how funds will be used?  What will the transparency be in the system? Myrna’s concern.  Can we execute this plan?

Myrna – we have to be good at what we do to make this work.  I agree that a PRIMA call is a good move.  


Paul – the board needs to take an unequivocal stance on this.  A joint statement at the appropriate time.  I think that would be valuable and go a long way.  

No other thoughts on that?  I will set up a PRIMA session on that.

Report on Super Regional Meeting

Paul – apologies for missing last month’s missed meeting.  Super Regional went well. We did a PRIMA meeting.  Will Lee from Illinois came and spoke to the group.  Good discussions.  The panels went well.

The next super regional has not been booked.  There will be a discussion about it.  Should we do another one, or should we try to partner with an existing one? Those kinds of questions.  Those discussions are about to commence.   The feeling is that it probably broke even, which includes fees for delaying it.   I don’t think we lost a lot of money if it was a loss.  I’ll have more info soon.

Regina – transparency has been an issue in the past. 

Paul – we will also get survey results.  I think it was really good for people to get together.  We did a PRIMA suite – with all the regionals – we split the costs.  We pay for a quarter of it.  

Discussion About Next PRIMA Meeting

We had some discussion at the PRIMA meeting  – asking about a PRIMA conference.  The feeling was that if we did it, could we do it in the fall.   A small PRIMA-only conference.

Regina – I think we got some feedback at the meeting.  Nico volunteered someone to host it.  My feeling would be that if we can make it low maintenance, it might be worth doing, perhaps following up on the NPR NETWORK discussions. 

Regina, we’re sitting on a ton of money.  When we met in St. Louis, we did not charge a registration, we fed everyone and we did a hotel discount.  I would throw out that we are in the midst of one more change – I would suggest that the board discuss doing something for PRIMA membership that would allow as much participation as possible.  Help keep it low maintenance for as many people as possible.  

Paul – can we do something this fall?  Perhaps in Kansas City?

Regina – timing is important.  Would meeting in the fall be meaningful enough?  It could be useful if the NPR Network discussions are moved along enough.  Much like the St. Louis meeting we subsidized.  That was a meaningful experience for me and I heard from members who don’t normally go to these meetings. I think it would be a public service.

Paul – the Greater Public discussions are in June and I think people will start to pay attention and start to ask questions. 

Regina – is it easy to get to Kansas City? An easy trek? 

Paul – it’s close to a lot of our members. 

Dan – Kansas City is the founding city of PRIMA.   

Paul – maybe something in the fall could work.  Is October/November.

Dan – if we have flexibility, that would be good – Covid exception in the contracts – we’re hearing that there will be a Covid spike again. 

Paul will find out if there is a hotel near the station.  A more immediate board necessity.  We have terms expiring.  It may need to happen this year. 

Dan sent around expiration dates.  They are in the spring. 

We need to start working on succession plans, etc.

Summary – looks like we are talking about a PRIMA-only meeting in the fall to talk about the NPR Network – to rejuvenate folks.  We had 10-15 at the Super Regional and they would like to do a PRIMA meeting.  An affordable meeting would be received very well.  Paul will talk to Gemma about doing some Zoom meetings with PRIMA.  

Paul, I think this idea does have potential and it has revenue potential and that will be the discussion going forward.  How to get the digital people to give money.  You can double membership at stations, and double the revenue that’s coming into the system.   Participation from everyone is important.  

Paul explains some of how NPR Network works.  Marketing it as a more cohesive entity will bring in revenue. There is no paywall to users but there are benefits to stations. 

NPR could prioritize station podcast content. There’s a lot of good station content.  Let’s use the power of what we have.  There’s nothing wrong with promoting ourselves. Station content seems to have low priority. I hope that is the spirit of this  – there is a financial incentive in this.  

The meeting adjourns at 3:28  ET. 

Neenah Ellis, PRIMA Secretary 

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