February 21, 2022

In attendance:

Paul Maassen, President
Regina Dean, Treasurer, WUOT
Steve Schram, Vice President, ED, GM  Michigan Radio, WUOM
Neenah Ellis, Secretary, WYSO, Center for Community Voices, ED
Dan Skinner, Immediate Past President, Kansas Public Radio
Myrna Johnson, Board Member, Iowa Public Radio
Nico Leone, Board Member, KERA

Molly Motherwell, gm  WEMU
Rachel Hubbard, KOSU director
Jay Pearce,  GM WVIK, Quad Cities
Tim Eby, Public Impact Group
Anthony Hunt, GM  WESM
Randy Eccles, Springfield IL
Lu Stephens, (for Debra Frazier) KMUW
Barbara Clark, WRKF  development director
Jeff Williams – WSIU
Chad Lampe, WKMS GM
Dick Pryor, KGOU gm
Ernie Sanchez, Sanchez Law Firm
Christina Kuzmych, Wyoming Public Media
Nathan Vandiver, KUAR
Steven Williams, GM  WMUK
Joanne Church,  Radio Research  Consortium  (RRC)
Unknown at 301-807-7079 (perhaps Joanne Church from RRC)

Paul Maassen calls the meeting to order via ZOOM at 4pm CT and all in attendance introduce themselves.

1.   Minutes from 2020 annual meeting minutes approved unanimously. by show of hands.

  2. Treasurers report shows last audit for year ended September 30, 2020.  $40,0587.98 unrestricted net assets. Dues waved for FY 21.

A question is asked about whether or not the board is paid.  Paul Maassen says no, we are not and the dues are low as a result.

Regina reports that we’ve hosted our members at fly-ins about the NPR station compact.  We paid hotel, food, and registration in order to make it easy for all our stations to attend.   We now call ourselves ‘public radio in most of America” because we have members from all over the country.  We have many associate members who are not at stations.  We are always looking to invite new members.   Report accepted by a majority.

3.   President’s report:  It’s been quite a time for us in 2 years.  Inspiring to see how people are working hard and working together. 

People appreciate what we are doing in our communities.  That’s not an accident.  It’s part of the hard work and dedication that everyone has.  Even tho it’s been difficult, our bonds with our communities will come out stronger and more meaningful.  A pat on the back to everyone.  Hoping to get together again in person before long. 

Thanks to our fellow board members as well.  Also, the Super Regional Conference is coming up on April 11-12 in Denver in person. If you can attend it’s a great opportunity if you can attend.  PRIMA will offer three scholarships.  I’ll circulate an application tomorrow.  Three one-thousand dollar scholarships are available to PRIMA member stations. 

4.  Election slate for approval: 

Steve Schramm from the nominating committee: He introduces Stephen Williams:   a Michigan broadcaster since July 2016.  He has added an additional signal to his portfolio I Kalamazoo.   Prior to that, he was at WESM for 10 years, part of that as news director.  He also worked at WAVA  and as an English teacher in Cameroon for the Peace Corps.   Remarks from Stephen:  honored to be asked to be on the board. 

Stephen Williams goes into an isolation room while the membership votes on the slate.

Slate is:

Regina Dean, treasurer
Neenah Ellis, secretary
Stephen Williams for a first term.

We’d like to vote on the slate as a whole.  Introduce the slate as a whole.  The slate is approved and seconded. 

No discussion on the slate.

By unanimous consent, the slate is accepted. 

5. Tim Eby gives a presentation on current staffing vacancy rates in the system.

Of 641 non-profits around the country.  40% had a vacancy rate of 20% or more.

Tim says: We did a quick public radio survey.    90 stations responded.  Preliminary results.  Most stations are under a 2 million dollar budget.

Only 12 % have vacancy rates of 20% or more.   Not as great a vacancy rate as all non-profits

The biggest vacancy is in content.  50%. The second highest is in Engineering/IT. 

Most people think the situation will stay the same.


It’s especially hard for smaller stations.

Backend digital is hard to recruit and retain talent

State university civil service rules compound problems

Problem bringing in a diverse pool.

Hard to find engineering talent.

This info will be published in Tim’s newsletter, Three Things, and also by Current.  The survey is open until Friday.

6.  Paul opens the floor to open discussion:

Anthony Hunt:  Are you serious about an in-person meeting for PRIMA. 

Paul: We’re waiting for the right opportunity.  The next time could be in the fall – ? What do you think about that? 

Chad Lampe notes:  We migrated to Grove in June.  Grove traffic data is dropped dramatically  – dropped 70%.   We’re trying to figure out what’s going on? Has anyone else seen that?  Others have seen the same thing.  Still bugs in the system. 

Jeff Williams has had similar problems.

Schramm has had similar problems. We were told that there would be a slip and it happened. 

Regina:  is NPR telling you something that could be causing the problem?  The ME blog was not performing as tey thought it should.

Barbara Clark:  Are your Google analytic numbers off too?  Chad:  We’re comparing Google to Google and the numbers are down.

Stephen Williams:  I’m wearing a lot of hats. Folks are leaving.  So many job postings that aren’t getting filled.

Eby:  CPB doesn’t have the financial staff to finish their audits.  

Molly Motherwell:  we have three open positions.

Regina:  I talked to Scott Finn once about “starter stations”  – where young journalists get their start and move on. 

Can we think like a farm system in baseball and find a feeder system or farm system the way baseball does. We need to think outside the box. I feel like I can’t lure people.  We’re not a major market.  I feel frustrated that people at very small stations are not getting nibbles.  This is a great area of the country but when I try to recruit, we don’t get applications.  As we look at retirement and where the system needs to go.  Maybe PRIMA can contribute to the solution.

Eby:  Maybe working remotely is part of the help.

Eccles:  Getting people to come to smaller markets is really hard. Our process is very slow, too, and we lose candidates that way.  I’d like to see a system-wide recruitment pool. 

Paul:  people are moving around a lot more and it’s hard to fill spots everywhere.

Paul suggests a follow-up where we can just talk. 

Any new business or old business?

Ernie Sanchez:  Where might we meet in the fall? 

Paul:  We have no plan yet. We could do it in New Orleans in the fall.   Or we could go to Ernie’s place.

Regina:  Ask in the next few weeks about who’s going to the Super Regional. 

Paul:  We tend to lose money on gatherings, we don’t charge enough and we do too much stuff.  We’ll gauge interest and hope we can meet in the fall.  Looking forward to hearing more data from Tim Eby.

Many are in favor of the idea.  PRPD is in New Orleans at the end of August.

Any other issues to come before the group?  None expressed. 

Paul thanks everyone for attending.  Congrats to Stephen Williams.  Thanks to Steve Schramm for running the nomination committee.  Watch your email for another gathering coming soon.

Submitted by Neenah Ellis, PRIMA board secretary.

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