PUBLIC RADIO IN MID-AMERICA (PRIMA)
Board Conference call
November 1, 2005
2:30 p.m. ET
Present: Patty Wente , KWMU (President); Cleve Callison, WMUB (Vice-President); Christina Kuzmych, WFIU (Secretary); Dorie Vallillo, WIUM (Treasurer); Jon Schwartz, Wyoming Public Radio (Board Member No. 2); Dan Skinner, WBAA (Board Member No. 3). Bill McGinley, WOI (Board Member No. 1)
I. Meeting began at 2:30 p.m. ET .
II. Congressional Activity
Mike Riksen was the guest for this meeting and reported on Congressional activity.
He will try to send out weekly summations of Congressional activity.
We’re in pretty good shape as far as CPB and PTFP are concerned.
In last week Senate passed its bill that includes high numbers. Two-year advance funding at 400 million, 35 million for digital transmission, as well as television moneys. The fact that both House and Senate have passed their bills means that the conferencing can begin. The current Resolution funding the government expires Nov 18 so all legislators may be pushing for a fast exit before the holidays.
Administration was going to announce this week its contribution to the idea stream as to how to fund Katrina damage. There is as 10 million dollar rescission proposed for CPB, but must come only from unobligated funds. This means that if this will become law (which it won’t), CPB will not need to return this money. Mike was informed by CPB that radio would barely be affected, since radio dollars have been “obligated” through formula grants and other appropriations. So our worrying about a big dust-up will probably not occur. We dodged the bullet at this point.
PTFP will have another year of life at about 22 million.
NPR, APTS, CPB got together after Katrina to assess damage to stations. 65 million dollars will be allocated to replace damaged material and infrastructure. This will be funneled through PTFP, and will keep PTFP in business for a relatively long time.
The budget reconciliation process will take place at the end of the year, after all committees have made their changes. Reconciliation will compare what is committed to be spent vs. what is available to spend. Historically this occurs in an across the board funding reduction. This year, however, because of the deficit the fact that House conservatives are getting upset about Hurricane Katrina spending excesses, the reconciliation may be more painful. Cuts may go beyond the discretionary funding. Mandatory appropriations may also be affected. Discussion is already ensuing as to how much will be cut on the mandatory spending. This may delay the conclusion of the reconciliation process. So, we may face a rescission as a result – most people are speculating that the amount will be around 3 to 5 per-cent. This is on 06 CSG’s. Will impact digital, TV interconnection, Ready To Learn. This may affect the second installment of CSG in 06.
Is there money for digital? Senate proposed 35 million for all of public broadcasting. CPB should be able to allocate to radio as much as is needed for the next year: 14 million last year — may be 14 million next year.
A new development in CPB – several Senators asked CPB do an investigation of the last CPB Chair. Tonight, beginning at 7 p.m. , CPB will be meeting to go over IG findings. Congressional staff indicated to Mike that the IG has strongly inferred that the former Chair violated the CPB By-laws in encouraging engagement in activities of a lobbying nature. The CPB Board is being briefed tonight, and will be in session tomorrow and Thursday.
Additional violations in Annual Appropriations Act, and hiring practices. Probably nothing will happen, since there is nothing in CPB By-laws in removing Board member who violates law. The only one who can dismiss a sitting CPB Board member is the President. Several Board members have retained legal advisers to help them get over this issue.
Is there a possibility for CPB to amend By-laws to include penalty for Board members who act in an unlawful manner. Officially, not much can happen to Tomlinson, but unofficially, there may be repercussions. Jon asked if there is a recourse path for violators. Mike suggested that PRIMA Board look into a recommendation to CPB about amending the By-laws to include a process and procedure for dealing with violations.
III. PRIMA Finances of 2005
PRIMA expenses are growing, yet membership dues remain the same. Conference costs are increasing. As a Board, we need to discuss possibilities of raising dues and/or registration fees. PRIMA dues have remained at $100. Patty didn’t expect resolution at end of this meeting, but wanted all Board members to think this issue over. The issue: Potentially raising dues and/or conference costs.
Winter meeting may be combined with NPR round robins.
Members should be asked if they would prefer a raise in membership or in conference.
Conference expenses: Cleve informed that 30 th Anniversary conference expenses were larger because of the hayride/dinner. Usually, a conference fee barely covers the costs of the attendee. There may be areas to look at in trimming conference expenses.
There may be opportunity to increase both.
Patty asked to have additional information before a decision is made as any increases.
IV. Other Regionals
CPB gave grant to EPR to look into merging with Southern Public Radio. Dollar amount is not known.
V. PRIMA Website
PRIMA web site will now include job listings that are sent directly to PRIMA. Also, will create links to CPB and DEI jobs sites.
Patty thanked Jon Schwartz for participating in the last two PRRO group conference calls. One of the recurring issues the PRRO group tackling is a leaning towards reinstating the PRC’s. Jon’s consultative approach may have helped in defining this issue. The idea that Regionals should be involved in organizing PRC-type conferences may be unrealistic. Jon mentioned the differences between the Regionals. Not all Regional Presidents consult their membership. PRIMA, under Patty’s leadership, consults with membership.
VI. Meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m. ET .