Public Radio in Mid America
Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
May 21, 2014
Called to Order: 3:00PM
Board Members Present: Tim Eby, Karen Olstad, Paul Maasson, Mike Savage, Dan Skinner, Christina Kuzmych
Guest: Tom Hunt, Greg Petrovich
I. Feedback re: NPR Announcement of Staff Reductions – Board Members
When new clocks are implemented in fall, npr will be producing 2.5 original hours per day on weekdays (not including newscasts) as compared to 13 hours per week prior to moving into new building.
Greg: There was a 15 million deficit before the buy-outs, this is final thing that will get npr to a balanced budget. Board has cautioned staff not to pilot new programs any time soon because of turmoil caused for stations when they are dropped. There is pressure to find the next great program, but unless it is subsidized over many years, it isn’t sustainable. Underwriting peaked at the same time that the building was built, but there is a lot of financial pressure ever since the recession.
Tim: There has been no communication as to how this decision ties into the strategic plan that was approved by the board two weeks ago which has not been shared with station stakeholders/investors. We answer to the public but cannot if we do not have the information.
Greg will inquire as to when the plan will be made available to station managers
II. Feedback re: NPR Announcement of new CEO – Board Members
Greg: He is a radio guy at heart. Says R stands for radio. Goal was to get budget in line with reality, not live in the hope that it will work and that we could afford to keep doing everything as we’ve been doing in the past.
Regina – hope that there is stability in leadership at top because it is hard to get stuff done with constant turmoil.
Tim – seems that he is a change guy. He will have a lot to do. With his background, he should have the skills, but it takes time. Will he want to build his own team, that takes time.
It is assumed that his first appearance before station managers will be at Super Regional.
III. Feeback on NPR Fly-Ins (Chicago) – Board Member
A. Tim—wasn’t a lot new for those who had participated in the webinars
B. Karen–Was nice to have smaller group to discuss issues with. Wish there was more time to interact with colleagues.
C. Paul (?)–Discussion about the adjacencies was good to have.
D. Tim–With all the money spent, npr app has only had 1 million downloads, worrisome with an audience of 30 million. Is concerned because it does not appear that there is a strategy/plan for marketing. Greg—the argument would be that there are many benefits derived from the work being done in this area not just the number of downloads
IV. Update from PRRO Group Meeting – Dan
Status of 2014 SuperRegional Planning—Las Vegas in November 19-20. NPR Board agreed to have Annual Meeting there on Nov 21. Hoping to get a quorum. Rooms are much less expensive. Great list of potential speakers. Also update on NPR digital. Looking at 2015 in San Antonio.
V. Upcoming Conference Call with Joyce Mac re: National Public Media – Dan
Joyce is open to the idea. Dan asked members about timing, will follow-up on availability.
VI. NPR Board Update – (Greg)
Most issues (i.e. CEO, layoffs), were covered previously in meeting.
Mangers expressed concern regarding new voice of new underwriting credits. Greg encouraged managers to contact Eric Nuzum directly with feedback.
Question about fees for next year—Digital services, program fees and Distribution/Interconnection with loss of WFMT distribution.
Greg—Digital Services fees should be available by end of May; he will check on D/I.
VII. USA Update
(Tom) – US:A held its first unconference. Twofold purpose: 1) Craig wants to do management training for new managers and to help with transition. 2) Talk about mission of USA and services it provides. It is archived on website, available to members.
Adjourned at 3:32 PM.
Next meeting will be June 18 at 2:30 PM EDT.