Audio and minutes: NCPR Annual Public Meeting, Thursday, July 18, 2019

The annual public meeting of NCPR’s Executive Council, which acts as the station’s community advisory board, was held Thursday, July 18 from 1:30-3:00 pm in the Sykes Common Room at St. Lawrence University on Park St. in Canton, NY.

The public was invited to attend.

There was a question and comment period for the public. If you want to share comments with the Council, email [email protected], call 877-388-6277, or post questions/comments below in this post.
The meeting was webcast live.

Archive audio of July 18,2019 Annual Public Meeting

Minutes of the July 18, 2019 Executive Council meeting

July 18, 2019, commencing at 1:30 pm
Sykes Formal Lounge, St. Lawrence University

  1. Welcome
    1. Linda Cohen (Chair) introduces Mitch Teich (Station Manager)
    2. Mitch Teich introduces himself
  2. Roll Call
    1. Radio Bob (NCPR)
    2. Andy Gustafson (EC)
    3. Cathy Pircsuk (EC)
    4. Jessica Lawrence (NCPR)
    5. Bob Keller (EC)
    6. Bill Haenel (NCPR)
    7. Ann Adams (EC)
    8. Fernando Narro (NCPR)
    9. Nicole Gotham (NCPR)
    10. Claire Mendes (NCPR)
    11. Amy Feiereisel (NCPR)
    12. Michael Greenwood (NCPR)
    13. Shanice Arlo (NCPR)
    14. Lauren Rosenthal (NCPR)
    15. Lizette Haenel (NCPR)
    16. Paul Redfern (St. Lawrence)
    17. Mitch Teich (NCPR)
    18. Linda Cohen (EC)
    19. Julia Kaplan Toce (EC)
    20. David Sommerstein (NCPR)
    21. Cali Brooks (EC)
    22. Rod Giltz (EC)
    23. Dodie Giltz (Community Member)
    24. Margot Ernst (EC)
    25. Steve Meier (EC)
    26. Hannah Hanford (EC)
    27. Sarah Cohen (Community Member)
    28. Martha Foley (NCPR)
    29. Mike Erickson (EC)
    30. Christine Colon (NCPR)
  3. Department/Project Reports:
    1. David Sommerstein: Interim Director of Broadcast and Digital Content
      1. Replacing two music shows: Doyle Dean has taken over for Jackie on Mondays, new host for Ellen’s Tuesday show will be Sarah Scafidi-McGuire, a community member. She will bring a younger tilt, new music and classic, beginning 8/20.  Others will be filling in until then.
      2. Search for new program director: Job posted a few weeks ago.  Position has been recrafted to incorporate more outreach and marketing, someone to strategically promote new content, market it to grow membership and donors.  New title will be “Director of Audience, Programs and Outreach.”  This mimics a move in this position nationwide.
      3. New Content:
        1. Working more with live programming, North Country and Work and Howl Story Slam
        2. Doyle Dean has amazing video capabilities, now basically operating as an in-house videographer [clips of video]. Striving to be a “multiplatform, multimedia organization.” Has been useful in fundraising as well, videos to tell our story in a fun way [clip of fundraising video].
      4. Questions: Cali Brooks asks about time frame of new hire, October is realistic.  Margot congratulates David for his work.
    2. Martha Foley: News Director
      1. Staffing: New hire, Monica Sandreczki, to take over morning host and part of Lauren’s job, to begin in September. Fernando and Emily new hires, looking forward to bringing David back to news as well
      2.  Programming:
        1. “Piecing it Together” how people are living in the North Country, portraits of people in North Country. [two videos].  Collected twenty stories so far.  Used GroundSource texting club, funded by the Adirondack Foundation.
        2. Many awards won this year for programming, including Alzheimer’s piece, Local Courts piece, 2018 Election Cycle, and Martha won the Leo C. Lee Award.
      3. Questions/Comments: Linda gives Martha gift, thank you.  Linda questions if we were able to collect the location of texters, answer is yes, GroundSource has all of the data which is ready to go to build listeners, givers, and engagement.  Stephen Meier congratulations to all awards.  David says a few words about Lauren Rosenthal, she says nice things back.
    3. Amy Feiereisel: North Country at Work Coordinator
      1. Nearing three-year mark, big growth and changes
      2. Multi-platform way to tell universal story, almost everyone works. Have collected over 3000 photos in digital archive.  Platform now used by other small nonprofits.
      3. In-person component, public programming, 8 locations with 22 events to date: collection, exhibit, live story telling. Claire Mendes has headed up the live events [watch video from Hammond at work]
      4. Akwesasne partnership
      5. Thanks to Martha, David, Bill and Dale
    4. Bill Haenel: Director of Digital Services
      1. Digital audience is in transition: Decline in page view/visits/sessions over past few years has very recently gone back up due to Facebook/social media changes as well as new content and a focus on more videos.  Growth in online audio and on-demand, smart speaker usage is also spiking.  Podcasts are successful, 8 o’clock hour is the most successful with 3800 devices listening.
      2. David mentions that NCPR is experimenting with new NPR streaming of Morning Edition with local content included.
      3. Bob Keller asks if the multiplatform focus takes away from the radio. Answer is complicated, but it’s not either/or, they go hand in hand.
    5. Radio Bob Sauter: Chief Engineer
      1. Boonville signal has interference from Lowville, now it is going to be delivered by the internet. It’s the new thing. (humor)
    6. Lizette Haenel: Director of Development
      1. Thirty percent increase in annual giving, $1.5mil in individual giving; Big dip in major gifts is a result of the shift to the Future Fund; FF has a very accessible $400,000 left; Vehicle donations and matching dips.
      2. Spring fundraiser was a success, consistent branding across platforms with the “” worked well. Continued with the successful non- interruptive fundraising.
      3. Jessica Lawrence is now underwriting coordinator, and new hire Christine Colon; Have acquired some new office space and will be figuring out how best to use it
      4. Will be working to connect Mitch to communities
      5. Working to revamp and redevelop planned giving to be more sustainable.
    7. Jessica Lawrence: Underwriting Director
      1. Working on individual show sponsors for each day.
      2. Major outreach effort going on, please connect Jessica with anyone who may be interesting in underwriting.
      3. New window decals
  4. Looking for Vice Chair for EC
    1. Linda is looking to retire next year, and wants to line up the next generation. Please contact her if you are interested in this position.
  5. Public Comments and Questions
    1. Rod queries how to leverage relationship with St. Lawrence University
      1. Mitch responds that he has experience working with University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and will look forward to using his experience to come up with creative ways to further engage with this relationship. Leading up to the 2018 election, WUWM co-produced debates with students/university.
      2. Paul Redfern says that the Station Manager search committee discussed this very issue, and everyone has enthusiasm for a deeper relationship.
    2. Mike Owen, community member, reads prepared comments
      1. Why are there not more members of the general public in attendance?
      2. Discussion about increasing diversity in listenership and staff
        1. Mitch mentions that this is important to him and two programs implemented in Milwaukee involved:
          1. Hiring race and diversity reporter and
          2. Support new fellowship for people of color and/or from underserved communities to get their start in journalism at the station.
  6.  Conclusion
    1. Keep brainstorming how EC Can introduce Mitch to our communities
      1. Event in Central ADK next week
      2. Saranac Lake at end of August
      3. Old Forge in Sept/Oct.
  7. Motion to Approve Minutes from Prior Meeting
    1. Rod Giltz motions
    2. Seconded
    3. Approved

Upcoming Executive Council meeting dates:

  • Thursday, October 3, 2019 – 1:30 pm or evening, time and location TBD

Members of the NCPR Executive Council:

  • Linda Cohen, Old Forge, NY (chair)
  • Ann Adams, Dekalb Junction, NY
  • Cali Brooks, Lake Placid, NY
  • Mark Dzwonczyk, Nicholville, NY
  • Mike Erickson, Brant Lake, NY
  • Margo Ernst, North Hudson, NY
  • Rod Giltz, Plattsburgh, NY
  • Andy Gustafson, Old Forge, NY
  • Hannah Hanford, Saranac Lake, NY
  • James Howard, Morrisonville, NY
  • Robert Keller, Boonville, NY
  • Alan McLeod, Kingston, ON
  • Stephen Meier, Queensbury, NY
  • Cathy Pircsuk, Watertown, NY
  • Susanna Piller, Plattsburgh, NY
  • Christopher Robinson, Potsdam, NY
  • Julia Kaplan Toce, Thousand Islands Park, NY

Ex-officio members representing license holder St. Lawrence University

  • Sarah Johnson, Canton, NY
  • Paul Redfern, Canton, NY
  • Marion Roach Smith, Troy, NY

The governing board of North Country Public Radio is the Board of Trustees of St. Lawrence University.

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