Audio and minutes: NCPR Executive Council Meeting, Thursday, October 3

The quarterly meeting of NCPR’s Executive Council, which acts as the station’s community advisory board, was held Thursday, October 3 starting 1:00 pm at Heaven Hill Farm on Bear Cub Rd. in Lake Placid.

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.

Archive audio of the October 3 meeting

Minutes of the meeting

North Country Public Radio Executive Council Quarterly Meeting Minutes
October 3, 2019 1:00 pm, Heaven Hill Farm, Lake Placid

  • Introduction—Bob Keller
    1. Roll Call
      • Ann Adams
      • Cali Brooks
      • Mike Erickson
      • Rod Giltz
      • Andy Gustafson
      • James Howard
      • Bob Keller
      • Stephen Meier
      • Paul Redfern
      • Marion Roach Smith
      • Julia Kaplan Toce
      • From Staff: Mitch Teich (station manager), Lizette Haenel (development director), Doyle Dean (production manager)
    2. Approval of Minutes from last session
      • Motion
      • Seconded by Ann Adams (Approved)
  • Station Update—Mitch Teich
    1. 3 month anniversary as station manager, it has been incredibly busy, Mitch feels like he is in a good position working with the staff.
    2. Personnel Updates
      • Director of Audience, Programs, and Outreach: First screening of applicants this morning, have chosen five candidates for first round interviews scheduled later in October.  Represent a diverse set of backgrounds and localities around the country, distinct skills, search committee feels confident that one of these five people will be a great asset.  But also no qualms about keeping position open if need be.
      • Reporter/Producer Position: Fernando was unable to renew his visa, and his last day is tomorrow.  He was a wonderful addition to the news team, station feels incredible debt of gratitude to Fernando Narro for his eleven terrific months.  Opening for his position has started, will begin hiring for his replacement.
      • Secretary/Receptionist/Development Assistant: Danielle LaCourse was on maternity leave and has decided not to return.  Will begin hiring this position in the next few weeks.
    3. NPR Membership Dues Structure Update
      • National Public Radio has been revisiting structure on how it charges their stations to be members. For ten years it has been based on audience data, and in regions such as ours it was set at one rate and had been increasing along with inflation. Have been looking for a more equitable way to set dues, but the first attempt would have seen an 80% increase in our dues, so NPR’s membership team has created V2.
        1. In 2018, approximately 16.6% (~$378,000) of NCPR’s overall budget went to NPR, PRX
      • V2 took into account only station dollars raised in membership dues, not major donors, underwriting dollars, or other sources of revenue. This is still a problematic structure because the bulk of money in our station and others like us, in resource deprived rural areas, comes from membership dues rather than major gifts, so this would still see our dues increasing by about 65% (~$60k).
      • V3 is now in the works and will be revealed in the next few weeks. Some amount of increase is appropriate, but not that it only rests on the backs of rural stations like ours.
      • James Howard asks if listener numbers are increasing nationally: yes, mostly due to smart speakers.  But see: news fatigue.  Also, major gifts are down at NPR.
      • Big stations do innovate and that does trickle down to smaller stations, but at a hefty price, such as Curious City and Hearken. Without worrying about donor costs, we can also innovate, such as recent North Country at Work platform.
  • Facilities Updates
    1. Station space expansion in the works, <1200 square feet extra, increases space by about 25%.
      • Potential Uses: New production studio?  Intern space?  Meeting/multipurpose space?  It comes with two new bathrooms!!
      • This is a great short term addition, but will not cloud our search for another location in Canton for longer term planning. Written into Mitch’s position was a need to find a better solution for the space long term, and this is also in St. Lawrence’s interest.
    2. Glens Falls Bureau Space
      • In very early stages, but there is possibility of being gifted office space that has been vacant in an old vaudeville theater in Hudson Falls. The space has been revived recently into a 350 person performance space, and the office space is open and has grant funding that must be used for specific purposes, of which this would fit.
      • This dovetails nicely with a topic that has arisen multiple times already, which is how to better integrate the southern Adirondacks. WAMC staffer in Saratoga is currently the closest bureau. We would need to develop new community relationships there.  Staff excitement, but also don’t want to overstretch, need to be very thoughtful.
      • This highlight need for strategic plan in general, to figure out how to increase representation in far flung areas that we reach but don’t have much physical presence, Glens Falls, Watertown, Plattsburgh.
      • Andy Gustafson asks what our criteria for such expansion would be?
        1. Sustainability: What does audience look like, compared to other stations.  We did used to have a underwriting rep there, figure out what happened.
        2. Partners in area:  Preliminarily seems hopeful in Glens Falls
        3. Improve signal: We do have two transmitters, would ultimately need to increase power.
      • Watertown, Black River Valley, need special attention as well. Working to get together with WPBS.
  • Lizette Fundraising Updates
    1. Brand new program guide, with current changes and new music schedule, new transmitter guide with new logo
    2. Summer Campaign
      • Steller summer, strong start to fiscal year. On good footing, reached 150 new donors, over $20k more than prior summer, over 2000 contributors responded during the summer.
    3. Fall Campaign: October 11 through October 28
      • “Real. News. Here.” Non interruptive campaign with aggressive goal this year, $375k, increased by $25k.
      • Mainly looking towards renewers, but also new and lapsed members.
      • Mitch mentions concerns of doing fundraising during big news events such as an impeachment hearing. Really will be weighing individual days’ important news, may not want to be interruptive.  People will appreciate that.
    4. Underwriting update, email from Jessica Lawrence
      • Akwesasne Mohawk Casino contract, daily email underwriting has been working with performance venue in Potsdam, new lawyer in Watertown, Samaritan Medical in Watertown.
        1. Ad agencies want data to support return to clients, digital team has been able to show numbers of users of various digital products.
        2. Clients are happy with what we are able to do with them with limited resources.
      • Looking for recreational winter businesses, need connection at Whiteface and Titus. Cali has a connection there.
      • Trying to get new people in on underwriting, people who have lapsed or have never been on the air before. Akwesasne is a great example of people who have a lot of spending money and have just never been asked.  Also in conversation with Ogdensburg airport/bridge authority.  Overall expanding the idea of who to ask.
  • Special Project Updates
    1. North Country At Work:   Outreach events continuing.  We have funding through 2021, looking for more grant money to help project evolve into the future.
    2. Piecing it Together Season 2: Thanks to the Adirondack Foundation.  Getting put together now.
    3. Howl Story Slam: Hugely successful project for us and Adirondack Center for Writing. All student edition at St. Lawrence w/ 75 or 80 people and 15 stories.  Grand Slam in December at St. Lawrence.  Mitch has hosted two events so far and has been doing a great job.
    4. Korva Coleman Event: Next week, she’s coming at the invitation of SUNY Potsdam, she then contacted us to help host.  Multiple events:  Lecture @ Potsdam hosted by Mitch; On Air with David Sommerstein for call-in show; News Meeting; Professional Development with NCPR Staff; Intimate Event at St. Lawrence, dinner, drinks, convo hosted by Todd Moe, tickets still available.  She is donating her speaker’s fee to support a paid internship for a person of color from SUNY Potsdam to work at NCPR next fall.
  • Public Comments
    1. Lewis Curth:
      • NCPR lacks adequate presence in Southern ADKs.
        1. Addressed already.
      • Needs to provide better platform for comments off of Facebook.
        1. Worth looking at.
      • Rod Giltz comments on 3-5pm music programming, it does not appeal to everyone, it is not consistent.
        1. We don’t have good data to know who is tuning in and tuning out at different times. We do know that it is a different audience who tunes in, and that is good.
        2. Debate about it: some people enjoy it, find new music, it allows engagement and for NCPR’s personality to shine through a bit more, not all programming is meant to engage everyone at once.
      • New people need to make sure to introduce themselves on the radio since there have been so many personnel changes.
      • Mitch says they are now making weather more inclusive of the broad region.
      • Do we need more Mitch events throughout the area?
        1. Yes, summer was focused on summer residence, now in the fall, Mitch is glad to go around, so invite him, think about it.
  • Move to Adjourn
    1. Motion: Ann Adams
    2. Seconded: Marion Roach Smith

Upcoming Executive Council meeting dates:

  • Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 12 noon via conference call

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.

1 Comment on “Audio and minutes: NCPR Executive Council Meeting, Thursday, October 3”

  1. louis curth says:

    As NCPR goes forward with many new faces on hand to shape the future of communication in the north country, it would seem appropriate to consider constructive comments from your listener/donors. Please allow me to make two:

    1. NCPR continues to lack an adequate presence in the southern parts of the broadcast region. This problem has gone on far too long and
    it really begs for improvement as a priority for NCPR.

    2. One of NCPRs most valuable contributions to north country people is its capacity to encourage discussion of the subjects which
    we care about and which affect our lives here. Your current invitation to offer comments via Facebook is simply not acceptable. You are
    eliminating participation by listeners who find Facebook’s conduct improper and refuse to be part of it. NCPR needs to provide a better
    platform for comment, and that site needs to be made easier to find and use on your website. The availability of a listener friendly
    comment forum for courteous, thoughtful discussion of issues was never more important than it is now at this critical time in our
    nation’s history.

    Thank you for considering my comments. Louis Curth

Comments are closed.