WRFI -Meeting Minutes- November 2022

WRFI Board Meeting, 11/15/22


-Joseph Haefeli

-Peter Bakija

-Fred Balfour

-Corinne Shanahan

-John Young

-Carlos Gutierrez

-Joe Romano

-Felix Teitelbaum

Meeting commences 6:09

-President Update: Updates on potential board members visiting; a potential member for tonight had to cancel, Bryan has a slate of 4 potential members. We will plan on bringing them in to the next board meeting in December. Concerns about a large number of new board members being added to the board at one time, discussion about ways to nominate and add members over a period of time. Discussion of a nomination committee, possibly folding into Governance Committee. Discussion of advantages of bringing on a significant cohort at the same time, as advantages such as unified training and onboarding simultaneously. Discussion of an Executive Committee, a smaller core of members to work on efforts between meetings. Discussion of accountability for non attendance/non contribution—restated that missing 3 board meetings is grounds for dismissal from the board. Possibly revisiting the expectations document for Board Members.

-Consent Agenda: Approve minutes from 10/11/22; motion made, second, unanimous.

-Thanks to Eve for her service and communication for the station and station newsletters.

-Governance Committee update: Question on adding the recent update language to the bylaws of “When increasing or decreasing the number of directors, the board shall observe a non-binding guideline that approximately 75% of the directors should currently reside within ICR FM Broadcast Area”. Adding to bylaws. Peter will add to bylaws. 

-Development Committee: No Nov meeting; should meet shortly; members traveling. Decent fundraising, grant application submitted to Tomkins Community Recovery Fund. Corinne indicates that we generated $15K with some phone calls and some effort. Suggests that major donor development isn’t that big of a hurdle.

-Personnel Committee: No new updates.

-Executive Director Report:

1) Submitted grant application to Tompkins Community Recovery Fund. Government recover funds to the County, WRFI showed that our net income declined due to the pandemic, causing loss of news director. Asking for funds to cover news director for 35 hours a week for 2 years, as well as some consultant funds, and a Fellows program, for 3 people to work with news program. Also asked for funds to build resilience into physical infrastructure—power back up and transmitters, and backup for wireless connection to transmitter. If this comes through, will add connectivity to transmitters. Looking forward to results in December. Felix asks if WRFI community should communicate with legislators to communicate about this grant application. Creating a template for a letter is discussed. Board wonders if we can make a presentation to the fund committee. Argument made to just let it ride and hopefully just get through the consent agenda. Committee calendar suggests that committee will vote on/around December 6th. Fred volunteers to communicate with some legislators if agreed by the group; Joe suggests that us being on the consent agenda is advantageous. Felix clarifies that any application that passes the initial bar is put on the consent agenda. Suggests that drawing attention to application might be more deleterious than not.

2) Transmitter is installed. Awesome and great news. Transmission of new transmitter testing is not cleanly making to to Watkins Glen with new transmitter. Very strong in Newfield. Outside of Danby. Large parts of Enfield. Makes it to Elmira. Some of Ithaca. Investigations into actual new expansion area, which seems mostly in the direction of South/Elmira. Felix created connections with people in Elmira community. We can create fill in booster/transmitters to up the broadcast inside of the existing contour. There are windows for more translator application. We seem to be strong in Odessa. Largely increased transmission to the South of Ithaca. Elmira probably our largest new audience base.

3) Felix met with on air or one time WRFI contacts from Elmira; various possible connections in Elmira for local tie ins; business in Waverly to do tie ins; various local businesses who can potentially donate and support in the Elmira area. Organizations for underwriting and contacting for support. Potential for meeting with FMG Radio (a pod-casting organization, not on air) for potential connections for podcast broadcasting. Suggestion to get people from Elmira on the air ready for blasting out. Build up to a public meeting in Elmira. Hilfiger Institute (of Tommy fame) came up a lot as a possible connection in Elmira. Corning Foundation a possible connection, as it crosses over with Elmira a lot. Electronic billboard in Elmira has allotment for non-profits (for publicity). Elmira TV stations mentioned for coverage. Potential collaboration with college stations in the Elmira area.

4) Tax filing numbers prepared for submission to IRS. Possible light/minor error in Quickbooks, Felix working with Quickbooks advisor to figure it out. Unlikely to be significant issue.

5) Eve working with flexible hours. Moving to an earlier schedule, potential for live day work, having presence in the station earlier in the day has potential for advantages.

6) Studio Update: Fund drive coming up Nov 28th. Studio A is functional and ready to go for drive. Still needs some set up, but currently functional. Suggestions to have all Board members take part in fund drive on air or otherwise.

7) Tower: Our lawyer has been working to help resolve our outstanding tower issue. Making progress.

-Quality Control on Air: Questions about how to resolve issues with on air errors, especially during times when there aren’t people available in the station. Questions about how to support station manager in making sure everything works. The issue seems to be having enough support to react to issues when they arise. Discussion around the micro issue (i.e. how do we make sure the station operates effectively, when considering staffing issues and workload) and the macro level (i.e. what is the Board’s responsibility to monitor the station and the make sure things work as intended?).

Motion to adjourn and second. Passes. Meeting adjourns at 8:11 pm.