WRFI-Meeting Minutes-December 2023

WRFI Board of Directors Meeting

Tuesday December 12th, 2023 

In Attendance:

-Peter Bakija

-Amie Herman

-Corinne Shanahan

-Carlos Gutierrez

-Joseph Haefeli

-Robin Elliott

-Talaya Centeno

-Joe Romano

-John Young

-Theresa Lyons

-Felix Teitelbaum


Not in attendance:


-Chantal Thomas

-Fred Balfour


Call to Order at 6:02 pm.

Agenda Items:

Consent Agenda: 

Vote to approve minutes for October and November. Motion made to approve October minutes, second, 6 in favor, 2 abstentions. Approved. Motion made to approve November minutes, second, 6 in favor, 2 abstention. Approved.

Board Reflections: 

Amie really enjoyed participating in the winter donor-centric fundraising drive, based on fundraising based on ideas from station KEXP. Amie was in favor of the mandatory DJ/On Air Personality meeting, as everyone got to see each other and be part of a community, and everyone worked together to practice the donor-centric language. She felt that the language and experience was productive. She felt that the small tweaks to the language were very powerful.  Peter asks how Amie felt about being involved in the recorded pitches. She came into the station, worked with Jim, liked the language, and liked being involved in the process. Felix really supported having the board come in and come in and record the scripts, which all started out as volunteer practice pitches. Amie really appreciated that the DJs got to write the various on air pitches. Corinne asks if Amie thinks if the change in language will have immediate results. Amie felt that the results were positive already, and that practicing and having a big meeting seemed like the whole process was taken in well by the DJs and embraced pretty well. Joe suggests that this sort of change in culture will have a positive change in the long run. John felt that there was a palpable on air excitement and energy.

Tower Infrastructure:

Felix discusses proposed lease from the landlord at EcoVillage.

Board Specific Issues:

Board Members and Recruitment: Corinne reports that Fred Balfour is considering his ability to continue on the board, and will be back to us by the end of the month. Theresa Lyons indicates that she is resigning from the board, effective this month. Corrine brings up increasing some board recruitment efforts again, and getting a few more people on the board could be helpful at this point in time.

Committee Reports: 

Development and Outreach Committee: Development committee indicates that we are $16K away from reaching our yearly goal of matching last year; if we get our major donors to support us again, we will get close to that. Underwriting is underway with our handout that can be used to approach potential underwriters. Handouts can be picked up at Amie’s house for distribution. Started to work on the Park Grant, and will be meeting with Felix shortly to continue work on the Park Grant, and the grant is due on January 5th. Amie asked Felix to look at members who give $20 or more per month, and reach out to them and see if they will be willing to increase their monthly giving. Corrine thanks John and Ingrid for a big matching gift during the fund drive, and reminds everyone that the end of the year is coming, and that getting in contact with donors is helpful. Amie reinforces that we really need to follow up with end of year calls to major donors, and suggests an on air reinforcement to donate by the end of the year for tax deductibility. Corrine asks how much money the station usually brings in during the last month of the year. Felix suggests that a better metric is people who gave last year but not yet this year, and see what comes in.

Felix discusses the community foundation grant, which was denied for reasons unknown; talked to our contact, the process was very transparent, which is commendable. Felix felt that a lot of the evaluation was surprising and confusing, and it is hopeful that the grant will be readdressed in the near future.

Felix addresses the idea that the board might need to readdress and revise the mission of the station, to bring language more up to date, based on some comments from the evaluation.

Amie discusses the Soundliner project.

Governance Committee: No new developments. 

Personnel Committee: No new developments.

Finance Committee: No new developments.

ED Report: 

Felix reports that the end of year Fund Drive was successful; having Amie and Jim’s support was very effective. Enthusiasm was up. Calls in reflected a very good vibe. Focusing the language on the listeners being involved and capable of helping the station continue. Matching grants were very effective. The addition of Venmo as a giving mechanism was very helpful to the process. Felix feels good about the help from the Development committee.

Reports that follow up postcards are going out, which is helpful. Amie indicates that the existing postcards could use some updating, as they still have the Watkins Glen ID numbers. Jim working with volunteers is very helpful, and freeing up a lot of his time.

Felix reports that computer problems are compounding a sense of feeling overwhelmed; suggests that WRFI could possibly cover the cost of repairs. General stress levels are high. John asks what we could do that would help the GM’s position. Felix suggests two options—get more staff, which requires more money, probably through underwriting efforts; the other option is to do less, which generally requires spending more money. Discusses getting rid of the Watkins Glen transmitter all together, which may or may not require getting it in operational shape to sell. Felix will discuss with John about the costs of the laptop repairs. 

Discussion or removing the antenna from the Watkins Glen tower, that will require not insignificant work for professionals. Project would cost about $1100. Felix asks that the board consider approving this expenditure.

Corrine proposes a motion to allow Felix to spend up to $1200 to remove the antenna from the Watkins Glen tower. Seconded. Vote passes 9-0.

Strategic Planning:

Corrine indicates that Strategic Planning continues to move forward, and Strategic Planning takes time, averaging 18 months to two years for a full strategic plan. Mentions that there will be a Mission Planning workshop on January 18th, and if we can tweak the mission. 

A class at Ithaca College will be taking up a project with WRFI as a collaborative effort, to help us focus our Strategic Mission ideas for reaching out to the community and stake holders. Board members will be involved.

Meeting adjourned at 7:50 pm.