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WBAI Program Council meeting notes

From: Steffie Brooks
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 03:46:40 -0000
Subject: Unofficial_Minutes__Program_Council_Meeting_12/17/03

All corrections/additions are welcome.

About 40 people attended the meeting.

1. Fund Drive Report (Kathy Davis)

Dates: 1/19 through 2/06/04

Raise $1.1 million
Improve fulfillment
Simplify and reduce # of premiums


(A) Divide drive into stages of fund raising, each stage building on the preceding

(B) First day of drive focuses on MLK day (C) First week, Tues. through Mon., all programs broadcast in their regular timeslots

(D) Maximum of 12 premiums will be offered for the entire week, presented to the listener as features with a focus on content. Each feature will be presented multiple times throughout the week. Premiums will be pre-selected from archival materials of Pacifica, WBAI, and individual producers/programs (producers who wish to submit archive programs should do so immediately).

(E) The second and third week will be composed primarily of special programs (exceptions for programs that are in rotation). Morning slots will include extended broadcasts of WUC and DN!

(F) Programs will otherwise be organized according to juxtaposition of interesting themes, providing listeners with creative, new, and different offerings. For example, science & science fiction might include features by Michio Kaku, Jim Freund, and Robert Knight; or health & the environment might include Health Action, Health Styles, and Walden's Pond. Sound from the "Radiothon" can be organized into specials.

(G) All premiums must be produced before the start of the drive. Applications for fund raising specials are due immediately.

(H) Deadlines: Mon., Dec. 29. for completion of fund drive schedule;
Mon., Jan. 5. for premium applications:
Mon., Jan. 12 for completion of premium masters.

Discussion: Shows with good fundraising track records and specialized audiences can propose their own premiums and specials. (Examples raised: Liquid Sound Lounge, Radio Free Eirann)

Concensus seemed to favor the report. Additional ideas/proposals can be brought to weekly Mon. 6:30 pm Fund Drive meetings at the station or emailed to Kathy at pad@wbai.org (public affairs department at wbi.org)

2. WBAI (LSB) On Air Election Coverage

Proposal to add additional election coverage to the WBAI schedule from Jan. 5, when ballots are mailed out, through Feb. 5th, when ballots are due.

Discussion: On air events have been intriguing, even to producers who aren't governance junkies. Proposal to organize future election coverage around themes, such as finances, history of Pacifica governance. Suggestion that debate moderator explain role of LSB and repeat schedule of on air debates so it is clear when other candidates are scheduled to speak. Proposal to record 1-minute statements by candidates and air them on a rotating schedule to save debate time for discussion of issues.

Concensus seemed to favor some version of these proposals.

3. Programming Philosophy (Don Rojas)

Don proposes a set of questions to kick off program philosophy discussion at upcoming staff retreat on Sat., Jan. 10. Wants staff to begin the discussion among ourselves:

A. What is the public image of WBAI; what should it be?
B. Does our programming fulfill Pacifica's mission? What IS Pacifica's mission?
C. Is there a common denominator, a thread, that stitches programming together? Should we highlight it?
D. What do we mean by "progressive radio"?
E. Are we managing air time efficiently? Are we squandering air time on non-mission programming?
F. Does "free speech" imply "free form" radio? Should we have an identifiable sound, brand of radio?
G. How do we go beyond rhetoric/bumper sticker radio?
H. What is the relationship between the station and current political moment (eg., national election year approaching)? How do we adapt the mission to the present moment?
I. Is WBAI part of a larger movement, an agent for social change?
J. Is WBAI too political? Not political enough? What is proper mix between public affairs and arts programming?
K. How does/should WBAI respond to the needs of various marginalized communities? Producers seem hesitant to deal with class issues and hesitant about forming partnerships with class organizations such as labor unions. How does class impact other identities?
L. Are we building bridges between identities/communities?

Discussion: Is Jan. 10 date too soon for retreat? Sandy Boyer proposes that GM and PD answer above questions in writing and that a special Program Council meeting convene to discuss their answers and decide how to proceed. Bob L. proposes a date for the retreat be set and a committee formed to plan it. Susan L. wants internal station processes to be addressed. Various producers and listeners in attendance suggested listener input be solicited on wbai.org, listeners be invited to the retreat, or the proceedings streamed/recorded for listeners to access via internet. Discussion of listener participation deferred.

Both Bob's and Sandy's motions pass. Bob's motion passed 3 in favor and 1abstention; Sandy's motion passed with one vote in favor and 3 abstentions. So both are in effect. Next Program Council meeting TBA.The retreat will be Sat., Jan. 10.

Contact Cerene if you would like to help plan the retreat.

Other substantive and interesting discussion of programming philosophy took place but I don't want to try and summarize it.

4. Process for Making Program Changes/ Scheduling of New Latino and Haitian Programs

Proposal by Kathy to schedule the Spanish-language Latino show and the Haitian show temporarily in open Sat. 3-5 pm slot. The English-language Latino program was going to be placed, temporarily, in an open Mon. 10 am slot or Fri. 11 am slot, but the Latino Collective can't make daytime commitment.

Discussion of staff problems with process in making recent program grid proposed changes (summary of main points): No written evaluations of programs have been made this year. In cases where criticisms of staff conduct have been made, there has been no step-wise progressive disciplinary procedure in place. Effect of proposed changes on women's participation has not been evaluated. Big changes in programming were made after return to the station following the coup; why is it so difficult to make room for Latino programming now? We should hold off on program changes until programming philosophy has been discussed.

Bernard speaks to his belief that he has followed process to the best of his ability.

Don: Program Director has tough job. Wants to empower Program Council as a check and balance on station management. On Robert Knight status, Robert is still on staff, discussions continue about his role, an announcement of resolution is coming soon.

Meeting adjourned with a consensus to move forward on temporary scheduling of Sat. 3-5 pm slot with Spanish-language Latino show and Haitian show.

Respectfully submitted,
Steffie Brooks

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