MEETINGS - 09/24/09

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Read our Rebuttal to the new KBCS Marketing spiel.

City Arts Eastside, "Listen or Lose It, People"
by Bill White (October 2009)

KING-FM lays off three classical-music hosts
Live hosts to be replaced with "Voice tracking". Is this what the future holds for radio?

Randomville, "Save KBCS?"
by Mackenzie McAninch (7/19/2009)

Seattle Weekly, "KBCS Launches New Weekly Schedule"
by Hollis Wong-Wear (8/28/2009)

KUOW, "The Conversation"
with host Guy Nelson (8/24/2009)
interview with Peter Graff, KBCS Program Director and Larry Lewin, SaveKBCS representative

Seattle Times, "Bellevue's Eclectic KBCS Making Programming Changes"
by Nicole Tsong (8/17/2009)

Seattle Times, "Arbitron Now Uses Meter to Measure Radio Listening"
by Erik Lacitis (8/30/2009)

Save KBCS blog
Participate in the online discussion about the program changes.

Listener Feedback
Read what others have told SaveKBCS that they think about the program changes.

Meeting Minutes
Save KBCS representatives met with KBCS management on September 24th, and other notes. Read all about it here.

Save KUT Austin
We are not alone... See what what the folks in Austin are doing to preserve community radio.

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KBCS 91.3 website
Don't take our word for it. Listen for yourself.

Sack KBCS Management on Facebook
One of our past listeners has a Facebook page calling for a boycott until all existing management have resigned.

The below notes were taken when Save KBCS representatives met with KBCS management on September 24, 2009.

Meeting Notes
In attendance: KBCS Management: Steve, Pete,
Save KBCS representatives: Larry, Dru, Jean

Intro comments: We as representatives of SaveKBCS have wanted to meet for a long time with KBCS management. Steve said he’s wanted to meet with us for a long time as well. We want to make it clear that our mission is to improve the station, increase listenership, and keep KBCS viable. We call ourselves SaveKBCS because we want to work with the management to do just that – keep music on this, our special radio station. We’re not out to destroy or bring demise to the station. We are advocates of the volunteers and community who support independent music on the radio.
Steve acknowledged that they, too, are trying to save KBCS and they believe that the changes they’re making are the best way to do that.

1. What is the Status of Strategic Plan?

The staff and Bonnie Olson met in early 2009, but she took another job and “didn’t have time to continue with KBCS,” so the KBCS staff has been working independently on the strategic plan since then. They will possibly utilize a KBCS Public Affairs volunteer who holds a degree in organizational development/strategic planning to assist in the development. They’re working to make a specific, meaningful plan; that’s why it’s taking so long to write.
Will the target audience be defined in the Strategic Plan?
Yes, but not in a demographic way. The description of the target listening audience will be “value-based,” a description of ideals, values, and other characteristics that they want to reach; these are much harder to define and measure than traditional demographics.
What will be the opportunities for volunteers to be involved in the planning committee/other input?
Right now, the staff is currently editing a draft and will have a draft for KBCS volunteers to review and comment on by December 31, 2009. Volunteers won’t have an opportunity to be on a Strategic Plan committee as such. However, volunteers will be given an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft, before the plan is finalized. Volunteer input on the strategic plan will be considered.
How will you ensure transparency in the process?
They will then present it to BC for comments/review and possibly to the public for comments. The public will be included if Floten and Talbott agree with soliciting the public input, but there was no guarantee of this

2. What’s the plan for program changes Phases 2 & 3? And what is the projected timeline?

No more program changes will be made until after the Strategic Plan is finalized. It will be at least May 2010 until Pete begins to look at data to evaluate the first round/current programs or to make further changes. Pete said that he wants to "unravel the culture" that once a show is established, it will be in place for the foreseeable future and has indefinite tenure.
How will you evaluate the success or failure of the Phase 1 changes? What are the criteria for deciding whether a “Plan B” is called for?
Program changes will be more frequent in the future, not necessarily such wide-sweeping changes all at one time as this last round was. The only mistake they admit to about the Phase 1 changes is that they “put Democracy Now at the wrong time,” based on listener feedback.
Steve said that many listeners have commented that the new programming isn't as bad as they initially thought it would be. The number of listeners who share this opinion wasn't stated. Larry challenged them on the number of listeners that they claim have supported the changes. They said not enough time has elapsed to quantify the acceptance or not of the changes. Larry reminded them that the emails in support of the changes are a tiny percentage of the overall feedback – over 90% were against the changes. They continue to put their own spin on the feedback from listeners.
Criteria for future program changes will be:
* Arbitron ratings
* Pledge Drive revenue, although it is recognized that this is an imperfect measure.
* Email feedback (and possibly other feedback “mechanisms” put in place)
Arbitron now uses a new PPM to track what stations are being listened to. This data comes every month instead of every 3 months. Pete is not even looking at data until at least a year’s worth has been accumulated; then he will analyze the numbers. He plans to work with RRC (“public radio people”) to evaluate it. They stated that the PPM data will be used to evaluate not only Phase 1 changes, but all programming.
They will look at pledge drive revenues as one measure of judging successful shows.
What will be volunteers’ role in formulating and implementing Phases 2 & 3?
They are looking into how to gather feedback from volunteers and audience. They will “develop mechanisms for volunteers to give meaningful feedback.” There are already “mechanisms” in place: email and phone comment line. However, volunteer and listener feedback will not be considered as "votes."
They plan on reaching out more intentionally for listener feedback via various methods. Steve said he will figure out a structure to get feedback/input from volunteers. They want to incorporate processes that involve stakeholders. They will “not outrule” listener surveys and public forums. They will consider a web based input mechanism for listener input that must have good questions and sample validity; email and letters are encouraged from listeners. They will use e-blasts to solicit feedback from listeners.
They are not ruling out town hall style meetings with the public, but reiterated they are radio professionals hired to make decisions, some of which will be widely accepted and some not.
How will you ensure transparency in decision-making of future changes, given the lack of solicited input from programmers about the Phase 1 changes? Dru said that he and others were de-moralized by the announcement of the changes only hours or a few days before the mini-drive, how we were told KBCS was not a democracy, giving rise to the feeling that we were duping the listeners.
Pete seemed oblivious to the fact that telling us of the changes just days before the June ’09 mini-drive would be a factor in volunteers’ desire or motivation to fundraise for the station. He looked incredulous and asked if that was the only thing Dru took away from their 2 hour meeting; Dru said, yes.

3. Pledge Drive. How many pledge drives will be held this fiscal year?

Multiple (possibly 3) pledge drives will be held between January and June 30 (end of fiscal year). The upcoming October drive will be the last long drive at KBCS. They are aiming for having fewer total days involved in the drives and much shorter drives (eventually down to single-day drives), but more frequent (around 4 per year). They gave an example of one station, KUNC, that had a one-day pledge drive where pitches were tightly scripted and they raised as much as they did in a previous 11-day drive. [Note that this means that if they raised $100K in an 11-day drive, the new model would require raising about $7,100 per hour or $21,300 in a three-hour show.]
Is attendance for the 9/29/09 meeting required?
The pre-drive meeting on September 29 is not mandatory or required for DJs to attend. They want to incorporate more training sessions, beginning in the next 3-6 months.
Why was the goal for this drive set so much lower than previous drives?
It was set based on what they think is attainable ($10,000 each day of the drive), taking into account reduced expectations due to the programming changes. They said that they need much less from listeners in this year’s budget (presumably due to the large CPB grant that was received).
What are your expectations as to how we should operate/behave during the upcoming pledge drive? For example, is it OK to say a pitch such as, “Call to give your vote of support for this show and this type of music that’s on now.”?
Yes that’s OK. Pitch breaks will be more scripted in the future.
Dru commended Pete for being an excellent pitching coach -- his guidance to the on-air pitchers during the past few drives has been extremely beneficial.
Can a DJ be excused from pitching altogether if they don’t feel comfortable asking for money for the station?
They could not give an answer. Pete wondered how we could expect to do a show and not fundraise? Dru suggested working out some type of compromise. We left the topic undecided.
We communicated that quite a number of other programmers feel demoralized by how these latest changes were handled before the last mini-drive and Ramsey acknowledged that he, too, has heard from other programmers that feel demoralized. We relayed that there was a wide-spread feeling among volunteers of reduced confidence in the management.

4. What’s the status of the PAG [Programming Advisory Group] committee? Who may attend meetings?

PAG meetings are open to all volunteers. Why aren’t upcoming PAG meetings announced? Visibility of PAG should improve (with contact info, meeting minutes, website, etc.) We emphasized that the PAG is not accessible to volunteers and the group is not functioning in an open manner: meetings are not announced, the volunteer’s representatives and the community representative are not reporting back to their respective constituencies, the meeting minutes are not shared, contact info for the representatives is not accessible, and the PAG webpage is not currently online.
They have discussed these issues at their PAG meeting this past week; they are currently addressing these issues.
Shouldn't there have been a PAG election earlier this year?
We brought to their attention that 4 PAG members’ terms were up last March 2009 and the other 4 members’ terms are up in December 2009.
They did not give an answer as to when the next elections would be held. They said they talked with the PAG earlier this week about the committee’s future and its usefulness. Details weren't given.
The meeting closed with a reiteration that we want to work together for the betterment of the station and we thanked them for their time. Steve indicated that he was really glad we finally met face-to-face.

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