WAMU Community Council Members Attending:
Laura Chambers, Council Chair; Kent Lynn, Vice Chair; Barbara Bares, Colleen Boothby, Paul DesJardin, Patricia “Trisha” Hartge, Rawn M. James, Jr., Jody Steiner Kelly, Virginia McArthur, Larry McCarthy, Amy Nakamoto, Margaret K. O’Bryon, Daniel Okonkwo, Delphine M. Peck, Micaela Mejia Pond, Donald Quayle, Anthony Sarmiento, and Peter Tannenwald.
WAMU Staff Attending:
Caryn Mathes, David Taylor, Mary Dempsey, Debbie Eliason, Walt Gillette, Anthony Hayes, Lucy Horn, Chris Lewis, Meymo Lyons, Kristen Sorensen, Glenn Williams, and Anne Healy.
Members of the Public:
Laura Forman, Ted Peck, Dr. Bruce Sklarew, and Stella Tarnay.
Laura Chambers opened the Spring Quarterly Meeting of the WAMU Community Council at 7:04 p.m. Laura welcomed everyone and led the Council in a round of applause for Caryn Mathes in celebration of Caryn’s recovery from her recent surgery. She then asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the last meeting of the Council which took place on February 8, 2012. Barbara Bares noted that on page 5 of the minutes the date of the next meeting was listed as September 12, 2012 instead of April 25, 2012. Don Quayle moved that the minutes be approved with that correction. His motion was seconded and the minutes were approved.
Caryn said that after giving so many reports to the Community Council about the long search to find an appropriate new facility for WAMU, it gives her great pleasure to present an update on all the progress that has been made since the announcement at the Council’s last meeting that American University had purchased a building at 4401 Connecticut Avenue, NW which will become the station’s new home. Caryn reported that Coakley & Williams Construction, a contractor based in the Washington Metropolitan Area will be in charge of the construction on the building working with Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm. CEI will handle the technical integration. Caryn said that she had expected some surprises once the gutting of the building began, and the contractors discovered that what had appeared to be a below street level space with 12 feet of depth had been filled in by a concrete wall, probably put in to shore up the building when the Metro was constructed. This discovery has given everyone the opportunity to take a hard look at the original design and placement concepts. There have been three major meetings to allow for staff input on the design and, in addition, representatives from Gensler have held eight meetings with smaller work groups to ascertain their specific needs. David Taylor said that the signing of the purchase agreement is expected to take place in late May or June and that they are hoping for the start of construction this summer. Peter Tannenwald asked if there was a clear line of sight from the tower to the new building, and Caryn assured him that this was the first thing the engineers had checked.
Caryn asked Anthony Hayes, Director of Corporate Marketing, to introduce the newest member of his team. Anthony said that he was pleased to introduce Glenn Williams whom he hired as an account manager earlier this year. Glenn was formerly an account executive at WHUR, and he is a certified radio marketing consultant. Caryn congratulated Anthony on his department’s outstanding performance during the 4th Quarter of FY 2012. Anthony said that he was delighted with the work of his team, and he said that his new national sales team has performed extremely well. Corporate Marketing revenues for this quarter have increased by 29%.
Caryn announced that Christopher Lewis has been hired as WAMU’s new Director of Digital
Media succeeding Jason Novak who left earlier this year. Chris has run a dozen high profile websites and worked with public and commercial radio stations in New York. Caryn said that she is excited to have someone with Chris’s experience and perspective leading our digital team and providing support for our digital journalists. Chris said that he has been a WAMU listener for many years and loves the station. He said that he is delighted to take on this responsibility and is looking forward to making some changes in the next few months to encourage more access from mobile devises.
Caryn congratulated Council Member Larry McCarthy who received the 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award at the Volunteer Appreciation Reception this past Saturday (April 21, 2012). Larry served as Vice Chair of the Council last year and he has been a phone room manager during WAMU’s membership campaigns for many years. Caryn announced that the Senior Wellness Center operated by Mary’s Center recently celebrated its first anniversary. This is the only Senior Wellness Center in Ward 1, and it has already served over 500 senior citizens. Council Member Maria Gomez is the President and CEO of Mary’s Center.
In closing her report, Caryn announced that the Council’s next meeting on September 12th will include a major presentation on audience diversity in the public radio system and at WAMU. She has invited Keith Woods, NPR’s Vice President for Diversity, to come to this meeting to talk about the research that NPR has done on audience diversity and how they are planning to share that information with member stations. He will also talk about how NPR is mobilizing to increase audience diversity. Caryn said that Gary Knell, NPR’s new President and CEO, has come up with four quadrants – age, thought, geography, and ethnicity – where he would like to see increased diversity. WAMU’s March Arbitron Ratings Book showed the percentage of African Americans listening to our station increasing significantly from 4.9 % to 10.7%. Caryn believes that part of that increase can be attributed to the growth in our local news and the wider community coverage the station provides.
Mark McDonald, WAMU’s Director of Programming, opened his report by informing the Council that WAMU’s Winter 2012 Arbitron Book (January, February, March) was the best in the history of the station. It was the first time that WAMU was the #1 station in the Washington, DC Metro Area with a 7.5 share of all radio listening. Under the old system, the winter book was typically the weakest of the rating books. Mark distributed a detailed report on the winter book prepared by Lettie Holman, Manager of Programming and Research, and reviewed it with the Council. (Please see attachment #1) Among the highlights: Mark noted that WAMU’s TSL - or time spent listening – is the highest in the market. He said that when he came to WAMU he changed the promotion strategy to promote the program that is coming next on the air rather than shows scheduled for later in the week, and that has encouraged listeners who had tuned in to catch a particular show to stay tuned longer. WAMU is #1 in morning drive with a 9.7 share, The Diane Rehm Show was #2 in the market with a 6.7 share, and The Kojo Nnamdi Show was the second-most listened to show in its daypart. WAMU is also doing extremely well on weekends, and the WAMU web stream garnered a .2 share with 26,800 weekly online listeners -- the only local station to have a web stream registering in the ratings book. Don Quayle and other Council Members congratulated Mark, Caryn and the entire staff on WAMU’s outstanding performance. Don added that “as one who has been here from the beginning, it truly blows my mind that an educational, noncommercial station is now #1 in the Market!” (Don served as the first President of NPR and then as Director of Broadcasting at CPB.) Delphine Peck asked if Mark had any current audience data regarding WRAU and the Eastern Shore. Mark explained that the Metro Area book is limited to the District of Columbia and the Maryland and Virginia Suburbs. Arbitron uses the old diary system rather than the new Personal People Meter (PPM) to register the ratings for the Eastern shore. That data will not be available until August.
Moving on to other programming news, Mark introduced Meymo Lyons, WAMU’s Acting News Director, who has been in charge of the newsroom since Jim Asendio left several weeks ago. Mark said that Meymo has been of tremendous assistance to him during this period of transition and that the performance of the entire news department has been remarkable. Two of our reporters have won Edward R. Murrow Regional Awards in prestigious categories: D.C. Reporter Patrick Madden, won the “Audio Investigative Reporting” category for “Nepotism in the Gray Administration,” and Education Reporter Kavitha Cardoza, was honored in the “Hard News Category” for her story “D.C. Kids Prep for a Summer with Far Fewer City Programs.” Kavitha was also recognized with an award from the National Education Writers Association (EWA) for her series on “The Heavy Burden of Childhood Obesity” which won first prize in the Broadcast Series category. In addition the WAMU news team will receive seven awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association (CAPBA) at their annual convention on June 2nd including three awards for Byran Russo, our Ocean City reporter and the host of Coastal Connection on our sister station WRAU 88.3. (Please see attachment #2) Mark said he was also delighted to inform the Council that The Kojo Nnamdi Show received the Gracie Award in the outstanding Interview Program or Feature category. The Gracie Awards are presented by the Alliance of Women in media (AWM) in recognition of exemplary programming.
Carey Needham, WAMU’s Director of Business Administration, distributed the FY2012 and FY 2011 Revenue and Expense Detail as of March 31st to the Council Members (Please see Attachment #3) He explained that we are just five days away from end of Fiscal Year 2012 – the first year of our two-year budget cycle. Carey said that we are pacing to exceed last year’s income total by approximately 2%. He expects that the total FY12 income will likely land around $19M or $2M less than the anticipated budget number. FY2013 the second year of this budget cycle begins on May 1st and our approved FY13 budget has been adjusted down from $22.5M to $20.5M. Planning for the next two-year cycle (FY2014-15) will begin this summer. Don Quayle asked if the costs connected to our new facility would be included in this budget or if there would be a separate budget for these expenses. Carey said that those expenses will be part of the budget for the Capital Campaign. Peter Tannenwald noted that under expenses the largest increases were in Business Administration, Marketing and Communications, and Special Events. Carey and Caryn explained that the Business Administration expense number includes the cost recovery amount that WAMU pays to AU, the increase in Special Events came from the expenses connected with the Gala, and the increase in Marketing and Communications included the costs for setting up our Digital Media department.
Walt Gillette, WAMU’s Director of Development, distributed copies of his report outlining the activities of his department since the Council’s last meeting. (Please see Attachment #4) With regard to the capital campaign, Walt said that he is in the process of hiring a Director of Campaigns, which is a new position to be funded under the capital campaign budget. The firm of Marts & Lundy has been selected as our capital campaign firm and they will be responsible for developing the case for support, campaign management, and the creation of collateral materials. The contract is in the process of being finalized and the first meeting with the firm will take place in May. Walt informed the Council that Andrea Travis, Assistant Director of Development for Leadership Giving, will be leaving WAMU on May 4th. When Andrea came to the station seven years ago, WAMU had 300 donors at the Leadership Circle level who contributed a total of $500,000. As of March of this year, the station has 565 donors at that level contributing $1.2M. Walt said that Andrea also pioneered the Salon Series for major donors, which has helped WAMU to build and maintain relationships with our major contributors. The station has held a number of special events during the last few months including a “Meet the Producers Breakfast”, the Leadership Circle Reception, a Bluegrass Country House Concert, the annual Volunteer Appreciation Evening, and a reception to kick-off the WAMU Young Professionals Program. Walt explained that the purpose of this program is to connect and engage young professional public radio listeners. In closing, Walt said that the new and rejoining members campaign will be held during the first week of the new fiscal year. We will only be fundraising during Morning Edition.
Larry McCarthy reminded everyone that WAMU Hosts Ed Walker and Rob Bamberger will be participating in a program at the National Archives to commemorate the release of the 1940 Census. Ed and Rob will be talking about the role that radio played in the life of 1930s America. Don Quayle said that the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary on May 12th. Susan Stamberg will be the guest speaker.
Kent reported that another in the series of Community Dialogues sponsored by the Community Council took place on Tuesday, August 24th. The topic for this discussion meeting was “The H Street Corridor – A Neighborhood in Transition.” Kent thanked Council Members Barbara Bares and Daniel Okonkwo for helping him put together a fabulous panel which included Ed Lazere, Executive Director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute; Craig Applebaum, the owner of Industry Gallery; Jane Lang, Chairman of the Board of Directors and President, Atlas Performing Arts Center; Tessa Moran, a documentary film producer; and Tony Tomelden, owner of THE PUG, an H Street bar and restaurant. The idea for this dialogue had come from Kojo Nnamdi producers Tayla Burney and Brendan Sweeney and Brendan served as the moderator. The discussion presented an historical perspective of the area and gave everyone a good understanding of what has transpired in this changing neighborhood. Kent said that scheduling the Community Dialogues as breakfast meetings seems to work best for the WAMU reporters and producers and also for the panelists. Kent announced that the two remaining dialogues for 2012 will also be breakfast meetings and they have been scheduled for Thursday, June 14th and Thursday, November 15th. The topic for the June meeting is “The State of the Local Grassroots Music Scene” and the November dialogue will focus on “The Emergence of Big Data.” Kent asked for volunteers to assist with the June dialogue and he will convene a planning meeting by conference call early next month.
Laura asked Caryn to talk about the process for adding new members to the Community Council. She said that the station has received some inquiries about how Council Members are chosen. Caryn explained that Council Members are appointed to three-year staggered terms and are eligible for reappointment to a second three-year term. The terms begin on January 1st and end on December 31st. After serving two consecutive terms, members must rotate off the Council. Every year we assess how many members will be leaving the Council at the end of December, and at the September meeting, the Chair appoints five Council Members to a nominating committee. Caryn and Anne put together a grid showing what the make-up of the Council will be without the members who are rotating off with respect to age, gender, ethnicity, geography and affinity. The full Council and staff are asked to submit suggestions to the nominating committee for consideration, and the committee puts together a slate which is voted on by the entire Council at the final meeting of the year in December. (Information about the nominating process has been added to our website: http://wamu.org/about/community_council )
There being no public comment or further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m. The next meeting of the Council will take place on Wednesday, September 12, 2012.
Anne Slattery Healy