KFAI Content Advisory Committee
Meeting minutes for October 28, 2020
The Content Advisory Committee convened on Wednesday, October 28 at 6:30 pm via Zoom.
In attendance: Chris Z, Jay, Jess, Ben
For KFAI: Daniel, Mason
Board Liaison: Michael
Absent: Melissa, Chris W
1. 18:41 Call to order
2. 18:42 Review August minutes – we didn’t manage to meet in September, but the station remained on the air
There was discussion about level of detail in the minutes, specifically whether discussion of programs and abstract reviews was too detailed in the public version of the minutes. Mason said he had no problem with our discussions being public – CRZ said he was just trying to take notes “Michael Cyrs” style. Michael advised that if any personal information was divulged, it should be kept outside of the minutes. Mason said he didn’t think that had happened. Danny said that program performance discussions may be more useful when summarized.
3. 18:46 Discussion: future meeting times/dates/frequency – dates and times have been hard to pin down and recent personnel changes have made Thursdays less than ideal. Are Wednesdays okay? Everyone on the call said Wednesdays were good. Third Wednesdays were selected by acclimation. Next CAC meeting will be 11/18, the day before Give to the Max Day….
4. 18:50 Member Drive wrap-up and show reviews – Danny provided impressions from his first KFAI member drive as GM. Despite a slow start, we came around to a resounding success – credit to our volunteers – currently at $54,000 raised for our ten days and the subsequent time for outside money to roll in. Danny listened to “at least one full episode of every show” to get full scope of pledge performance. Shows that brought in pledge partners performed better, and he plans on recommending partners for all hosts in future drives. Some shows didn’t give the impression that they cared about the member drive at all – he sent some emails with some coaching suggestions. There wasn’t a specific time of day that these shows had in common. Danny regretted that we didn’t have a CAC meeting prior to the member drive so that we could have divided the labour of critically evaluating shows. Mason added that he didn’t have anything to add, but by and large hosts who asked, received; those who did not, did not. Any sense of laissez faire on the part of programmers may be removed with the knowledge that Danny’s listening and providing constructive feedback. Mason feels our total was inspiring – with a “middle” effort, we still have strong support – the question of how to improve it may lie in further evaulation of our content. Program reviews are coming! Mason asked if Danny wanted to drop any program names in the Basecamp for further scrutiny. Danny said the hosts he emailed were Wednesday-Friday programers who had two cracks at soliciting response and he was concerned by those that didn’t take advantage. Mason said he had positive experiences listening and participating. He enjoyed Jay’s spark of Energy on African Rhythms. There may or may not be video of Jay and Doug Cain dancing on Facebook. Jay said he had a blast. Danny said we should consider more live pledge producer raps dropped into pre-taped shows, even if there is resistance from those hosts. This may be a case where Danny needs to emphasize that this needs to happen rather than allow hosts to think they have the choice of no pledge raps at all. If we provide more advance notice, it should be easier for hosts to plan how they want it. Mason reminded us of a Dale Connelly-ism: Just as we ask listeners once, twice or three times a year to contribute, hosts should understand that we are asking them to give up a tiny bit of their time once, twice or three times a year to do their bit to keep “their” time because we still have a station. Mike added that conversations with hosts are useful not only to learn why the host feels they know their audience better than station management, but to gather additional info from their perspective.
5. 19:03 Updates on previous show warnings and shows on the radar: Mason had updates:
– Gothic Underground (fka She’s In Control) – after some potential miscommunication, Aurora has returned with a rebrand and is back in her Thursday 2am-4am slot. Mason has done some coaching on timely delivery and format of submitted files. This is her sixth or seventh week since her rebrand.
CRZ asked if Elmar reported when he had to break in and fix “unintentional dead air” – Mason said he told Danny and/or himself every time. Mason’s had to do some archive stitching recently.
– Beats, Rhymes and Democracy – last Monday, Mason was notified the afternoon of their show that none of the hosts were coming in and could we rerun a program about the US Census – when reminding them the US Census had ended, they requested “the hip hop mix” show. Mason couldn’t find it. We ended up running a music mix in its place. Because this was a pledge drive program, this made this an especially inopportune time to call in Danny said they would make their 10/26 episode a retroactive pledge program – he hasn’t gone back to listen to it yet.
– Ms Margaret Live – there have been many instances of the live engineer covering with a rerun or taped show on very short notice, unbeknownst to Mason until recently/after Matt Finkel moved. Public affairs programs are more difficult to accept these kinds of circumstances – particularly 1PM or 6PM shows.
– Somali Link Radio – same issue of last-second changes when Abdirizak Bihi wouldn’t be able to host or didn’t have a guest. Last week’s program, close to an election, Bihi called his producer at 8PM the night before asking for a rebroadcast of a show about youth sports – a show which was far from evergreen. Mason feels “the issue has been skirted.” This is a more sensitive topic because we see this as an important audience for us to server, but if things continue there must be a way to evolve this timeslot to better serve the community as well as justify underwriting. It may be time to consider recruiting additional talent…if not new talent. Danny added that this programming isn’t a niche, it’s a need. Perhaps a team of people will help ensure the standard of quality is high ALL weeks and not just some of them. Mason feels reaching out via the Sahan Journal may help out with any search for team members. Danny says this isn’t an end around Bihi – he is aware that we’re takling about Somali Link Radio in this meeting. He looks forward to his collaboration as we move forward.
Returning to Beats, Rhymes and Democracy – blowing off the pledge drive is unacceptable. This wouldn’t be their first warning, although not everything has been documented. Danny and Mason need to meet with the hosts to determine the next step, whether it be a final warning or a suspension. “This is the most recent and the most glaring.” Danny says this is definitely the sort of behaviour that merits a warning, but he hasn’t decided on the severity yet and further conversation is necessary.
Returning to Ms. Margaret Live, Mason says he will provide some coaching. Danny said she was fine during the pledge drive shows. Additional training for ALL hosts that previously haven’t received it will really help…finding a WAY to train during a pandemic has proven challenging.
6. 19:29 Discussion: Somali and Hmong programming – need for new/additional hosts or collective – Mason says Shoua Xiong, host of Hmong American Reachout (Friday 7-8PM) intends to retire the show, almost immediately, as his work schedule is not allowing him to take the time off necessary to produce the program. He would be willing to train replacements but we have nobody in mind. We will rerun music-based episodes for the next 4-6 weeks while we work on replacements. Previously it took a wide search to find talent – this was how we ended with Hmong FM, which also retired due to the hosts being unable to make time for the program. Mason will reach out to Kathy Mouacheupao to see if she’s now more available and/or can recommend other talent. Mason says Hmong programming doesn’t HAVE to be on Fridays…but we definitely want some! This situation is evolving.
7. 19:33 Show openings
Tuesday 4-6AM: Sound Verite moved to Saturday 11AM-1PM in the former Jazz Diaspora slot – there were hiccups getting them familiar with the Studio 4 board but Mason and the Mostly Jazz hosts have pitched in and helped out. Their previous slot, Tuesday 4-6AM, is currently being filled with Sound Verite reruns. (We need to update the Saturday schedule on the website)
Saturday 4-6AM: Dameun Strange has mentioned that Galactic Fantastic might be better served NOT airing in this slot. Pandemic problems have made it especially difficult to produce and air new content weekly. He’d like to move to a more desirable time on FA2 and produce biweekly content. Mason suggested reairs and Mixcloud content for the slot for now.
AMPERS had questions about Native Roots – we air a half hour version of their AM950 content along with AMPERS COVID updates, which were to be a temporary program. AMPERS is offering an additional half hour from Minnesota Native News – Mason needs to ask Robert Pilot if he had counted on taking the entire Wednesday 6-7PM slot or is still willing to split the hour with the AMPERS-provided content. Or perhaps move into Hmong American Reachout’s slot. OR additional shuffling with other public affairs programming. More on these potential moves next meeting after reachout to hosts to get their thoughts.
8. 19:39 FA2 has had Halloween programming all week and guest mixes at 8PM every night this week. A larger push for the Irregular Audio stream will come on Give to the Max Day (11/19) when we plan to launch a third stream – details to be kept secret for now. Our new studio is being prepped for potential live news programming – or just a whole buncha death metal.
Last year, we aired a 24 hour “Funkathon” takeover of the airwaves – it did raise money but was difficult logistically, especially when it came to pre-emptions. Pandemic concerns also make it challenging to bring in a large group of hosts to provide content. Mason thinks we can create something special on the streaming side and that some higher profile folks want to be involved.
Ben asked about “airing” pre-recorded MP3s in the stream – Mason said it’s running pretty smoothly now, despite some hiccups in the past. I can attest that Dollar Bin has been airing regularly as an MP3 without issue. Ben has been streaming Everything Minnesota Music Fridays from 4-5PM LIVE from his basement! but may have something in mind for this Friday. “It’s open source radio!”
9. 19:51 Additional – Jay asked if it’s the committee’s place to suggest to hosts – he had some ideas for Northern Sun News pandemic programming around neighborhood newspapers. Mason loved the idea.
CRZ mentioned elections are coming up – the only elected people still have a year left on their term, so we are looking for three additional people. Those appointed by the GM may want to consider running for a full term (their terms are one year and expire Dec 31). The Board has decided CAC members will be elected to one-year terms from now on… CRZ grumbled a bit.
Danny closed saying he was working to make sure the CAC was generating moves and action amongst the Committee of the whole and not just being a meeting for Danny and Mason to have a discussion while the rest of us nodded. Please bring further agenda items forward in the future! Mason recommended any of us edit the agenda in the Basecamp after it’s initially posted.
19:58 Meeting was adjourned!