The Board of Directors for KZYX&Z held its annual membership meeting in the hub of downtown Ukiah at the Art Center on State Street on May 14th. The venue had numerous paintings of well-known artists adorning its walls including some impressive quilted pieces by local artist Laura Fogg.
A gathering of about 25 people overflowed the small meeting place at the back of the building where appetizers of Brie cheese, crackers and chips accompanied several bottles of red and white wine along with a few nonalcoholic beverage choices. The reduced fare from past annual meetings seemed to reflect not only the compact surroundings but the station’s frugal practice, of late, to minimize expenses.
The annual membership meeting is an occasion for the Board to relax its usual formally structured meeting style into a more festive atmosphere of meet, greet and appreciate the many members and volunteers whose contributions and efforts, including those of its unpaid Board members, have kept the station viable during the past year. Almost half of those attending were either current or incoming Board members with a few regular station volunteers and a mix of a half dozen both new and familiar faces.
After an hour of mingling, Board President Bob Page called the meeting to order. Members of the Board introduced themselves and specified whether they were leaving their seats to incoming Board members or staying on. Current Vice President attorney David Hopmann noted he had served on the Board for five years and will be termed out after one more year. Board members attorney David Jackness and Katharine Cole will be moving on to hold seats on the Community Advisory Board (CAB) while Ukiah’s representative, Tony Melville, will be leaving to devote more time to his teaching career and young family. He thanked his wife for her support of his service to the community. Board members Bob Page, Fran Koliner and Doug McKenty have several years left on their terms as does the seat held by Board member Laviva Dakers who was absent from the meeting.
A request was made and accepted to have members of the audience introduce themselves as well.
General Manager, John Coate gave a brief summary of the station’s accomplishments and challenges during the 2011-12 year.
The rebuild of the 88.1 translator facility on Bald Hill has produced an improved signal range. The ongoing effort to reduce $9,600 in phone costs to connect the Philo studio to the satellite studios is being accomplished by converters to transmit data through the Internet at a much reduced cost.
Reading from his notes and diverging from his normal practice of having printed copies of his report available for the benefit of those attending, Coate mentioned the fundraising efforts of Tim Brae, host of the Sunday morning program, Oak and Thorn, in producing three Celtic music concerts which brought in about $400 per concert. He also mentioned the fundraiser in April by musician/producer Bill Botrell, though no figures were provided to indicate how successful the event was revenue-wise. The next scheduled fundraiser will be a Louisiana style barbecue to be held at the Boonville fairgrounds on July 14th.
The ticket sales for the KZYX raffle of $2000 worth of groceries will end on May 31st. The drawing will award two prizes. Each winning ticket is redeemable at one of the participating markets, either Harvest Market on the coast or the Mariposa Market in Willits. A total of 1000 tickets will be printed though actual sales could be less. Based on a previous KZYX raffle, the odds of winning are estimated to be 1 in 275. The cost of each ticket is $10 with no cash option.
The Spring pledge drive brought in $88,000 — some of which arrived as mailed donations after the official end of the drive. Membership rose from 2,260 last year to 2,328 presently. Coate remarked that current fundraising does not meet rising expenses so a one- or two-day mid-summer pledge drive to make up the shortfall is planned.
In brainstorming new avenues for revenue possibilities, Coate stated that creation of a Friends of the Station fund was being discussed.
Coate reported that the 104 membership survey responses had not changed from that exact number which had been received as of the March 12th Board meeting, which was more than two weeks before the deadline. The 104 also does not account for any surveys which were mailed in, of which I am certain there was at least one. I was unable to get clarification of the improbable survey numbers — my phone inquiries did not elicit a response.
Coate mentioned that the station spent $9,000 for mailing for the year. Considering that $15,000 was procured through end of the year mailings, (which, at the time, seemed considerable) it is questionable whether the return is worth the investment. Coate said he’s moving toward a paperless office which necessitates further dependence on Internet communications.
Coate hopes to minimize roof repairs costs with volunteer labor.
The station still owes $43k in debts from previous years causing a reliance on credit lines to meet financial obligations.
Adding to financial woes is the threat of political pressure to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant which brings in over $54k a year.
The limited resources of the station also affects programming choices. The termination of the BBC contract with PRI (Public Radio International) and its subsequent new contract with American Media would add $7k to the program’s cost, resulting in its being dropped.
The decision has also been made to limit Reggae programming to Friday nights. No information was available in regard to what type of programming will be added as replacements.
Although the agenda did not specify a time for Public Comments, Page allowed a freestyle potpourri of questions and suggestions.
Dorothea Dorman suggested the position of Program Director be restructured into a decision process by committee rather than one person. Although similar requests in the past led to the formation of a Programmers Advisory Committee, its advisory status has proven to carry little weight in programming decisions. Dorman also wanted to see more shared time slots where programmers could host shows on a monthly basis “to draw more from the wealth of community experience.”
An idea for a fundraising raffle with prizes donated by the community was raised. It was suggested that it would be a more attractive raffle if more people could benefit from a multiple prize chest.
Although programming decisions are not within the realm of Board responsibilities, a request was made to have more public access shows with an emphasis on evening time slots so that more people with day jobs would have an opportunity to participate.
Programmer Tim Gregory asked if the community could be involved with the Strategic Planning process currently under the wing of the Community Advisory Board (CAB). Director Page responded that information on future CAB meetings would be posted on the station’s website. He added that the chair of the CAB, Frank Green, had resigned. The number of committee members is currently at six, with the addition of two new community members and two outgoing Board members.
The next order of business was the welcoming and installation of new Board members. Representing District 2 (Ukiah) is Ed Keller, District 5 (Boonville) is Ellen Hering and the At-Large seat represented by Holly Madrigal. All expressed their eagerness to serve on the KZYX&Z Board.
Nominations were then made and quickly accepted for the election of new Board Officers. Secretary: Holly Madrigal, Treasurer: David Hopmann. Vice president: Fran Koliner and President: Bob Page.
Gifts of glass paperweights with the KZYX logo were then distributed by Coate in recognition of the extraordinary service and dedication of three volunteer members. They went to Beth Lang for her efforts in putting together the Community Calendar, Mindy Cairn, for her assistance with multiple mailings and Katharine Cole for the extra hours required as Secretary of the Board.
Outgoing members Jackness, Melville and Cole were thanked and acknowledged for the qualities they brought to the Board — their behind the scenes hard work; fresh outlook and flexibility.
The next meeting of the Board will be at the Willits Community Library on July 9th at 6pm. Subsequent meetings are scheduled in Anderson Valley on September 10th and on the Coast on November 12th.