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CAB Minutes: February 2008

7:15 p.m., Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The New York Society for Ethical Culture

Members Present: Edward Sawchuk, Michelle Reed, Alfred Friedland, Kenneth Stewart, Basya Mandell, Gabriele Schroeder, Shavonne Johnson, Gary Schulze, Jennifer Batterton, Sallie Gouverneur, Gaye Leslie

WNYC: Alan Weiler, Dave Caplan (Board Members) and Ilene Richman (taking minutes)

Community: One member of public

I - Review and approval of meeting minutes:

Ed Sawchuk: I handed out the 5/9 minutes at the last meeting. Shall we move to accept them?

Ken Stewart: So moved.

Sallie Gouverneur: I second.

All accept.

III - Committee Discussions & Goals:
Educational Outreach

Jennifer Batterton: Sallie, Shavonne and Jennifer met. They are shooting for 4/9. Our goal is to reach out to educators to get their thoughts regarding the educational potential of WNYC for young people using both current materials as well as the things they would like to see. We plan to pull together a panel of educators from different educational settings, and to get someone with a name to moderate. We are considering venues and possible participants. One venue we’re looking at is the nonprofit writing center, 826WNYC. And Dave Hall has a board connection at Kahlil Gibran which we are exploring. We are open to other ideas though we prefer Brooklyn.

Sallie Gouverneur: John Schaefer is a board member of 826WNYC. (Directed to the board members) – is it appropriate for him to be involved?

Dave Caplan: Sure. What is the theme?

Jennifer Batterton: It is about using the station for educational purposes, and possibly repackaging material for youth like PBS.

Dave Caplan: It might be interesting to discuss with Beth Fertig, WNYC’s education reporter.

Jennifer Batterton: Would she be up for moderating?

Sallie Gouverneur: In the past, the station has said they don’t want reporters moderating.

Dave Caplan: Knowing her, she’d be happy to consult with you.

Gary Schulze: Didn’t we have a PBS reporter here?

Sallie Gouverneur: We had an NPR reporter – she came as a guest. We’ll send you the statement, and if you have any ideas, please let us know.

Jennifer Batterson: I can send our statement out to the CAB. I would love to get suggestions.

Ed Sawchuk: Will that just be the broadcast portion or will you be including the website?

Jennifer Batterson: The committee last year concluded that the best impact would come from discussing current material, not discussing new material.

Sallie Gouverneur: It would be good to elicit comments regarding both the website and the broadcast portion. I don’t see how you can separate them.

Ed Sawchuk: They’re inextricable now. The website becomes more a part of what the station produces. And if you’re going to reach a younger audience, you must use the medium that they are using. Are there any restrictions on what you can download from the site?

Alan Weiler. No.

V – Website review
Ed Sawchuk: (distributes printout of various pages from WNYC website) How do people feel about the first page after the splash page, ie the home page? I found the navigation from this page confusing.

Sallie Gouverneur: It’s got a lot going on, graphically. There are many different items, all on the first page. It’s great if you know where you want to go.

Jennifer Batterton: It looks more complex printed out than it does on the screen. But often I have trouble finding stories using the search engine. It works better to go through the show. I could probably find things more easily using Google than the search engine on the site.

Sallie Gouverneur: Each program has basically set up its own website.

Alan Weiler: They should all be searchable via the main search engine.

Jennifer Batterton: It’s especially hard for non-WNYC-addicts. They might not know what show it is.

Ed Sawchuk: It’s nice that there are more print options on the site than there used to be. I’ve also had difficulty searching. I called Listener Services and they found it for me. But I’m astounded by the volume of accurate information on the site. It’s like a working encyclopedia.

Gabriele Schroeder: Will the website be re-branded, too?

Gary Schulze: The website appears to have evolved with pieces being added over time. Perhaps it needs to be unified.

Dave Caplan: I’ve always been able to find what I want, but maybe I’m looking for the obvious. Would you be interested in analyzing the site if they’re going to do an overhaul?

Gabriele Schroeder: I think many of us would be happy to be beta-testers.

Sallie Gouverneur: Alex gave us a survey to assess it as it is.

The member of the public stated that she has used other sites (NPR & WGBH) and WNYC has some good stuff on it but it isn’t as easy to find stuff. The NPR site is better. I suggest you compare it to other sites.

Gabriele Schroeder: I found some stuff when I was analyzing the site that I never would have found otherwise, for example the STAR initiative. People should be encouraged to investigate the site. And there is no home key. You have to click the logo.

Ed Sawchuk: How easy or difficult is it to have a search function within a site?

Jennifer Batterton: I always assumed that sites tap into other search engines such as Google.

Ed Sawchuk: Do you buy that service, and otherwise you are on your own?

Sallie Gouverneur: This page says “search supported by Pharmanet.”

Ed Sawchuk: A website this complex would be more inviting if you were able to search effectively.

Sallie Gouverneur: When Alex collects everyone’s reactions, they can be presented and we can say something more conclusive.

Ed Sawchuk: Regarding Listen Live – are there any limits to listening time? Do you have to re-log in after an hour due to bandwidth costs as you do on other sites?

Ken Stewart: Is someone from WNYC’s tech department coming in to speak with us?

Gabriele Schroeder: We were waiting to see if they were going to re-do the site.

Alan Weiler: My understanding is that it’s going to be done.

The member of the public stated that it took 15 minutes to find info about this meeting. It’s buried on the site.

Gabriele Schroeder: The CAB part of the site is also very outdated.

Ed Sawchuk. That’s my fault. I was unclear as to how to list members – eg by term, alphabetically? Also, do we want to put affiliations, personal statements, etc?

Jennifer Batterton: Let’s start with the current names.

Ken Stewart: What would listeners want to know about us?

Gabriele Schroeder: How many characters can we each have?

Ed Sawchuk: I will email the board tomorrow about the listings.

Jennifer Batterton: We should find out how much space is on the page.

Ed Sawchuk: Let’s make them an offer and see what they say.

Jennifer Batterton: I’m also concerned about uniformity.

Ed Sawchuk: I think a quote from each of us about why we’re devoted to WNYC would be interesting to readers.

Ken Stewart: I’d rather focus on what listeners want to know.

Sallie Gouverner: There’s a description of the board that is not accurate, for example regarding the frequency of meetings. We should start there, then embellish if possible.

Alfred Friedland: There have been a couple of times that Alex has sort of rushed out assignments, or tasks, and then not followed through. I am willing to work for the board, but not to waste my time. I wrote a couple of pages regarding board procedure, and there has been no follow-up. For example, elections are coming up in May. Elections should be announced two months in advance. March is coming soon.

Ed Sawchuk: If we start with the next meeting, we’ll have a 2 meeting cushion before the elections to modify the procedures.

Jennifer Batterton: I understand your frustration. I know Alex is doing the best he can. Perhaps you Should send it out again?

Ed Sawchuk: About the website, can we agree to represent it, elicit comments, & settle the issues?

Gabriele Schroeder: We need a list of who is on the board.

VI – Review of WNYC Fundraising Techniques

Ed Sawchuk: (distributes handout which is pledge portion of website)

Dave Caplan: If we had a controversial topic, we could pack this hall. For example fundraising.

Gabriele Schroeder: I used to hate it until I joined the board.

Gaye Leslie: I used to enjoy when it was more like a race, to beat the clock during their program.

Dave Caplan: That’s a good idea. They used to do more of that.

Gabriele Schroeder: You can’t become a Sustaining Giver using a checking account, only through a credit card. And are those buybacks real, or a scam?

Dave Caplan: They do it, they shorten it.

Gary Schulze: Does WNYC discuss bequests?

Dave Caplan: It’s becoming a bigger thing lately. We occasionally do it during the year. It would be great if you could mention what we’re going to discuss. For example fundraising. We’ve been told we’re not allowed to mention topics in the promotional spots, but let’s discuss it with them.

Ed Sawchuk: We could post the agenda on the website.

Alfred Friedland: If we’re going to invite the public, we need to be serious about it, not offer them two minutes at the beginning and at the end. Otherwise they won’t come.

Ed Sawchuk: To the audience member - Have you felt excluded?

She says, “No, I feel comfortable, and if I wanted to contribute I would have. I even read the minutes online. I would come back for a meeting that had a provocative, interesting agenda."

" Meeting is adjourned at 8:45 p.m.