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WAMU 88.

5
COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of the Council
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
WAMU Community Council Members Attending:
Kent Lynn, Council Chair; Barbara Bares, Vice Chair; Sharvell Becton,
Christine Berg, Rudy Burwell, Paul DesJardin, Trisha Hartge, Rawn M.
James, Jr., Jody Steiner Kelly, Ginny McArthur, Larry McCarthy, Margaret
OBryon, Daniel Okonkwo, Delphine Peck, Micaela Mejia Pond, Don Quayle,
Tony Sarmiento, Matt McCormick, and Peter Tannenwald.

WAMU/AU Staff Attending:


JJ Yore, Carey Needham, Brooke Bailey, Sarah Cumbie, Walt Gillette,
Anthony Hayes, Lettie Holman, Patrice Jackson, Meymo Lyons, Karen
Munson, Eliza Saunders, Susan Thomas, Armando Trull, and Anne Healy.

Members of the Public:


Jim Asendio, Lisa Bregman, Cliff Brody, Greg Carroll, and Glenn Ihrig and
Cathleen OBrien (WAMU Volunteers)

I.

Welcome Kent Lynn, Council Chair

Kent welcomed everyone to the fourth and final Community Council


meeting of the year. He said that the members of the Council very much
appreciated the tee shirts and holiday goodies they received from the
station, and he thanked Cathleen OBrien for putting them together and
distributing them. Kent mentioned a couple of the outstanding programs he
had recently heard on WAMU. He said that he always learns so much from
the stories and interviews he hears, and it makes him very proud to be a
part of the station. Before turning the meeting over to JJ Yore, for his
report, Kent reminded the Council Members that the Annual Council
Reception to thank retiring members for their service and to welcome the
new Council Members will be held on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, and he
encouraged everyone to plan to attend.

II.

Update on Station Activities JJ Yore, General Manager

JJ informed the Council that he had just flown in from Boston where he and
David Taylor (AU Presidents Chief of Staff and Secretary, Board of

Trustees) spent two days at WBUR, the public radio station in the Boston
area which is licensed to Boston University. This visit was part of a process
to learn what other major-market stations are doing and how they do it.
They chose WBUR because as a university licensee it is similar to WAMU in
many ways and faces many of the same issues.
JJ said the wanted to update the Council on what he has been doing during
his first four months at the station. He is continuing his one-on-one
meetings with each WAMU staff member and has already met with about
80% of the full- and part-time employees. He said that he has been using
the General Managers office and conference room for some meetings but
much prefers to work from his cubicle in the underwriting area where he
does not feel cut off from the day-to-day operations of the station. JJ
reported that he is in the process of dealing with three major problems
WAMU faces: 1) improving our engineering particularly the sound and the
reliability of service; 2) taking steps to reduce spending and increase
revenue; and 3) resolving some leadership issues.
JJ explained that we are also taking the first steps toward building WAMU
for 2020. The leadership team is reviewing proposals from consultants to
help us with the Station Identity Project focusing on who we are and
where we are going. JJ said they have been very impressed with the
proposals they have received and hope to have the consultants in place by
mid-February. This project will lead to developing a strategic plan for the
next five years and finding the resources to finance it. And, we have
brought in a consultant to work with our membership team to assess our
membership effort and suggest ways to maximize efficiency and increase
revenue.
Kent asked for questions and comments from the members of the Council.
He said that JJ and he had talked about encouraging more interaction and
dialogue with the Council at these meetings. In other words they would both
like to see less presenting and more discussion.
Trisha asked JJ to talk more about his efforts to develop a closer relationship
with NPR that would be advantageous to both WAMU and NPR. JJ said that
we have recently changed our Station ID to reflect the close relationship by
replacing . . . your mind is our medium with . . . your community
-supported NPR news station from American University. We have also
invited NPR journalists to come and work with our reporters and to train
our journalists to pitch stories to the network. Don Quayle, who served as

NPRs first President and CEO, pointed out that WAMU existed 10 years
before NPR got started.
Kent asked JJ what he took away from his visit to WBUR. JJ said that he was
impressed with the support they receive from their 26-member fundraising
group each of whom commit to contribute or raise a minimum of $25,000
for the station . WBUR has a budget of $30 million and a surplus while
WAMU currently has a budget of $23 million and a deficit. WBUR has a
more financially supportive relationship with its university and an
endowment of $6 million. Its rent is less than one-third of ours, and it has a
larger staff in a considerably smaller space. JJ said he was also impressed
with the amount of content WBUR has produced and with its robust news
operation. On its part, WBUR is impressed with the number and high quality
of the guests that appear on the WAMU talk shows.
Margaret OBryon asked JJ what he sees as great opportunities for WAMU
as we move toward 2020. JJ responded that he would like for WAMU to have
the opportunity to provide more robust and significant news coverage. He
pointed out that We are in a major market but we do not have the
resources to cover the news as we should. JJ would also like to see us
expand our audience not by increasing signal expansion but by increasing
and diversifying our audience and membership, especially in areas such as
Fairfax County and Prince Georges County where we should have a higher
percentage of listeners.
Micaela Pond told JJ that she was delighted with WAMUs efforts to expand
its presence on social media. She pointed out that it is a great way to reach
a younger, more diverse audience.
Delphine asked how the Council Members could be most helpful to the
station. JJ responded that he would like to have members help him connect
with a broad list of people across the metropolitan area who can help us to
learn both the most important issues we should cover and how to find the
resources we will need to deliver that coverage.

III.

WAMU Department Directors Reports

Kent called for the updates from the WAMU Directors. He explained that
while Carey will be presenting a financial report at each of the quarterly
meetings, the other department reports will be made on a rotating basis.

Financial Report Carey Needham, Senior Director, Business


Administration & Finance
Carey distributed his report and
reviewed it with the Council. (Please see Attachment #1) He said that he
had prepared this financial report in a new shorter format. The FY 2015
Revenue and Expense Summary at the top of the report illustrates where
we expected to land on revenue and expenses this fiscal year and where we
now expect to land at the end of the fiscal year. (WAMUs FY 2015 began on
May 1, 2014, and ends on April 30, 2015.) Carey explained that his report
also lists some of the steps the station has taken to reduce expenses and
increase revenue. Carey pointed out that we have already made some cuts
that will save WAMU $305,000 annually, including ending Animal House as
of December 1, 2014, eliminating transcripts at the end of November, and
making some cuts in overtime. He said that we also plan to sublease our
space on the 4th floor of the building and are considering hiring a realtor to
assist with this process. Among the initiatives we are considering to
increase revenue are raising the minimum membership from $60 to $72,
increasing underwriting rates, and selling our bluegrass translators in
Hagerstown and Frederick. American University has given WAMU a grant
of $500,000, which will be used to cover the cost of our station identity
initiative and to train our news and programming staff.
Programming Lettie Holman, Director, Programming & Research
Lettie began her report by informing everyone that The Diane Rehm Show
had made the Audience Research Analysis Spring 2014 list of the Most
Powerful Programs in Public Radio. There are only nine public radio
programs on this elite list. To make the Most Powerful Programs list, a
program must have at least 1 million listeners, and Dianes national
audience is 2,431,500 listeners.
Lettie talked briefly about the Summer 2014 PPM Report, which
measured listening between June 19th and September 10th. According to
this report, WAMU was the 2nd-most-listened-to station in the Washington,
DC metro with 6.3% share of listeners and 22,200 AQH listeners. WTOP is
the top-ranked station with a 8.1% share and 28,600 listeners. Our total
weekly audience is 691,400, comprised of 588,600 listeners in the DC metro
area, 65,800 listeners in the Baltimore metro area, and 37,000 listeners for
HD2 Bluegrass Country. The listeners for WRAU in Ocean City are
measured in Spring and Fall only. Lettie explained that summer listening is
more affected by lifestyle than any of the other quarterly reports. WAMU
was also the 2nd-most-listened-to station in morning drive with 9.8%
audience share and 40,200 AQH listeners. WTOP is #1 in this market with
11.5% share. However, WAMU is the most-listened-to news station among

listeners 18 to 34 years old, garnering a 5.4% audience share and a 4thplace ranking in the market compared to WTOPs 3.1% share and 12th-place
ranking. In other words, millennials are listening to public radio.
WAMUs program changes made in August for both weekdays and
weekends were not reflected in the Summer PPM. Lettie reported on the
feedback the station received on each of the program changes and on the
early audience data from the Fall PPM reflecting these changes. The Fall
PPM will be released at the end of December. (Please see attachment #2)
News Department Updates Meymo Lyons, Managing Editor, News
Meymo said that she is extremely proud of the outstanding work that the
news team continues to produce with limited resources. She talked about
Armando Trulls series on the unaccompanied children who crossed the
border to escape from life-threatening conditions in their home countries. A
great number of these border kids came to the Washington area. Meymo
said that Armando brought this issue to the attention of the newsroom and
followed up with a marvelous series, including first-hand reports from El
Salvador. Kavitha Cardozas wonderful series on Military Children was
picked up by NPR and aired on 100 stations across the country. And Patrick
Maddens investigative reports on the pay to play culture in the District of
Columbia have won several awards. Margaret OBryon said that she would
like to give a shout out to Armando who recently appeared at a meeting of
the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers and did a fantastic job
of facilitating the conversation. Council Member Rawn James, who is a
Senior Trial Attorney in the US Navys General Counsels office and works
at the Navy Yard, informed Meymo that Navy Yard staff would soon be
moving back into the building where the deadly shooting took place in 2013.
Meymo thanked him for that news tip and for the assistance he has given
the news team with stories relating to the military.

IV. WAMU Community Dialogues - Barbara Bares, Council


Vice Chair
Barbara reported on the third and final Community
Dialogue of 2014, which was held on Wednesday, October 29th at 8:00 a.m.
in the stations community room. The topic for the off-the-record discussion
was The Evolving Latino Community: Emerging Trends and Issues, and
Armando Trull served as moderator. The panelists were Maria Gomez,
President & CEO of Marys Center for Maternal and Child Care; Lori
Kaplan, President and CEO of the Latin American Youth Center; Daniel
Flores, Vice President, Regional Government Relations for the Greater

Washington Board of Trade, and J. Walter Tejada, Member of the Arlington


County Board and Chairman of the Human Services Policy Committee of the
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Barbara said that it was
a far-ranging discussion and well attended by WAMU staff. Brenda
Sweeney, Managing Producer of The Kojo Nnamdi Show, reported that
Kathy Goldgeier, a KNS producer, attended the dialogue and had come away
with some great ideas for future programs. Barbara said that she will call a
meeting of her committee in January to discuss topics and dates for the
2015 Community Dialogues.

V.
Report of the Nominating Committee Trisha Hartge,
Committee Chair Trisha reported that her committee had corresponded
by e-mail and had held two meetings. She said that the Council Members
who will be retiring when their terms expire on December 31, 2014, are
Don Quayle, Delphine Peck, Rawn M. James, Jr., and Kim Jones. Amy
Nakamoto left mid-year to relocate with one year remaining on her term.
The Nominating Committee recommends that Margaret OBryon and Paul
DesJardin, both active Council Members, be appointed to second three-year
terms ending on December 31, 2017, and that Jody Steiner Kelly be
appointed to fill the one-year available term. The Committee recommends
the following five new members to fill the remaining available three-year
terms: David Nemazie, Vice President, External Affairs, University of
Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences; Shay Stevens, MARS Urban
Arts Curator for Washington Performing Arts; Manuel Ochoa, Senior Analyst
and Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners, and formerly
Regional Director of Home Ownership for the Latino Economic
Development Center; Audrey R. Alvarado, President of Alvardo Consulting
and formerly Vice President and Interim President of the Nonprofit
Roundtable of Greater Washington; and Nakeisha Neal Jones, Executive
Director, Public Allies, DC and former Project Manager at the Office of the
Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. A motion to
approve the recommendations of the nominating committee was made and
seconded and the motion was unanimously approved by the Council. Trisha
informed Council Members that the Nominating Committee had also
recommended that Kent Lynn and Barbara Bares be reappointed as Council
Chair and Vice Chair. The Council Members voted unanimously to accept
this recommendation and Kent and Barbara agreed to serve as Council
Chair and Vice Chair for 2015.

VI.

Old Business

Kent asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the September 17, 2014

Quarterly Meeting of the WAMU Community Council. Don Quayle made the
motion which was seconded by Micaela Pond and approved by the Council.

VII. New Business


JJ talked briefly about the Connections Project he mentioned earlier in the
meeting. He said that he would like to talk with a broad range of people in
the Washington area who represent diverse ethnic, gender, racial, age, and
geographic communities and various professions to find out what people in
our region see as the most important issues we should be covering. He
would also like to meet with people who can help us find the resources to be
able to provide the coverage we should be providing. JJ said he would like
the members of the Community Council to help him make these
connections.
As part of understanding how our business model works and how we might
be able to reduce expenses, JJ said that had started looking into our
contract for on-air traffic reports. He had asked Carey Needham and
Anthony Hayes for a financial analysis and asked Lettie Holman to find out
which public radio stations air traffic reports and how our listeners perceive
the reports. JJ asked Lettie Holman to talk about what they discovered.
Lettie said that Radio Media delivers weekday traffic reports in exchange
for the right to sell and keep the money from 10 15-second underwriting
spots per day. Based on drive-time rates and times aired, these spots would
be valued from $650,000 to as much as $1.9 million if we sold them
ourselves. WAMUs contract with Radio Media ends on February 10, 2015.
In researching traffic coverage, Lettie found that several major-market
public radio stations only air traffic as a news event. These stations include
WNYC in New York and KUOW in Seattle. Although our core listeners listen
for traffic reports in the morning, there is a significant decline in the
number of listeners in the afternoon. After reviewing the research and
talking with program directors in a number of major-market public radio
stations, JJ, Lettie, and the leadership team decided to experiment with
removing traffic reports in afternoon drive and see what transpires.

VIII.

Public Comment

Kent called for comments or questions from the members of the public. Cliff
Brody, a long-time listener and supporter of WAMU and former member of
the Development Advisory Council, said that he was very proud to be
associated with the station and was favorably impressed by the efforts JJ is

making to move WAMU to an even higher level. Greg Carroll said he really
enjoys the programming he hears on the station and especially the reports
from Bryan Russo.

IX.

Adjournment

There being no additional business, the Chair asked for a motion to adjourn.
The motion was made and seconded and the meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Anne
Anne Slattery Healy